It was the second straight defeat for Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday at the hands of Chelsea who beat them by 2 goals to 1. After falling behind after just 9 minutes, from Emre Cans’s deflected shot, Chelsea equalised just 5 minutes later with a scrappy goal by Gary Cahill, after Liverpool failed to clear a corner.
The winner came in the second half, as Diego Costa scored his first goal after returning from injury, slamming home an Azpilicueta cross, after it was initially parried away by Mignolet. With no more goals in the match, Chelsea maintained their unbeaten record this season while Liverpool suffered their fifth defeat of the season. This performance has certainly given us a few things to ponder about.
Here’re Our Five Things We Learnt:
Chelsea are strong at set-pieces
With tremendous headers of the ball in John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and also Diego Costa, Chelsea are always a threat in the air. And yesterday too, Chelsea equalised through a corner. John Terry won the header from a quality delivery by Cesc Fabregas, drawing a brilliant save from Simon Mignolet. Gary Cahill was on hand to convert from the rebound, which also Mignolet almost saved. With such strong and powerful players in the air, and also with players like Oscar, Fabregas and Hazard capable of putting in such quality balls, it would be foolish to concede set pieces to Chelsea.
Diego Costa is BACK!!
Costa made his first Premier League start after his return from injury against QPR but drew a blank. Yesterday, however, Costa looked a different animal altogether, taking the battle to Martin Skrtel right from the first minute. Always probing and passing with the midfielders, winning the balls off the Liverpool defenders, and also laying off balls for Hazard to take shots on goal. Costa finally got the goal his performance deserved, and didn’t he take it well, finishing off a deflected Azpilicueta cross from 8 yards out, without taking a second touch. Costa is now just behind Sergio Aguero, with 10 goals, in the Premier League leading scorers’ list. Costa’s form and fitness is vital to Chelsea, and one can see why.
Hazard has to work on his finishing
Eden Hazard, normally the perfect player in this Chelsea team, was unusually lacking in quality with his finishing on this occasion. Thrice he could have scored from the edge of the box, but thrice he shot straight at Liverpool players, twice at Johnson, and once straight into the hands of Mignolet. While his dribbling capabilities were not once in doubt, nor did he give up possession carelessly, he could have been better with his finishing.
Chelsea must start keeping clean sheets
As long as Chelsea keep winning, it may not seem much, but we must remember that not long ago in 2012; Manchester City won the League by goal difference. So it is imperative that Chelsea keep clean sheets and maintain a healthy goal difference. While there can be no complaints regarding the goalkeepers’ performance, there has to be an improvement in the defending long range shots. Yet again, Chelsea conceded via a deflection, with the goalkeeper wrong-footed. Emre Can was given a lot of space to shoot from range, instead of being closed down quickly. These issues need to be addressed by Jose Mourinho and in all probability they will be.
Oscar works very hard
Oscar may be known mostly for his play-making, free kicks and goals, but this season we have seen another added dimension to his game. He works extremely hard and presses the defenders from the front with Costa; he tracks back whenever the opposition midfielders drive towards the Chelsea defence, he tackles hard and also sweeps up from set pieces. His continuous running keeps the opponent players on their toes, forcing them into rash clearances rather than thought out passes. Yesterday too, he tackled a lot, although he picked up a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Sterling. But his dedication and commitment is out of question.
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni