Need someone to score? Luis Suarez is pretty much the only option for Liverpool this season. Need to take out the other team’s captain, by mistake? The Uruguayan is your man. Brendan Rodgers has plenty of tactics and ideas in his head, but 99% of the good things that happen for Liverpool begin or end with Suarez.
It was half-sad in the first half. Liverpool’s 5-3-2 or whatever you’d like to call it simply made no effort in supporting Suarez up front. Him against the world, while the midfield trio of Gerrard-Allen-Sahin got lost in the woods of Chelsea players venturing forward. No effort in trying to attack or score, even after they went 0-1 down after poor coverage on a corner kick. Just going through the motions, hoping Chelsea get tired.
Suarez was pushed from behind by Ramires, sliding into John Terry, leading to the scorer of the opener and the Chelsea captain, making his comeback from suspension a short one. The wind that was blowing at the Chelsea sails weakened, and Liverpool, slowly and gradually, took over the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers loves starting with Raheem Sterling on the left, or as a pseudo striker, instead of using him where he is at his most effective, on the right wing. When there’s enough support coming from behind, it wouldn’t be such a disaster of a choice, but against Chelsea Sterling looked lost for over 60 minutes, until Rodgers decided to throw in Suso for the disappointing Nuri Sahin, providing no real class to the offense or physicality to the defense.
Suso’s entrance finally gave Liverpool some width. Steven Gerrard stopped playing so close to Joe Allen and suddenly saw targets to thread passes to, as Sterling moved to the right, where he should have been all along; Suso created another passing option on the left while venturing into the middle so Jose Enrique or Glen Johnson made their way on the flank.
Most importantly, Chelsea had to focus on more than just Luis Suarez. No wonder he was completely open to score the equalizer, and wasn’t far from clinching a fifth consecutive league win against Chelsea as he broke free from a failed offside trap, only to be thwarted by Petr Cech.
Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin, up until now, are a failure. It seems they both are playing out of position and are unable to really show the best of their skills and effect the match significantly outside a random minute here and there. While Joe Allen is playing a defensive midfield role he isn’t suited for physically, Nuri Sahin just looks lost on the pitch, as somewhat of a wide central midfielder who is hardly involved and doesn’t do enough to get the ball back once he passes it onward.
Many say the problem is Steven Gerrard and his presence, not really close to his form from years past. But you need to consider the other options before sending a legend to the bench. Shelvey, while probably a bit more attacking these days than Gerrard, doesn’t have the passing ability or the defending ability that Gerrard possesses, and Rodgers believes passing skills are the most important thing at the moment, although the team was busy defending and chasing midfielders for most of the match.
No more sliding, the team seems stabilized. Now it’s time for whatever Rodgers has envisioned for the club to come to life. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t one striker carrying everyone on his back.