The much anticipated battle between the Premier League leaders and a struggling Liverpool side took place at Anfield today, with Jose Mourinho making a few changes from his midweek Champions League line-up as Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ramires and Diego Costa all came into the starting eleven.
The return of Ramires and Azpilicueta into the starting line-up was especially a good news for the Blues supporter, while Remy also returned from the muscle injury and started on the bench.
Here’s the initial reaction to the match:
- Chelsea started in a 4-3-3 formation as Ramires settled in the CM position alongside Fabregas and Matic while, Oscar, Hazard and Costa were the 3 man up front. It wasn’t a blistering start at the Anfield as we might have expected but Liverpool managed to draw first blood in the 9th minute when an Emre Can shot from outside the box was deflected back into the net by Gary Cahill. There was nothing Courtois could do about the wicked deflection as Liverpool lead 1-0.
- Liverpool lead, like their title hopes, lasted just 5 minutes though, as Chelsea managed to equalize in the 14th minute from a corner through Gary Cahill. There was a lot of confusion in the box as the ball was flicked on to Terry, who headed it goalwards from close range. Simon Mignolet pulled off a magnificent save to deny the Chelsea skipper, but the ball bounced back out to Cahill, who fired away from close range. The Belgian made another brilliant stop, but he carried it over the line as Chelsea got their equalizer. Chelsea 1- 1 Liverpool.
- It was Liverpool who dominated the major part of the game in the first 25 minutes, but Chelsea managed to find their feet as we reached the half hour mark. Hazard and Costa looked lively for the Blues, but none of the team had a clear cut chance to go 2-1 up.
- Chelsea looked increasingly comfortable as we approached the end of the first half. We controlled the possession and pressed the Reds high up the pitch, creating a few half chances in the process. The individual battle between Skrtl and Costa upfront while, Johnson and Hazard on the left side of our pitch was the highlight of the first half so far. Only if Blues were able to convert those half chances, we would be leading 3-1 at the break.
- The first half ended 1-1, as Blues came from behind to equalize through Gary Cahill after an Emre Can strike put the Reds upfront. It wasn’t the prettiest of start from Chelsea, but we managed to dominate the proceedings after the first 25 minutes through the high-pressing game that sent Liverpool on the back foot. The game was far from over though, with both the managers reasonably happy with the scoreline at the break as an interesting second half awaits.
- The second half started with no changes from either manager as both the teams searched for an early goal. It was Liverpool who had the best chance to get a lead in the 52nd minute through Sterling, but Courtois denied the winger with an excellent save.
Jose made his first change early on in the half with Willian coming on in place of Ramires as, Chelsea reverted to their usual 4-2-3-1.
- Both the teams looked quite content with the result as we reached the one-hour mark as, none of the side put any extra effort going forward.
But when you have a striker like Diego Costa, you don’t have to worry about goals! After some brilliant work by Azpilicueta on the left hand side who basically cut open the Reds defense with his strength and skills; the Spaniards resulting cross was deflected on the path of Costa after Mignolet got a hand to it.The striker, however, made no mistake slamming his effort into the back of the net from close range as Chelsea lead for the first time in the 67th minute. Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool.
- The goal ensured that Chelsea could defend deeply and let the Reds take all the risk by committing men forward. Meanwhile, Costa and Hazard continued to be a threat for the Blues on the counter attack.
Given their recent goalscoring drought, the Merseyside club struggled to break down a well-organized and compact Chelsea defense.
- There was a late controversy in the 88th minute as Liverpool claimed a hand ball from Gary Cahill inside the box. Replay showed the ball did clip the English defender on the hand, but the referee waved it off.
Mourinho introduced Drogba and Luis in the dying minutes of the game to hold off the Reds, as the game ended with Chelsea coming from behind to claim a 2-1 victory at Anfield. The win ensured that Blues go into the international break in a very good position while, it also puts a lot of pressure on Man City to get a win against QPR.
Good times to be a Blues fan.Top of the table and laughing!
Edited By: Ankur Bhatt