A Return To Winning Ways: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool

 By Jonathan Carroll

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has fond memories of Stamford Bridge, unbeaten there as a player and now as a manager. Dalglish set Liverpool out to attack Chelsea and deservedly left Stamford Bridge with all three points on Sunday evening.

Liverpool lined up in a 4-4-2 with Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt all returning to the starting eleven. Coming in off the left flank Maxi fits into such a formation with seemless integration, such is the players footballing brain and unselfish movement. Dirk Kuyt on the right side of midfield helped out Glen Johnson at right back in staving off the over lapping Ashley Cole and gave options going forward. Bellamy’s introduction to the starting eleven showed Dalglish’s eagerness to attack the Chelsea central defenders lack of pace and positioning. From very early on in this contest Liverpool hustled and harried Chelsea all over the pitch and one such instance lead to Charlie Adam dispossessing Ramires just outside Chelsea’s own eighteen yard box to lay it off to Bellamy,who exchanged passes with Luis Suarez before setting up Maxi to put Liverpool in front. It was no less than Liverpool deserved out of their total domination of the first half. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel patrolled Didier Drogba effectively all afternoon, Lucas Leiva lead the pack in closing down and dispossessing in midfield and creative runs in behind by Maxi, Kuyt, Bellamy and Suarez had Chelsea facing a hiding.

However the second half saw a natural drop off in the high pressure Liverpool exerted all over the pitch in the first half. It is impossible to go ninety minutes pressuring the opposition at such a high tempo before fatigue sets in, even at the professional level. Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas drafted Juan Mata into central midfield to partner Ramires and Frank Lampard to help outnumber Liverpool’s pairing of Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam. The change had immediate effect with Liverpool finding it difficult to maintain any sort of possession in the early stages of the second half. Chelsea substitute Daniel Sturridge tapped home a mis hit Florent Malouda shot come cross to equalise. A few nervy moments followed for Liverpool’s traveling Kop but the tactical change by Dalglish to bring on Jordan Henderson for Bellamy helped restore equilibrium in central midfield leaving Suarez as the lone striker in a 4-5-1. The last twenty-five minutes were more of an even contest with both teams probing. With ten minutes remaining, Jordan Henderson nutmegged Ashley Cole, skipped by John Terry and crossed for Stewart Downing to lay it off for Dirk Kuyt who side footed agonizingly wide when surely the Dutch striker would have been better suited using his left. Amazingly, the Liverpool striker has yet to score in the league this season for his club. That missed chance should have served as a warning to Chelsea about Liverpool;s counter attacking capabilities. The warning wasnt heeded and on eighty-seven minutes Charlie Adam sprayed a delightful cross field ball to Glen Johnson who also megged Ashley Cole coming inside from the right onto his left foot and finished calmly beyond Petr Cech as John Terry fell on his backside watching the ball roll past him. It was a goal set up by a very unselfish Dirk Kuyt run, which took both Terry and David Luiz away from Johnson’s one on one versus Ashley Cole, leaving the Chelsea left back short of cover but also leaving the Liverpool right back in on goal should he beat Ashley Cole.

A lot has been said about former Liverpool players playing against their former club in the build up to this game but it was former blue Glen Johnson who took all the headlines. Other performances not getting the recognition they deserve include players like Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. Skrtel especially after coming under fire for his shaky performances in the recent past had a comfortable afternoon and kept Drogba quiet and then anything else Chelsea threw at him. Charlie Adam looked like a ball winning midfielder and long may it continue. Lucas was, well, Lucas was once again phenomenal and Suarez, Kuyt, Bellamy and Maxi worked intricately all evening as a front four giving Chelsea all sorts of problems. Dalglish faces a selection problem now, but it;s a good kind of problem after a confidence boosting win like this. Should Jamie Carragher return? Form suggests otherwise. Next up for the Redmen, Manchester City at Anfield this coming Sunday.

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic (yellow card)
  • 03 Cole
  • 04 David Luiz (yellow card)
  • 26 Terry
  • 07 Ramires (yellow card) (Meireles 84)
  • 08 Lampard
  • 12 Mikel (Sturridge 46)
  • 15 Malouda
  • 10 Mata
  • 11 Drogba (Torres 84)

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull,
  • 17 Bosingwa,
  • 06 Romeu,
  • 16 Meireles,
  • 09 Torres,
  • 23 Sturridge,
  • 39 Anelka

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 Johnson
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 05 Agger
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 11 Maxi (Downing 77)
  • 21 Lucas (yellow card)
  • 26 Adam
  • 07 Suarez (Carroll 89)
  • 18 Kuyt (yellow card)
  • 39 Bellamy (Henderson 66)

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni,
  • 23 Carragher,
  • 34 Kelly,
  • 14 Henderson,
  • 19 Downing,
  • 20 Spearing,
  • 09 Carroll

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 41,820

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About Jonathan Carroll

I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Born and bred in Ireland I played Gaelic football and soccer while growing up and attended the prestigious Colaiste Ide in Dublin to prepare for a soccer scholarship to the USA. I played soccer at Thomas University in Georgia and was made team captain in my junior and senior years. I was honored to become an All-American in those same years. I graduated in 2007 and coached high school and collegiate level soccer programs incorporating year round strength and conditioning techniques with great success. I moved to Boston in 2011 and went on to work at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. I am currently the head strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Wolfe Tones Gaelic football team. Qualifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach FMS Certified United States Soccer Federation “D” License Football Association of Ireland Certified

2 thoughts on “A Return To Winning Ways: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool

  1. Pingback: Reds host league leaders: Liverpool v Man City | The Red Letter

  2. Pingback: FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Liverpool | The Red Letter

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