All Bark, No Bite: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool. Post Match Thoughts

Yum. - Clive Rose

Liverpool fall to their second defeat in as many games, a first in the Rodgers era, to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

This wasn't exactly how any of us pictured the year ending, but Liverpool failed to deliver in an important match against Chelsea. The match started at a frantic pace with both sides trading jabs early on.  However, it was Liverpool who scored first off a rebound from a free kick.  Suarez flicked the free kick forcing Cech into a fine save.  However, Skrtel was quickest and pounced on the rebound.

After the goal though Chelsea applied the pressure and, if we're being honest, were probably deserving of their equalizer.  Before that, Lampard had tried his best to level after crushing the ball which was heading right for the upper corner of Mignolet's goal.  Out of nowhere, Mignolet at full stretch did magnificently to get a hand to it.  However, the pressure kept coming.  After slicing open the Liverpool midfield, Sakho cutout the through ball played by Oscar.  Unfortunately, the bounce fell straight into Hazards path and he made no mistake curling it beautifully past Mignolet.

Liverpool looked like they would be able to regroup at the half, but shortly before the intermission, Eto'o managed to take the lead.  Azpilicueta crossed in a low cross; Eto'o got on the wrong side of Skrtel and got a slight touch to it sending it goalward.  Mignolet managed to get a touch to it, but it wasn't enough as it bounced home off the far post.

After the half, not much changed.  The match felt the same, played with the same tenacity and frenetic pace.  Liverpool had a couple decent claims for a penalty as Terry and Eto'o appeared to foul Suarez in the box on separate occasions, but with Webb refereeing it was a foregone conclusion the whistle would not be blowing.  The match ended with more controversy as somehow Hazard's Oscar's late two footed tackle on Lucas only resulted in a yellow card.  Couple that with Eto'o's (that looks funny) horrible tackle on Henderson minutes into the match and it is fair to say Webb had zero control of this game.

In the end, it was a disappointing Christmas.  I said Liverpool would need 3 of 6 points from this run, and while they can feel hard done by the soccer gods, it still doesn't change the table.  Yes, they are only 6 points off the pace, but now they have even more injuries to worry about as Allen, Sakho and Johnson picked up injuries.  This is getting very tough.  At least there is no Europa League to worry about. However, with the table this tight and now 6 dropped points in a row, every match from here out is extremely important.

Some thoughts:

-This match was like an out of control Merseyside Derby, minus any atmosphere from the blue side.

-How pathetic was it that Mourinho had to get the crowd cheering at the end of the match? Big match, beating a title contending rival and there was still no atmosphere.  I am so glad I am not a Chelsea fan, I would be embarrassed.

-Once again, I'm not blaming Mignolet at all.  He had to stay rooted as he had no idea if or how much contact Eto'o would make.  He was in a keeper's no man's land.  Sure, he got a hand to it, but the ball bounced up off the turf or it would have been saved.  Another tough, marginally lucky, goal against the Reds.

-Liverpool lost the battle of the midfields.  Chelsea seemed content to jam the ball through the center of the pitch and it worked quite well.

-Chelsea did well to smother Suarez.  The problem was that no one else could take advantage of the defenders he was drawing.  This is where Sturridge usually shines.

-It felt like every bounce, call and any other intangible went against Liverpool.  It just wasn't their day.

-The standard for what is and isn't foul depending on whether it is or isn't in the box is getting out of control.  Suarez had a decent claim for a penalty after being clobbered by the most despicable human on earth, John Terry, and after being very intentionally taken out by Eto'o while pursing the ball.

-Yes, I realize that I, a Liverpool fan, wrote that last bullet and that we, Liverpool, have Martin Skrtel on our team.  I'm all for clamping down, he drives me crazy.

-Webb completely botched Oscar's horror tackle at the end of the game.  I would have been fine if Lucas had kicked him square in the head after that.  The ban would have been worth sending a message since we can no longer rely on The FA or referee's to do so.

-Pretty much every top team now has to come Anfield in the second half of the season other than a trip to Old Trafford.

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