Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0: Three talking points
Jonathan Spencer looks at three talking points after an entertaining League Cup semi-final second leg
Lucky Diego Costa
Diego Costa was a very lucky man to stay on the pitch for the whole game. He should have seen red for two stamps on Liverpool players. The first on Emre Can in the first half and the second on Martin Skrtel in the second half. Both looked deliberate and if the referee, Michael Oliver, had seen them, Costa would have been sent off. A 10-man Chelsea would have struggled against a Liverpool side, who looked a threat in attack throughout the game, with the pace of Raheem Sterling and the creativity of Philippe Coutinho. If Liverpool had the one-man advantage, would the result have been different?
Battle of the Belgian goalkeepers
Both Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea and Simon Mignolet of Liverpool performed very well for their sides tonight, making vital saves for their sides to keep their team in the tie. Courtois made two fantastic stops in the first half, from both Alberto Moreno and Philippe Coutinho, to deny Liverpool taking the lead. However, in the second half, it was the under fire Liverpool keeper who kept his side in the tie. He denied Chelsea from taking the lead with fantastic pieces of goalkeeping. First, he saved a brilliant shot from Costa with his feet and then he came out quickly to tackle the Brazilian again a few minutes later on to deny the Chelsea forward with an open goal. Both goalkeepers will need to carry on this form for the rest of the season if they want their teams to be successful at the end of the season. For Mignolet, it was very important to have a performance like this tonight. He has been under plenty of pressure recently after some poor mistakes but this performance would have lifted the anxiety off his shoulders for now.
Will Liverpool improve in the business end of the season?
Liverpool have endured a tough campaign so far this season. Losing the best player in the Premier League last season in the form of Luis Suarez was a massive loss. This was made much worse when Daniel Sturridge’s injury woes began very early on in the season. However, he looks likely to be back this weekend at an important time for the club. Not only does he provide the team with goals, he gives the team with pace and intensity. He will improve the Reds and it is important he remains fit from now until the end of the season. Furthermore, Liverpool look to be growing in confidence, showing plenty more flair in attack. They caused Chelsea’s defence many problems throughout the two legs and they have been getting good results in the league recently, picking up much needed points. Liverpool will improve and they will be looking to push for a top-four spot.