Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Match Report
12/02/2011 § Leave a comment
The heathen has left the building and the curse of the crocked Spaniard is now with Chelsea. God bless them for they have no idea what they are in for. Flashes of brilliance that might justify the price-tag, but the overall return one would later realise might be little bit disappointing. Now, it may be a case of sour grapes for me, but the work that Fernando Torres put in on Sunday night might suggest that Fernando Torres needs something more than the broken punt-around football that Chelsea can offer.
But that’s enough about him. As it would turn out, the person who would turn out to be the most significant during the course of the game would not be the ex-Liverpool player plying his trade in Chelsea, but the ex-Chelsea coach who is now mentoring the slightly porous defence at Liverpool. While the first half saw a see-sawing of advantage between the two clubs, the second half was a sparkling demonstration of defensive resilience. I’ve been watching Liverpool play for a good 8 years now, but I can rarely remember a defensive performance much like this since the Sami Hyypia times.
Granted Liverpool weren’t playing their brilliant pass-and-move game as they have become accustomed to playing under King Kenny probably due to the constant threat of a big ugly Chelsea player coming and dashing your brains out. The passing was not fluent as too many passes fell far too wayward. The attack too was slightly incoherent. But I’m assuming that the Chelsea playing philosophy probably precludes that any team that plays at the Bridge break their existing system and generally focus on not being injured for the next few weeks, especially with the bestial hounds Mikel and Essien patrolling the midfield.
If there were two players that stood out brilliant in this star-studded match up they were Jamie Carragher and Maxi Rodriguez. Carragher with his bloody strong determination to not let Chelsea, particularly Torres, score against his club was magnificent. The shot block off Torres was a glowing testimony to the underrated and under-appreciated talents of Jamie Carragher. Carra ran his boots off, marshalling the defence like a lioness protecting her young and to wonderful effect. Maxi of course stood out because he scuffed a shot at an open goal from 3 feet away.
Lucas too is starting to show that Javier Mascherano was not such a big deal. Strong in the tackle Lucas was rivalling Essien for the title of the most blood-thirsty player on the pitch. With Gerrard to support him and Meireles waiting on his every pass, Lucas shone in the center of the pitch.
And while I’m on the topic of academy youngsters performing on the biggest stage, how could I possibly leave out Martin Kelly? One season into the big-boys league and he’s already being considered for the England job. The right back fought tooth and nail with Ashley Cole perhaps reminding him of what a bright talent he himself was as a fresh-faced little douche out of Arsenal’s academy of brilliance, before he chose the wrong side of London a few years ago. Of course, Martin Kelly needs to work on his crossing a bit – he tends to get a little carried away and then spills out something way asunder. And with no one at Liverpool playing in those Hollywood crosses, it remains exciting to see whether Martin Kelly will be able to deliver those on the oversized forehead of Andy Carrol when the big chap overcomes his injury.
Kenny Dalglish seems to put a lot of faith in his three man defensive formation and it has reaped spectacular results. Agger and Skrtel will no doubt benefit by watching the master (Carra) himself in action. The three-man defence has also helped Johnson find his feet on the left hand side of the defence and allows him the freedom of occasionally creating a dummy threat meandering forward into the enemy territory without having to worry about losing the ball and hobbling back to fetch it.
In the Chelsea camp however, the arrival of Torres may have hindered them rather than boosted them. Signing Torres was probably not a tactically correct thing to do and is now being seen as a gross show of power by the Russian oligarch. Neither Drogba nor Anelka seemed to be happy with the change in playing style and it probably is going to take some time for Chelsea to adjust to the presence of Torres. One tip – don’t rely on him too much.
One positive take-away for Chelsea was that their other signing, David Luiz, seems to be a fantastic signing. At Benfica he could operate as a great utility player who could play across the whle defence without any problem, If he can do the same with Chelsea, they could benefit greatly from his services.