Can Nets First Goal But Liverpool Lose To Cheslea
Liverpool welcomed Chelsea to Anfield on Saturday afternoon in what was always going to be a difficult tie for the Reds. After a relatively good performance against Real Madrid in the week, many Kopites presumed there would be a change of tact from Rodgers but his insistence to use the same formation was perhaps detrimental to his side's overall chances.
Things began well for the Reds when Emre Can quickly put a stamp on the game. An early effort from range smashed off John Terry and flew wide but the German followed soon after with an almost identical shot. This time his strike deflected off Cahill and fortuitously flew into the right of goal leaving Courtois with no chance.
To have scored so early against Chelsea was a real shock for me and despite the buoyancy in the side after scoring I still couldn't convince myself that we would go on to get anything from the game. Why? Because we're so lacking in firepower at the minute and playing in such an ineffective formation that our attacking prowess is extremely minimal.
Liverpool continued to create some good movement and retained a lot of possession but, as always there was no end product. I've said it a million times now but once again, Mario Balotelli being put up front on his own is absolutely pointless. After the effort Borini put in against Madrid I honestly thought Brendan was going to start him in order to support Mario, but no.
Another man Rodgers failed to start was Kolo Toure, it's harsh to suggest that the game would have ended differently if the Ivorian was included but he was extremely unlucky not to feature after also putting on a cracking display against Madrid.
Four minutes after our goal Chelsea had found an equaliser. A corner was whipped into the box and met by the head of Diego Costa who flicked the ball on to Terry. Terry's effort was saved by Simon Mignolet but the follow up from Cahill saw Mignolet fall into his own net, carrying the ball over the line with him. Goalline technology gave the goal decision.
It's frustrating because had Mignolet fell at a different angle then it wouldn't have been a bloody goal! However if you watch the replays, the positioning of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren when the corner comes in is frankly unforgivable and was always going to result in a problem.
It's a shame really because I thought Skrtel had a good game, he was clearly getting on Costa's nerves, so much so that both players were taking chunks out of each other on a regular basis. The hard work Skrtel put in to keep Costa quiet made it even worse to see him score Chelsea's winner later in the game.
Efforts from both teams continued to arise as the first half went on but perhaps the most notable incident involved Sterling and Ramires. I've watched the replays several times now and the fact is, Raheem Sterling was booked for being punched in the face...
I have no idea what the referee thought he saw but clearly it was Sterling who should have received the free kick and not Chelsea! A ridiculous end to a first half where Liverpool remained in the game but clearly required some substitutions in order to find another goal.
Early in the second half Diego Costa slowly began to get the better of Skrtel and attempted a bicycle kick that thankfully missed the target. Costa is a hard player to dislike when he isn't playing against you because he's a fantastic striker but when he's up against us he doesn't half piss you off!
Some half chances for Liverpool came as the second half went on from the likes of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling and whilst movement and play was once again positive we just couldn't break through. Watching the clock it got later and later and there was no sign of Brendan making a change until finally Chelsea got their second goal of the game and once again Brendan had missed his chance to create an impact.
A long range pass from Willian found its way to Azpilicueta who did well to keep the ball in play. Hi cross into the box was palmed away by Mignolet but the ball eventually fell to Costa who finished with ease.
Now came the subs for Liverpool, Borini (who in my opinion should of started) entered play alongside Joe Allen. I didn't really understand the Joe Allen sub but by this point I didn't really care. What made things worse was that after playing Mario Balotelli alone and unsupported once again for 75% of the game, Brendan brings on Borini to help the issue then minutes later subs off Balo and puts on Lambert?!
Absolutely pointless. He knows the type of player Balotelli is, he knew this before he signed him so why is he refusing to play to his strengths. I'm not denying that Balotelli obviously has been below par in his start to the season but how can you expect him to get involved when he has literally nothing coming through to him? It's really pissing me off to be honest because I get the impression that Brendan doesn't even like Balotelli and is only playing him because he has to. The sooner Sturridge is back and the two can play up front the bloody better because there doesn't seem to be any sign at all of Brendan considering a 4-4-2 until Daniel is back.
The last moment worthy of a mention in the second half for Liverpool was when a Steven Gerrard shot hit off the arm of Cahill. Questions were rightly asked and for me it was a penalty but I wasn't calling for it as much as most because I personally felt we were lucky to get away with the Moreno hand ball incident earlier on in the game. After chatting to folks on twitter it appears I'm a minority here but whatever you think about it, I hate it when you're in a game and you're so desperate for a penalty just to salvage something from it, it's a horrible feeling.
Liverpool have so many problems at the moment and so little answers. Whilst I fully back Brendan 100% he is really, really frustrating me at the moment, I just can't see his logic and his current efforts clearly aren't working. What worries me most is that he's placing all his eggs in one basket just hoping that the return of Sturridge will solve all his issues. Sturridge is a fantastic player but there is no guarantee that he will return and start banging the goals in immediately and if he doesn't we'll be lounging around lower and lower in the table. There's so much weight being placed on Sturridge's shoulders it's unbelievable.
I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
@LFCKirstyLFC Same old problems. Whats the point of dropping underperformers if you bring them back the next game?
— R Thomas (@GRravski) November 8, 2014
@LFCKirstyLFC there were some positives. Glimpses from last season coming through... Just wrong subs in my opinion.Next up for Liverpool is Crystal Palace where hopefully Daniel Sturridge will be back.
— LFC_Maff (@MaffJones) November 8, 2014
Just want to say a huge thank you to everybody that took the time to vote for me and The Liver Bird in the football blogging awards. Voting closed on Friday evening and I'll be attending the awards ceremony on Thursday evening at the National Football Museum in Manchester so wish me luck!