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Monday, 7 February 2011
CHELSEA 0-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT
I can't remember a game so widely anticipated with so much hype and media attention in the build up to this match. Obviously brought about by the Fenrando Torres move from Liverpool to Chelsea last Monday. Apart from this added interest to the fixture it, it is always one of the key fixtures of the season. With both teams going into this game in good form made this hard to predict, although the bookmakers didn't give Liverpool much chance giving them odds as long as 5/1 at some bookmakers. Stamford Bridge hasn't been a a happy hunting ground over the years with only two victories in the league since 1990. But on the back of three wins and clean sheets on the bounce, there is a renewed confidence about this Liverpool side.
When I heard the Liverpool team I thought Dalglish was taking a gamble on the return of Carragher to the line-up since he has not played since dislocating his shoulder against Spurs on November 28th. The only other change to the side that beat Stoke midweek was Maxi coming in for Aurelio. Once again new signing Suarez had to start on the bench with Kuyt once again leading the front line.
After all the hype surrounding this match it was finally down to business. Torres started for Chelsea against his old employers of a week ago and the large travelling Liverpool support were letting him know their feelings. The game started with a nervous looking Maxi setting up former team mate Torres who fired a shot high and wide from long range. As the game settled down to a slow pace with Liverpool making it difficult for Chelsea to create, it took a while for the next opportunity to arrive, and it fell to Chelsea with Drogba skewing a shot wide from long range. Liverpool almost scored on 18 minutes when Carragher found Kuyt down the right but his cross failed to find an unmarked Meireles at the back post. Martin Skrtel then cut out a dangerous cross from Ashley Cole. Then Ivanovic glanced a header just wide from a corner as Chelsea looked for the opener. On 31 minutes came the chance Torres had been waiting for as he was sent clear with just Reina to beat but Janie Carragher got back to make a goal saving block as Torres shot at goal. Within a couple of minutes it was Liverpool on the attack as Gerrard whipped in a dangerous low cross which found Maxi at the back post but he could only prod the ball onto the bar from only 3 yards out with the goal gaping. The first half ended with Chelsea showing frustration when a Martin Kelly cross caused confusion between Cech and Ivanovic which almost resulted in fisticuffs.
The second half started with Liverpool going close from a shot by Johnson. Drogba and Anelka had the next chances as Liverpool's defence remained stubborn. Anelka again went close on 66 minutes when he shot narrowly wide as the Liverpool defence backed off. Just after that chance came the sight for all Liverpool fans to cheer, when Torres was substituted for Kalou. Essien shot just over the bar from long range just after this substitution. But it was Liverpool who took the lead on 68 minutes when Chelsea failed to clear a Gerrard cross which resulted in Meireles hooking the ball into the Chelsea net. Chelsea responded with substitute Malouda shooting low at Reina who blocked well. Liverpool almost made it two when substitute Aurelio's shot was saved by Cech. A late shout for a penalty when when Johnson looked guilty of a foul in the box but Liverpool escaped and held on for a tremendous win.
This was supposed to be scripted to be the Fernando show but Liverpool never read the script as they hardly gave the Spaniard a kick of the ball, the only real chance to score that he had was immediately thwarted by Carragher who was immense after returning from injury. With Liverpool having few options in attack with their two new signings seemingly not ready to start and Chelsea with a wealth of talent in their strikeforce it was going to be so difficult for Liverpool to achieve a result here. But what a great performance and another solid defensive display as Chelsea's strikeforce was kept at bay. You can really see there is a renewed confidence and togetherness in the team as results are proving. Another goal for Meireles as his scoring form continues. I thought Lucas was crucial in midfield as he protected the defence superbly and Gerrard was dangerous with crosses delivered. A tremendous day for Liverpool and their is a new spring in everybody connected to the club's step.
Man Of The Match - Carragher - Superb performance from return from injury and what a block when Torres looked like scoring