Liverpool kept getting pushed back during the second half, with Chelsea getting a second wind after Daniel Sturridge’s equalizer. Eventually, Glen Johnson, a player who’s defensive ablitiles cause heart attack all across Merseyside five times each match, came up with a brilliant piece of dribbling and gave Liverpool a 2-1 win, their third in four years when visiting Stamford Bridge.
Despite riding a six match unbeaten streak, Liverpool weren’t convincing anyone with their ability, especially at home. Away from home? A different story. The tight formation works well, especially against a team trying to attack, like Chelsea. Maxi Rodrigues, a forgotten man till now, opened the scoring after another display of Chelsea defensive softness. John Terry, David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic can’t scare anyone.
And still, the Liverpool midfield with Charlie Adam can’t control a match, can’t dominate. Jordan Henderson as a man in the middle seems like a better option, but for now, Dalglish prefers the Adam-Lucas pairing in the middle of the park. Not for long I suspect. For Chelsea, who suffered their third defeat in four matches, it’s more a matter of confidence than actual quality.
Didier Drogba is aggressive, but isn’t the player we knew from a year ago. The whole swagger this team used to hold, especially at home, is gone. AVB’s mini-revolution is hitting hurdle after hurdle, and if these losses continue to pile up, a season like Big Phil’s might be lurking after the winter. Hey, Guus Hiddink is going to be available very soon.
Back to the match – Liverpool didn’t show up for the first 30 minutes of the second half, and Chelsea had no choice but to take over the pitch. More Mata and especially Florent Malouda eventually got the home side the goal, with Daniel Sturridge left alone in the penalty box.
Chances came and went, but after Craig Bellamy left the field for Jordan Henderson, Liverpool looked much better. Luis Suarez, the best player for the Reds on a normal day, continued with struggling when NOT wearing a Uruguay shirt. An injury to his back made it even more difficult to leave an impression on the match. Still, a 60% of Suarez is enough to keep centre back busy for nearly 90 minutes. If only he wouldn’t be diving so much, he’d probably start getting calls for actual “small” fouls he has to deal with.
And then came Glen Johnson. Usually an error prone expensive right back who rarely dazzles with right wing dribbling came through this time, with flying colors. His right-left-right-left trickery put him deep in Cech territory, and his finish would have made every top rate striker proud.
Liverpool and Chelsea are both with 22 points now, 12 points behind Manchester City, 7 behind Manchester United. It’s far away from the Manchester Dictatorship, but a very tight race for the no.3 and no.4 spots, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham tied up.