Monday, February 11, 2008

Stalemate At The Bridge

English Premiership

Chelsea 0 - 0 LIVERPOOL

The most predictable scoreline between the two had always been a goal less draw and yesterday's match proved to be yet another unsurprising one as Chelsea maintained their brilliant home record.

And Liverpool fell further behind the pack despite having played one less game.

Cliche as it sounds, familiarity certainly breeds contempt and it's a norm where Liverpool would play Chelsea in at least one of the cup ties and Rafa must be happy that at least his team didn't go down like they did in the League Cup tie.

All in all, it was a fair result at the end as both sides scuppered golden opportunities to take the lead. The game was as expected, tight and controlled, just like any of those between the 'Big Fours'. At times, it does look like a chess game, with Rafa and Avram Grant moving the pieces like chess masters.

Yet it was Liverpool who upped the tempo and looked most likely to score in the first period when Steven Gerrard's cross found Peter Crouch but he just couldn't conjure up enough power on the ball to beat Petr Cech.

It was one of the three chances that fell to him and the England striker failed to take advantage of it. Not very surprising, isn't it? Scoring has always been a problem for Liverpool, with strikers going on long goal droughts.

Adding fuel to fire, Fernando Torres was ruled out of this game because of a needless international friendly which he was involved in. With the top scorer out, the visitors were left with two profligate strikers, or was it one?

Dirk Kuyt has been pretty awful this season and he was utilised as a wing forward. He certainly needs to start scoring before the chopping knives are sharpened at the end of the season.

Second period of the game was played at a frenetic pace and the number of misplaced passes was horrid. At times, both teams looked like little school children, playing football for the very first time.

The midfield area was utterly congested with Liverpool deploying 3 central midfielders to negate Chelsea's tenacious midfield.

The referee too, was a fussy one as he didn't let the game flow and it turned into a really stop-start game. It was as though every nudge on the players were considered foul and though the game is supposed to be competitive by nature, Mike Riley was visibly being picky.

Chelsea, then, carved out a perfect opportunity but Michael Ballack wasn't able to get his shot on target.

It was a predictable end to a top of the table clash, especially for the Blues and the Reds. Chelsea failed to take advantage of the slip up by ManYoo earlier on after their defeat to Man City while Liverpool surely, out of the title race.

No comments: