Monday, September 18, 2006

A Moment Of Brilliance Was The Difference

And Liverpool Rues Missed Chances

English Premiership

Chelsea 1 - 0 LIVERPOOL

CHE - Drogba (41min)

Liverpool's title credential were questioned once again after yet another defeat at the hands of Chelsea, the team that's unbeaten at Stamford Bridge since Jose Mourinho's reign. Chances were presented to Liverpool on several occasions, but Gerrard, Kuyt and Crouch failed to capitalise and now, the Reds really HAVE to buck up before it is too late. As of now, ManYoo's defaeat by Arsenal at Old Trafford might bring a little good news to the Liverpool fans, but we're still 8 points adrift and already playing the catching game 4 games into the new season.

Only a month into the new season and it's already the second meeting between the two English giants. Previous encounter in the FA Community Shield proved that the Reds are capable of thwarting the Blues' dominance in domestic front, but the psychology edge was an advantage for Chelsea, as they've made Stamford Bridge a fortress of their own and seldom, teams get out of there alive. Liverpool were the latest victim, albeit a little unlucky and wasteful.

The encounter bursted into life when Chelsea nearly got the first goal from a goal mouth scramble, only for a brave clearance from Daniel Agger to deny them. Chelsea soon took control of the game but found it hard to carve the Liverpool defence open.

Instead, it was Liverpool who found themselves in a great chance to take the lead. Dirk Kuyt was played onside by Khalid Boularouz and with only Petr Cech to beat, he slammed the ball venomously onto the crossbar. Everyone knew it was a great chance and should've taken it.

Soon the game started to settle down a bit and the pace of the game slowed down. Chances were few and far between, but a moment of magic from Ivorian striker, Dider Drogba made Liverpool pay for their slack marking.

Chesting down a ball from the right wing, he was able to shrug off Carragher before turning and half volleyed the ball past the hapless and stranded Jose Reina. Chelsea took the lead and it was just before half time.

To be honest, the second half was poor. But of course this game wouldn't be interesting without controversies. Michael Ballack was sent off for 'violent conduct' by Mike Riley, whom I think did not have a good game and did not help the game to flow with his constant whistling.

Apparently, Ballack stamped on Sissoko's ankle after a tangle and Riley deemed it a straight red. Watching the replay, I have to say he gave the referee no options but to do it due to the dangerous nature of that challenge. Accidental or not, I really can't tell, but that decision certainly made Liverpool believe once again, that they can come back from the dead.

Then Liverpool nearly capitalised on the one man advantage, with Gerrard caught Boularouz cold before taking the ball off him and with only Cech to beat, Gerrard slammed the ball into Cech and another chance gone. It wasn't the best from Gerrard and many expected that to go in, but sadly, it just didn't. And Gerrard will now continue on without a goal and lady luck must be smiling elsewhere.

Near the end, Crouch had a great chance to equalise, but once again his header was without any power and straight at Cech, who was beaten by him in August, from a header. The last few minutes were frentic stuff, as Liverpool bombed forward and Chelsea defending with 10 men, but Chelsea held on for a win.


Drogballs' Post Match Comments:

I'm not disappointed by that performance from the Reds, but the disability to finish teams off, even with a fair number of chances. We knew we could've got something out of this game, and I believe we SHOULD have, but yet again, it's the scoring problem. Who'll get the goals? It's really not the time to start saying 'Kuyt is sh*t and Bellamy is useless', but the strikers know that they really need to kick in the gear before its too late. Remember Crouch? He took a LONG while to score and by then, the title was almost over for us.

Kuyt was very hardworking. I appreciated the hard work and the way he could hold up the ball with Carvalho and Makalele behind his back. But I wonder if he's trying just a little too hard and too enthusiastic. I'm not saying that a player shouldn't be hardworking, but running around like a headless chicken wasting energy isn't gonna help. Bellamy meanwhile looked subdued and was annonymous throughout, with the exception of a couple of good runs. But he has to watch his positioning and tactical awareness, because he's caught offside FAR too many times.

Pennant meanwhile, I thought was pretty poor. He did deliver a few good crosses, but loses possesion in midfield far too much and I thought Luis Garcia would've been a better option, and not forgetting his goals against Chelsea in recent times. Alonso and Sissoko were alright while Gerrard was pretty much a padestrian, but needing to help out in defence more than going forward. Shafted out wide to the left must be awkward for the skipper, as he looked a little lost but later got better when he's drifted inwards to the middle.

But take heart my fellow Reds supporter, it isn't the end of the world. People might write us off already, but tell you what, if we're able to get back from 3-0 down, there's nothing impossible, more so in football. We might be having a terrible start to the season, but always remember that there is still a long way to go. I can't predict how the remaining race is gonna be set out, but let's have faith and believe.

I'm pleased by the defence, much improvement from that one we saw against Everton. They stopped Chelsea pretty well and did well to limit the chances Chelsea create. The goal was a moment of magic and brilliance, and that's football. Our strikers showed some good touches as well, good movement and it's a pity they didn't click earlier than we expect them to. Give them a couple more games and when the team starts to gel, we might be able to see some good football.

You know, don't be disappointed my friends. This is what you get for following a team, through rain or shine, through thick and thin. Don't give up on them. There'll always be disappointments, but always remind yourself of the good times. Going through a tough time like this (as a fan) will make you appreciate them more the next time.

Come on Reds, we're down, but never out. YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE!


LadyLala said...

well said, well said. we win some, we lose some. losing a few makes each win even more precious and sweeter.

just can't wait till those winning times and happy moments come back again...

Drogballs said...

Haha they will la, don't worry. :)

Emma said...

Wow! They shook hands!

Liverpool really need to take off. Really.

Drogballs said...

They should've take off from the first game of the season. Oh well, still there's time and everyone needs to understand we have lots of new players in the squad and it'll take time for the squad to settle down.