Liverpool 0 Chelsea 2: Three talking points
Liverpool 0 Chelsea 2: Three talking points as the Blues win at Anfield in another twist in title race
Chelsea and Man City back in the title race
What Liverpool desperately needed today was a win. It would have swung the title in their favour by knocking Chelsea completely out of the title race and put it in their own hands. However, following the result, two wins for Manchester City in their games in hand will put them ahead of the Reds on goal difference. Chelsea are just two games behind them with two to play. It’s tighter at the top than it has been for a long time and the Premier League is better for it. With the relegation dog fight going down to the final couple of fixtures there is an emphasis on both ends of the table. It’s likely that the emotions felt by Liverpool fans if they miss out on their first Premier League title on goal difference will be the mirror of the fans who are suffering from relegation woes. They need Manchester City to slip up.
Gerrard – Once a red, always a red
One of the many subtexts running in this game is the Steven Gerrard to Chelsea transfer saga, a move he almost made to give himself a chance of winning the Premier League title. He now has that chance with his life-long love, Liverpool. He’s had a sublime season playing in a Andrea Pirlo-esque role in the Reds’s midfield, but it was his mistake that lead to Demba Ba’s goal virtually on the stroke of half-time. Before that his performance was the epitome of calmness, yet this error cost his side dearly. There is no question that nobody will be feeling the consequences of the mistake more than the man himself. He’s Mr. Liverpool. He’s their talisman. There will be no doubt that he will feel that he has let the team and the fans down, yet after the season that he’s had that’s the last thing he should be thinking. He’s an experienced professional, he knows that these things can happen and if there’s on person who can bounce back from a moment like this it’s Steven Gerrard.
Coming off the back of a fantastic defensive performance in Madrid, Jose Mourinho’s side put in yet another solid shift here. His sides are always set up to frustrate the big sides around them before hitting them on the counter. The defence was as tight and well-drilled as ever, helped out by Frank Lampard and Jon Obi Mikel who dropped into the holding midfield positions. Even Ba did his bit defensively. It’s a team effort and that was what was on display. Liverpool are the masters of the fast and furious starts but Chelsea’s damage limitation tactics nullified them entirely. Luis Suarez barely had any space to conjure his magic with a shot that stung Mark Schwarzer’s hands being the highlight of his efforts. Raheem Sterling’s pace has caused many teams issues this season but Cesar Azpilicueta marshalled him perfectly. Tomáš Kalas, making his Premier League debut, certainly looked the part and he could have made it a memorable one had he connected to Frank Lampard’s corner. Chelsea made Liverpool pay for their lack of creativity and their inability to break down the stubborn ranks.