A stunning result. When the team news was released, everything seemed to be in Liverpool’s hands.
Chelsea fielded a weakened side, with Jose Mourinho claiming that the game on Wednesday (vs Atletico) was more important than yesterday's game at Anfield.
Tomas Kalas, with just two minutes of action in two different competitions this season, got his debut Premier League start in such a huge game, given a chance to shine.
He took his chance well, putting in a magnificent performance. Liverpool on the other hand, named an unchanged team, albeit without the suspended Jordan Henderson and injured Daniel Sturridge. It was a strong team nevertheless, a team that wanted to win.
As the saying goes 'Football is played on grass, not on paper'. It certainly proved to be true today. On paper, many pundits predicted a straight forward Liverpool victory. However, Mourinho had other ideas. The game started with Liverpool on the front foot, pouring men forward in search on an early goal.
Chelsea played for stoppages, visibly trying to waste time. In time-wasting and breaking up play Chelsea denied Liverpool any opportunity to establish the sort of rhythm which has regularly blown away teams in the first half.
It was the away side that had the first chance of the match, hitting on the counter-attack, with Ashley Cole driving a powerful shot at Mignolet, who managed to palm to ball away to safety.
At the other end, a Liverpool corner saw a chance created for Mamadou Sakho, who only managed to blast wastefully over the bar. Shouts for handball against Jon Flanagan were waved away, while, at the other end, Suarez failed to capitalise on Cole's mistake in giving away possession by curling a shot over.
On to the 45th minute, Sakho played a ball to Gerrard. The Liverpool captain unfortunately slipped, handing the opportunity to Demba Ba who latched on to the ball and burst ahead, calmly slotting past Mignolet to give Chelsea a shock lead. It was a half that Liverpool totally dominated, but Chelsea showed real steel at the back.
On to the second half, Liverpool attacked with more urgency, while Chelsea seemed determined to hold on to their slender lead. Just before the hour mark, Daniel Sturridge came on to replace Lucas, an attacking substitution. Cross after cross, shot after shot, but the Chelsea defence kept their grit.
Liverpool constantly poured men forward in the final 15 minutes, with Gerrard and Allen forcing fine saves from Australian custodian Mark Schwarzer. Suarez had one last chance in added time, but Schwarzer punched over his volley. Instead, the match ended in style when Torres was sent free, setting up Willian to tap into an empty net. A jubilant Mourinho ran down the touchline, celebrating the goal as if he won the Premier League.
Many football fans may argue that Mourinho played boring football, killing the beautiful game with such defensive tactics. Brendan Rodgers commented after the game, “We just couldn't find the breakthrough. There were two buses parked today, never mind one."
However, it certainly isn’t easy to park the bus. Mourinho’s defensive tactics worked like a charm. The blues defended tremendously well, with Kalas and Ivanovic constantly making vital blocks and clearing crosses. It was a classic Mourinho destruction and frustration ploy that broke the hearts of the Liverpool fans.
In spite of how ‘boring’ Chelsea played, it is ultimately the result that matters. It was a tactical master class by The Special One that won against a side which had won their last 11 league matches and dropped just five points at Anfield all season.
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