Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool – Dire First Half Costs Reds

By Jonathan Carroll.

After losing at home to Fulham in the league and resting several key first team players Liverpool should have come into the FA Cup Final with a view of taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Instead Kenny Dalglish’s starting eleven were disjointed and severely lacking in ideas when going forward.

Jay Spearing showed once more that he is out of his depth with a poor performance and was at fault for Cheslea’s first which fell to the Brazilian Ramires after Jose Enrique committed himself too early and paid the ultimate price. Liverpool were being over run in midfield with Frank Lampard, Jon Obi Mikel and Juan Mata pulling the strings for the London club. The pairing of Steven Gerrard and Spearing never worked out as Gerrard constantly dropped deep to receive the ball.

The teams went into half time with Chelsea holding a one goal lead. That lead would soon double as Lampard skipped past Spearing and laid on a pass for Didier Drogba. With Martin Skrtel backing off Drogba finished expertly with a left foot finish low into the bottom right hand corner of Pepe Reina’s goal. Chelsea were in the ascendency and Liverpool needed change and fast.

That change came in the shape of Andy Carroll for Spearing. The big Geordie should have started from the beginning. Luis Suarez suffered being the only striker for two-thirds of the game and having Stewart Downing whip balls in to Suarez was pointless against defenders like Ivanovic and John Terry in the air.

For the last twenty-five minutes Liverpool battered Chelsea. Carroll was a constant thorn in their side and also freed up space for Suarez to create. The main talking point will be Carroll’s header which was judged not to have crossed the line. Petr Cech got a hand to it but replays proved that all of the ball had not crossed the line. None the less, Dalglish’s men continued to knock on the door and Carroll had a good chance in stoppage time but again was foiled by Cech.

Liverpool paid for their lack of ideas in the first half. They more or less spotted Chelsea a one nil lead and chased the game after that. Only when Carroll came on and Liverpool pushed two wingers up as a forward four did they look dangerous. Chelsea played good counter attacking football with Drogba again proving the difference. This result will leave many questions unanswered heading into the summer as to where Liverpool are headed. The current approach under Dalglish seems lacking of ideas yet the huge amounts of money paid on players should have ensured that was not the case. Just who pays the ultimate price, player or coach will be decided in the summer by FSG.

The Champions League must be the goal next season and currently Liverpool do not have the personnel to achieve fourth place or higher. Add that to the fact the club continues to fall behind the major financial earners in the league and there can be no underestimating how important the upcoming summer will be to the future of Liverpool Football Club.

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech – 7
  • 02 Ivanovic – 7
  • 03 Cole – 6
  • 17 Bosingwa – 5
  • 26 Terry – 6
  • 07 Ramires – 8 (Meireles – 76′ )
  • 08 Lampard – 7
  • 12 Mikel – 7 (Booked)
  • 10 Mata – 7 (Malouda – 90′ )
  • 11 Drogba – 8
  • 21 Kalou – 6

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull
  • 19 Ferreira
  • 05 Essien
  • 15 Malouda
  • 16 Meireles
  • 09 Torres
  • 23 Sturridge

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 5
  • 02 Johnson – 7
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 3
  • 05 Agger – 6 (Booked)
  • 37 Skrtel – 7
  • 08 Gerrard – 6
  • 14 Henderson – 5
  • 19 Downing – 4
  • 20 Spearing – 4 (Carroll – 55′ ) – 8
  • 07 Suarez – 6 (Booked)
  • 39 Bellamy – 5 (Kuyt – 78′ )

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 11 Maxi
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 09 Carroll
  • 18 Kuyt
Match Statistics
Chelsea                            Liverpool
Possession                  45%                                  55%
Shots                            14                                     18
Shots on Target             6                                      10
Corners                         1                                        7
Referee: Phil Dowd
Attendance: 89,102
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6 thoughts on “Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool – Dire First Half Costs Reds

  1. Yes way too many Liverpool fans saying that ball was over the line, when in my eyes it clearly is not. They blame the camera angles and say if you straighten the camera it would be in, but the whole thing has to be over the line.

    To me, arguing that point is pointless. The bigger question to me is why we were so woeful for 60 minutes of a cup final. Jay Spearing was mostly absent, which led to Gerrard having to drop deeper and be ineffective, Downing and Enrique were having a little competition on the left to see who could get in the best positions most often and then give the ball away easily; and too many people were seeking to find Carroll in the box, when he was sat on the bench.

    I’m also not a big fan of those saying Kenny has to be sacked, because he should have started Carroll. It’s very easy to say that in hind sight. However, its also possible that had Carroll played, with Suarez playing instead of Downing, then maybe those balls wouldn’t have found their way into the box, and Carroll would have been subbed after 60 odd minutes with people slating him (and Kenny).

    I have no idea what it is, whether it is Kenny, or the rest of the coaching staff, but for a long time this season the players seem to have given up, or been too tired. If that is the case then we really should have been giving people like Maxi and Shelvey more playing time. However, you would expect players to be up for a cup final and not need to be 2 nil down before they wake up.

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  2. Very disappointing result in the end but I have to think Kenny knows what is wrong with the team in general and he’ll be given next season to improve it. If there’s not much real progress next term I dont see John Henry having much patience.

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  3. I had two major concerns about Kenny before he signed, even with the debacle that was Roy Hodgson. The first was purely down to Kenny being “out of the game” for so long. A lot has changed since he last managed, but a certain part of that was allayed by the fact that we were going to have Commolli doing the transfer business. I knew Kenny would lift the players, but that only goes so far, after that its all about his tactics; and there was still a worry about whether tactics from the 90s would still work in the modern game.

    The second issue that I had was one of age. Sure, there are a number of old managers, but for most of them, there is already talk of retirement. A young manager can talk about a 5 year plan, because if he’s given the chance he has the time left to put that into action. With Kenny though that’s not going to be the case. The worry to me was what if he gets it all to click in 2 season, but then quits the one after leaving us in a mess again?

    Now Kenny has certainly messed up the tactics a number of times, but to me the biggest problem has been attitude from some of the players. So really I was proved wrong about my worries of the first issue. However, there are still the worries about the age. On the other hand, I’d hate for us to become one of those teams that changes managers every few months.

    What gets me is how we can be so great to watch in some games (even when we miss penalties and hit the crossbar :D) and then so flat the next, whilst people like Maxi, Kuyt, and Shelvey have say on the bench, with Kenny talking about tiredness.

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    • I would have liked to see Shelvey and Maxi get more games but Kenny bought Downing and Henderson for big money so there was little room in his mind for him to bench his player for one of Rafa’s. That’s why he stuck by them all season, they were his players. I noticed lack of discipline go out the window just after Christmas when the run of bad results had set in. That lack of discipline includes not tracking back, hiding from receiving the ball and not taking people on as is the job of some expensive wide men. The fact is this, if we miss the Champions League next season we will be even further behind the other clubs competing at the top. With no new stadium added to this we don’t have much margin for error when trying to get back to challenging for the top 4/Premier Leagie title. We must be shrewd in the transfer window this summer and show more imagination at home when trying to break teams down. These are of course only two areas that need addressIng in the summer.

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  4. Pingback: End of the Road: Swansea City v Liverpool | The Red Letter

  5. Pingback: Kenny Dalglish parts company with Liverpool Football Club | The Red Letter

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