Liverpool 1 Chelsea 2: Player ratings as Gary Cahill stars

Player ratings from Anfield as Gary Cahill and Diego Costa fire Chelsea to a 2-1 victory

Harry Reardon
By Harry Reardon http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/wp-content/uploads/cahill-terry-174-64x64.jpg

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet A fine save to deny Terry but just unable to keep out Cahill’s follow-up shot, before Costa’s drive went straight through him. A touch fortunate to get away with a wander out of goal and misplaced clearance part way through the first half, and continues to lack the authority required. 5/10

Glen Johnson At fault twice for Chelsea’s first goal, both in being beaten too easily for Terry’s initial header, and then failing to block Cahill’s shot. 5

Martin Skrtel Had a real battle on his hands up against Costa, but just about managed to keep the Chelsea man at bay – for most of the game. 6

Dejan Lovren Stepped out of defence to intercept well, and generally looked a calming presence alongside the blood and thunder of Skrtel v Costa alongside him. 6

Alberto Moreno Deprived of a regular one-on-one opponent as Ramires dropped back, he dealt with most of what came his way well, but suffered a little from the lack of certainty that continues to pervade the Reds’ back line. 6

Steven Gerrard A couple of threatening set pieces, but otherwise not much of an attacking presence today until his team went behind. Ten years ago, he would have run this game. 6

Emre Can Got forward well from the off, and Chelsea could not say that they had not been warned by the time he opened the scoring after nine minutes. Finding a role in this team, and deserves to keep his place, but faded a little before being replaced in the second half. 7

Jordan Henderson A little passive, but helped keep his team’s shape as Chelsea grew into the game, and there were no major howlers. A powerful volley late on was probably goalbound had it not struck Matic. 6

Philippe Coutinho Has been in and out of the team this season, but performances like this show why he is so valuable. His dancing feet and clever skills around the edge of the box ensured that Liverpool took the early honours, and kept Chelsea honest as the game wore on. Unlucky to be substituted after his team went behind. 7

Raheem Sterling A lively presence cutting in from the left, without ever quite finding the final incision. Booked for a cynical block on Ramires in a dangerous area just before half time, but found a bit more zip again after Ivanovic had been booked, with a good shot well saved early in the second half. 7

Mario Balotelli The goal drought continues (now 767 minutes and counting). The Italian was more involved than he sometimes is, with a couple of promising breaks denied by close offside calls, but his passing was below par, and he did not offer the same threat as his opposite number. Booked for a silly shove in a dangerous area when tracking back just after the hour. 5

Substitutes

Fabio Borini On for Coutinho with 20 minutes to go. Did his best, but feeding off scraps for the most part. n/a

Joe Allen Replaced Can at the same time as Borini came on. A good run and cross nearly led to an equaliser, but Henderson’s volley was blocked. n/a

Rickie Lambert On for Balotelli late on. n/a

Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois Completely wrong-footed by Can’s deflected effort in the opening stages; otherwise got in behind what he had to. Saw yellow late on for timewasting. 7

Branislav Ivanovic Struggled a little to contain Sterling in the early stages, but as Chelsea settled into the game, felt more and more confident to push forward. Booked early in the second half for pulling Sterling’s shirt. 6

Gary Cahill (man of the match) Very unfortunate to see Can’s shot loop off his shoulder past Courtois after nine minutes, then made up for it within five minutes when bundling the ball over the line from Fàbregas’s corner, and showed excellent composure thereafter. Perhaps a touch lucky not to concede a late penalty after a Gerrard effort struck his arm. 8

John Terry Left most of the dirty work to his central defensive colleague, but did his job when called upon. 7

César Azpilicueta Neat and tidy first half, before a fine run and cross led to the ball finding Diego Costa for Chelsea’s second goal midway through the second period. 7

Nemanja Matic Strong forward running and his passing was inventive. As with his midfield colleagues, caught a little cold in the early stages, but settled into the game as Liverpool faded. Booked for a challenge on Johnson. 7

Cesc Fàbregas Caught short in his defensive duties a couple of times as Liverpool found space in front of the back four. Set pieces always caused a threat, but this was not one of the Spaniard’s best performances. 6

Ramires An apparent concession of respect for Liverpool on the part of José Mourinho, the Brazilian was caught a little betwixt and between attack and defence, and had little impact. Sacrificed for Willian with the scores level early in the second half. 6

Oscar A quiet game for the Brazilian. Curled a shot wide early in the second half, which was about as involved as he got until a late booking for a foul on Johnson. 6

Eden Hazard The Belgian was not at his most influential today, but he was always looking to get on the ball, and had a couple of shots blocked, including one after 36 minutes which he scuffed when he really should have scored. 7

Diego Costa Fizzing around the back four from the opening minutes, and was as physical as ever. In the right place to drill home in the 67th minute and continue his remarkable scoring record. Booked late on after a series of niggly challenges. 7

Substitutes

Willian Replaced Ramires early in the second half, and did his job. 6

Didier Drogba On for Costa for the final stages. n/a

Filipe Luis Replaced Hazard in injury time. n/a

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