Editorials — November 21, 2011 23:09

Chelsea v Liverpool (Match Report)

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Talking points before the game seemed to centre around £50 million man Fernando Torres. The dramatic transfer request, the big money transfer, a day that seemed to go on forever in the minds of Liverpool fans would once again be the backdrop to the big game against Chelsea. Torres had come out and spoken about Liverpool fans not knowing the real reason for the transfer, and how special the Liverpool fans remained to him.

Questions fired at Kenny Dalglish were about Torres, and even the Chelsea boss had a fair share of questions about Torres. Andre Villa Boas went as far as publically backing Torres and reiterating his belief in the striker. “It’s nothing to do with us,” was Dalglish’s response at the press conference. Dalglish remaining focussed on the game was not interested in being drawn on the misfiring Torres. An unbeaten run as probably on the mind of the King, and after yesterday’s result, it remains intact!

The Match

Dalglish made some surprise changes to the starting lineup, in came Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez and out went Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing. Bellamy has recently been in fine form for his country during the international break and Rodriguez, well…he has the golden touch infront of goal, something that Liverpool have been missing.

Liverpool wearing black arm bands in memory of Luca Jones, started the first half strongly, bossing the game from the front foot. Utilising the pace of Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez and Luis Suárez, Chelsea’s back line had an uncomfortable first half. The Liverpool trio were running rings around the Chelsea defence. John Terry and company were in for an unpleasant afternoon. Bellamy whose positive impact in games earlier this season, was once again proving to be a handful. His movement, intelligence and link up play with Suarez was fabulous and it was these attributes that were applied in constructing the first goal. Charlie Adam who was having one of his best games in a red shirt dispossessed Mikel in the 34th minute to start the move that led to Liverpool’s first goal. A quadrant of Reds had quickly positioned themselves around Chelsea’s penalty area and with a quick interchange of passes between Suarez and Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez was fed an intelligent pass from Bellamy to sweep the ball into the back of the net. First start, first chance and goal! On the back of two hatricks last season, Rodriguez was reminding everyone how clinical and lethal he remains infront of goal. Liverpool went into the first half with a well deserved lead.

Chelsea started the second half strongly just like Liverpool had started the first, pressurising Liverpool into their own half. Whatever AVB had said to Chelsea at half time, it did the trick and in the 54thminute, Chelsea struck with a Daniel Sturridge goal. Chelsea appeared galvanised by the equaliser and continued pressing the Reds. They did come close to their second goal but for a truly world class save from Pepe Reina, who threw himself to push the ball away. Instant reflexes and quick reactions from Liverpool’s goalkeeper kept the Reds firmly in the game.

It was clear both teams were not interested in settling for a point. Chelsea pushed and pushed, and alarm bells started ringing, Jordan Henderson was sent on to stem the blue tide. It worked, the game began to drift away from Chelsea and Liverpool were in the ascendency. Henderson, who  showed glimpses of his class, skipping past Ashley Cole and John Terry before crossing the ball for Downing who set up Dirk Kuyt for a chance that was not converted. It was a chance that deserved a better finish from Kuyt. Fortunately Kuyt’s missed opportunity did not come back to haunt us and in the 87th Glen Johnson grabbed all the headlines. Picking up a fabulous cross field pass from Adam, Johnson went on a slalom run past Chelsea defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net past a helpless John Terry. It was what Liverpool had deserved, 3 points were heading back to Merseyside.

Real Progression

A hard fought result that had hallmarks of real progression being made this season. The Reds have shown signs and glimpses of what they can do under Dalglish but it all seemed to come together for Liverpool yesterday. It was a fabulous performance and one that deserved huge praise. It was by far Liverpool’s best performance of the season, and one that eclipsed the previous games against Bolton and Arsenal this season. There was belief, character, and a sense of togetherness that Liverpool could still go on and win, even after Chelsea’s had equalised. The manner and style in which Liverpool played yesterday reminded me of the great Dalglish teams of the past. The Reds were swarming, working together, defending together and launching into wave of attack. It was like watching the Liverpool team of the 80’s.

Final Thoughts

Whilst Liverpool are making heavy work of their home fixtures, their away form is very strong. Dalglish made some positive changes at the start of the game with Bellamy and Maxi, but will they feature next week against Man City? The runaway leaders will prove a tougher challenge and it will be interesting to see what Dalglish chooses to do next week. The King has demonstrated that he is not shy from making the big decisions and whether he keeps to the same team, we will just have to wait and see! Let’s savour this victory, after all, it is one to savour! A five star display that lifted the mood of all Liverpool supporters.

The buzz is back! – Liverpool are back! The Redmachine in full effect! – In Kenny we trust.

 

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