Liverpool managed to pick up a draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in what would have ordinarily been a good result. The Reds though needed a win to stand any real chance of sneaking back into the top four and the one point just won’t be good enough for Brendan Rodgers’ men.
There was no start for Mario Balotelli in this game, despite the fact he was fit. Instead Rodgers opted to play Rickie Lambert up front with Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling in support.
The game got off to a bad start for Liverpool when Chelsea managed to find the back of the net before the game was even five minutes old. It was a defensive mess from Liverpool who allowed John Terry to score but I still found myself wondering why Rickie Lambert was marking one of the most serious aerial threats? It’s a daft policy in my book! It happened recently with Mario Balotelli, I can’t remember the exact game (memory like a sieve) but he was deffo marking a strong header of the ball.
Of course players like Balotelli and Lambert should be able to deal with these situations but you’re just asking for trouble in my opinion. Let strikers mark the zone not the man?
Anyway. Thankfully, going down so quickly in the game wasn’t actually disastrous for the Reds and we continued to dominate in possession. Mourinho’s decision to field a weakened team was really showing and Liverpool ensured they took their opportunity to boss the midfield.
The issue though as always was that final ball, that final product. Some great play from the likes of Coutinho and Sterling would create flashes in attack but then they’d have no where to go, destined to either strike wide in a rash attempt or struggle to find Lambert. This is another reason why I wish we’d bloody play four four two but I won’t go in to all of that.
Liverpool had picked up three bookings in the first half but things began to even themselves out when a bad challenge on the edge of the box came from Branislav Ivanovic. He was shown the yellow.
The free kick was in a dangerous position and it was Jordan Henderson who whipped the ball into the box. An unmarked Steven Gerrard was then allowed to head home the Liverpool equaliser and at least momentarily silence songs about him slipping over.
It was fantastic to see Gerrard score, yeah so it doesn't really mean anything but as he edges closer to LA, every last moment becomes more and more special.
The second half was more of the same for Liverpool as Chelsea just couldn't seem to keep hold of the ball. Eden Hazard arguably one of the best players of the season was looking lost as the Reds continued to try and find a winner.
Half chances from the likes of Lallana and Coutinho made it look like a win was possible for the Reds but time was ticking by and Rodgers was running out of options. In the run up to the 70 minute mark Rodgers opted to bring on the youngsters as Sinclair and Ibe replaced Lambert and Lallana respectively. To be honest I'm not sure I would of replaced Lallana however it is always nice to see Jordan Ibe given a chance, his work rate is top notch.
Ibe offered pace and strength for the Reds and created a new problem for Chelsea to deal with. Liverpool still couldn't find that all important goal though and now Rodgers decided to take off Gerrard and replace him with Lucas. It was brilliant to see a standing ovation for Steven and even more brilliant to hear his post match slaughtering of the Chelsea fans haha! However, taking off our top goalscorer when we needed a goal? I was a bit miffed to be honest.
The Reds fought for the last ten minutes but it wasn't to be. It was a good result to be fair and for once a decent performance however the gulf between Liverpool and Chelsea has never been so apparent. It is a worrying time for the Reds as they look to close a forgetful season and focus on what could be an even more forgettable transfer window.
Next up for the Reds is Crystal Palace, come back for a special Steven Gerrard match preview!