Much has been made of Liverpool’s poor start to the season, with the Reds currently occupying 13th place in the Premier League table. The form of Luis Suárez has been the only real positive thing to come out of the opening 10 games for Brendan Rodgers’ side, with their start being a tale of disappointment. Before the game, Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo highlighted the importance of limiting the chances for the “extremely dangerous” striker. For much of this fixture he struggled to make any impact as an organised home back-line made his role as a lone striker very difficult. With 10 goals in 15 appearances, it was unlikely that the 25-year-old’s name would be kept out of the goals for long. The impact came in the 73rd minute as Suso’s teasing corner was flicked on by Jamie Carragher, and he nodded home, after easily peeling off Ramires. Incredibly this meant that Suárez has now netted six goals away from Anfield this season, more than any other player in the division. He had a fantastic chance to double his total after racing onto a through ball, but Petr Cech did enough to stop him. Impressively, Liverpool have suffered just two defeats in the last 12 games against the London club.
The Blues had netted an incredible 43 goals in just 16 competitive fixtures this season ahead of the game. Among the host of names finding their way onto the score-sheet, five of those were defenders, with the likes of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic appearing on the list. They once again made their mark in this fixture, with just 19 minutes on the clock. A teasing delivery from Juan Mata found the run of returning captain John Terry, who lost the attentions of Daniel Agger, and powered a header beyond the despairing dive of Brad Jones. Their contribution could have been doubled as the game entered it’s dying moments, but Ivanovic couldn’t keep his effort down. With a lack of striking options available to manager Di Matteo, he will be happy that goals are coming from all areas of the pitch.
With both sides looking to create a style of play centred on neat passing play, it wasn’t a surprise to see that the midfield units were an integral part. Throughout the game, the Blues easily overpowered the best that Nuri Sahin, Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen had to offer. In his efforts to turn Chelsea into England’s answer to Barcelona, Di Matteo has looked to employ a pair of defensive midfielders, in Ramires and John Obi Mikel, with the creative trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Mata ahead of them. All of them played their part in a tense affair, as chances proved to be at a premium. Mikel and Ramires stifled any attacking threat posed by the visitors and helped create a wall in front of the defence. Mata’s teasing delivery helped the hosts open the scoring but he missed a good chance to get a goal to his name, after a jinking run ended with a shot over the bar. Oscar nearly provided Fernando Torres with a maiden strike against his former club but Jones made a sharp save. The contribution from the attacking area of the home midfield has been invaluable, with 14 goals and 20 assists between them.
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