That's how you start a Super Bowl Sunday.
How was Maxi Rodriguez allowed to stay on the pitch for 75 minutes?
Ok, now that's out of the way, what a brilliant performance from our men in red today. I wasn't around, or at least not a supporter (I was alive, being an awkward child) for Dalglish's first go-around as our manager, but watching this I wonder how he wasn't chosen to begin with. Then again, one could make the argument all he had to do was kind of get out of the way and let Chelsea employ a system they've failed with before and let them do so again. The one thing I've gotten right in months (in anything, really) was that Anelka was miscast as an in-the-hole player, Chelsea would be far too narrow, and Lucas would pretty much run the show in there as Obi Mikel flapped around, Frank Lampard dreamed of the postgame buffet, and Essien tried to make up for it all.
I didn't get right Liverpool's formation, as Dalglish went back to the three central defenders, swapping Gerrard to Aurelio's role against Stoke and moving Maxi up farther. Or maybe Rodriguez just wanders aimlessly around the pitch as if on quaaludes and the other nine outfield players have come to accept this and just fill in where they need to. Nothing would surprise me. Either way, Ashley Cole and Bosingwa were blunted, and so was Chelsea's attack. They looked like they ran out of ideas by about the half hour mark. From there, it was diagonal crosses launched from just inside the halfway line. Pepe Reina would have been more under threat from a team of Mini Ditkas.
-Once again, Gerrard spent too much time near the center circle, but as he's wont to do he came up with the moment of inspiration to pull his team through. It was obvious Cech and his defense weren't on the same page, and The Captain hung up a cross that no one could deal with. Speaking of which, though it looked like a tap-in at first Meireles's finish was class. He was running away from goal, on his off-foot, under pressure, and he buried it. Hodgson's one gift.
-Do I ever have to see Maxi again?
-I saw some discussion on my Lucas post from Friday about how good he is. I don't think he's anything close to a world class midfielder, but I used to genuinely cough up stomach acid when he was first a regular. But he's grown every game, and he even put away his persistent fouling that used to mark his game. He's relishing being the quarterback for this side, and watching a player overcome his own supporters' doubts and now become one of their favorites is one of the more enjoyable things to watch.
-I didn't think Carragher could slot in straight away against Chelsae, but here we are. Then again, as toothless as Chelsea were, this amounted to little more than a run out in the park.
-How close was Martin Kelly to a call up for next week's friendly? And barring injury, must be a lock for one of the qualifiers, right?
-Kuyt wasn't as effective as he was against Stoke, but he did his job well enough. I don't think Suarez is cut out to be a lone striker in a game like this, so I wasn't upset that he didn't get a game today. His time is coming very soon.
-There was a time when Frank Lampard did something. I remember seeing it. But I did a lot of drugs back then. No free kicks to bank off someone today, I guess.
-Torres looks ridiculous in blue, and has thrown the entire team for a loop. I have to believe that either Drogba is going in the summer or they're going to go out and find a genuine creative midfielder guy, like Wesley Sneijder, because this won't work with Anelka or Malouda or whatever other joker they have on the squad now.
-The one thing Chelsea did get right was to not let Agger play the ball as freely as Stoke did. There were a few more hoofed punts up the pitch, but I'll live with it.
-It's only six points to fourth spot. A longshot no doubt, but Man City or Spurs or, dare to dream, Chelsea are capable of such goofy results. Both City and Spurs have to come to a reborn Anfield as well. Not counting on it, but it certainly makes every game worth watching. What I do know as fact is it's so much fun to be a Red again.