A comeback goal from John Terry signaled it would be a great day for Chelsea, but he was taken off the pitch shortly after from a collision. It was up to Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to pick up the slack and find the net, but they couldn’t and grew tired and ineffective as the match drew on, while the man who wanted to score more than everyone, Fernando Torres, was taken off goalless once more.
One of the few positives Chelsea can take away from the result was not losing to Liverpool in a league match after four consecutive defeats. Fernando Torres was involved in three of those losses, not scoring once against his former club, and couldn’t come up with the decisive touch once again.
Chelsea dominated the midfield and the match for about 60 minutes, before Liverpool made a tactical change that finally gave them some width and attacking intentions in the midfield, but even then Torres didn’t get too close. He had a couple of chances to make things right in the second half, but his touches were always too late, too soft, too inaccurate. It’s not just Liverpool that make him play like this. Despite the talented trio behind him and a promising start to the season, the Spaniard is failing at providing goals and much else.
Defensively, Chelsea looked confident for most of the match. Luis Suarez is always worth a goal in any match, against any defense. But John Terry leaving the pitch did kill a bit of confidence on the Chelsea side, who looked very close to seal the deal in the first half. Juan Mata had a fantastic chance shortly after Terry was taken off but wildly missed, and the momentum was gone. Chelsea looked more and more like a team settling and satisfied with a 1-0 win.
Once again it was hard to understand what Ramires does on the pitch. Central midfielder? Defensive midfielder? Winger? What was his role in the offense except making things tight in the middle of the pitch against a Liverpool trio struggling to produce the kind of passing Brendan Rodgers is looking for?
Don’t get me wrong, the middle of the pitch completely belonged to Chelsea for most of the match against the 5-3-1-1 Liverpool played that had no width in it, and players a tad confused by the changing tactics from match to match. This wasn’t a team that looked like it was actually planning on winning.
But Chelsea, despite all of the talent up front, get outclassed in almost every match, at least for certain stretches. The team just shut down in the final 25 minutes of the match and let their inferior opponents take over the match. If it wasn’t for Petr Cech with a brave rush out towards Luis Suarez and another save off a Jose Enrique shot, this would have been an embarrassing loss.
The aura of Premier League leaders is gone, as Chelsea fall to third in the Premier League, three points behind the leaders. Maybe this is more comfortable for Roberto Di Matteo, who simply isn’t an attacking kind of manager as his boss would like him to be. Slightly underdogs in the title race might be easier for them, at least mentally, instead of being considered big favorites in every match (including the Champions League) when this team, most of it at least, clearly isn’t up for the challenge.