If you had asked before this game about the result I’d have feared the worst. Despite our excellent record at Stamford Bridge in the last few seasons things have changed over the last year.
Around twelve months ago we went to the Bridge and won twice within a week. We had a different manager then and many of the reds, that played a major part in that game, have moved on, of course, on the other side, Chelsea have become European Champions.
So a point is a decent result stretching our unbeaten run in the Premiership to six games. However, let’s be honest this is a stat that hides a multitude of sins. For a start a fair few of the those six games were draws and yesterday we encountered an out of sorts Chelsea side that, like us for so often last season, failed to make their chances count. Although again we had the lions share of possession again we, again, lacked penetration up front particularly in the first half. Luis Suarez’s goal was a rare, if productive, chance set up by, of all people Jamie Carragher. There is a compelling argument to say that up until then we didn’t deserve it however, it galvanised us and, to a degree, turned the game around, we finished the strongest side and nearly nicked it at the end. To this end a point was a fair outcome?
As expected BR reinstated all the players he rested for Moscow opting to field five defenders or, if you prefer, two defensive midfielders or offensive defenders 5:3:2 or 3:5;2? Take your pick! Whatever the line up one assumes it was designed to try and counteract Chelsea’s attack. It didn’t, as they wasted no time and getting at us. After only a few minutes Oscar fired over with our new formation looking dangerously exposed. In the meantime the Chelsea fans contented themselves with the “we know what you are” song aimed at Suarez which, given that this game also saw the return of John Terry from his ban, was ironic. It was a bitter sweet moment for football’s biggest … insert your own expletive…. when after twenty minutes he nodded home Mata’s corner only to leave the field tem minutes later after a nasty, but accidental, collision with Suarez, oh the ironies of ironies!.
The goal was poor from our point of view. Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson having picked up Terry and Ivanovic seemed flummoxed that Terry had the audacity to move for Mata’s ball and left him free to head home! Agger, who was marking Terry, was impeded by a mixture of Johnson and Ivanovic but nonetheless he should have done better to keep tabs on his man?
From then on Chelsea threatened to put the game beyond us, Torres and Hazard should have scored by were stopped by Brad Jones and poor finishing. Next it was Mata’s turn, slicing through us with a run from midfield but then ballooning over the bar when you have bet your mortgage on him hitting the target, and then firing low and wide past Jones after our defence were a tad tardy in closing him down. Torres, from Oscar’s free kick headed directly at Jones who did well to get something on it. Overall It was good performance from our keeper who appears to be growing in confidence because of his extended run in the side.
The more the game went on and the more chances Chelsea missed the more thought we would have an opportunity? A familiar scenario to Liverpool fans only this time it was us in the subservient role? On 73 minutes it came. Suso’s corner from the right was flicked on by Jamie Carragher. although he was only not he edge of the six yard box it proved decisive evading six Chelsea players to find Suarez at the far to post who nodded home into the roof of an empty net. Did Suarez push one of the Chelsea defenders to make space no, surely not, he was just steadying himself!!!!
After that both sides had chances to win the game. Ivanovic nodded wide from Mata’s corner and then Suarez found himself one on one with Cech only to see the keeper win the day. Enrique, who has been out of sorts recently but had a good game yesterday, had a final chance of last minute glory firing low towards Cech’s right hand post only to see the keeper paw it away.
So, for once WE benefit from a side missing their chances and to cap it all after the game BR complained that we made too many passes! It was that sort of mixed up day!
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry (Cahill – 39′ ), Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Ramires, Mata, Oscar (Moses – 77′ ), Mikel Booked, Hazard, Torres (Sturridge – 82′ ) Substitutes: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Romeu, Moses, Marin, Sturridge
Liverpool: Jones, Johnson Booked, Jose Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Wisdom, Sahin (Suso – 60′ ), Gerrard Booked, Allen Booked, Sterling, Suarez Substitutes: Gulacsi, Coates, Cole, Henderson, Downing, Assaidi, Suso