27 April 2014

Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea

Ba 45+3'
Willian 90+4'

As if you ever needed more evidence that there is no justice in this universe. Once again, it's always the hope that kills you.

Today was Mourinho's Big Book of Crimes Against Football, chapter by chapter. Time-wasting, bus parking, taking the ball to the corner flag in attack, sly kicks at ankles after the play's gone. So much time-wasting. Time-wasting that'd make Tony Pulis blush.

It blunted Liverpool from the opening whistle to the final whistle, denying Liverpool the fast start that'd seen them win an unbelievable 11 consecutive matches. Liverpool had two early chances – one through Sterling and Suarez's brilliance, one from a set play – but Chelsea did incredibly well to take any steam out of Liverpool's early threat. Because that's what Mourinho's Chelsea does. Three of Chelsea's four defenders aren't regulars, one was making his league debut, but they defended as well as any Chelsea side I'd seen this season, aided by both Matic and Mikel camped just in front of them. And every other Chelsea player other than Ba camped in the defensive third as well.

And, of course, that time-wasting indirectly led to Chelsea's goal. In the third minute of first half added time, Gerrard – of all people, because the universe wants to punch Liverpool in the stomach as hard as it can – slips under no pressure. Ba through on goal, and coolly sliding it between Mignolet's legs with both Liverpool center-backs unable to recover. Insert all your "THIS DOES NOT FUCKING SLIP" jokes here. Hilarious. I'm gonna die laughing. Or just die.

45 minutes to get it back. Sturridge, not fit enough to start, and evidently barely fit enough for the bench, brought on in the 58th minute. But despite those 45 minutes of unceasing Liverpool pressure, Chelsea hung on. They're the last side you want to chase a lead against, even with a "weakened" side full of 11 internationals (even if one of those internationals, Kalas, was making his league debut). At times, it felt like Chelsea had 12, 13, 14 defenders. Credit where due and all that. Ugh. Mourinho's gonna Mourinho, and that's why he Mourinhos.

It's fruitless to list all the Liverpool chances against the blue wall in the second half. There were tons of them – 78.2% possession leading to 17 shots in those 45 minutes – but it's also worth noting that 15 of those 17 shots came from outside the box, 21 of Liverpool's 26 shots in total from outside the box. That's 81%. That's more than I've ever seen, at least from Liverpool. And eight of those second half shots, seven from outside the box, came from Steven Gerrard, which seems like more open play shots than he's had all season, furiously trying to make amends for the mistake that lost Liverpool the match, visions of Olympiakos and West Ham dancing through his head. But failing to make amends.

And it ended not with a bang but a whimper, Liverpool almost wholly unable to create anything in the final 10 minutes, except a blast from Suarez following a corner that shouldn't have been, sent too close to Mark Schwarzer. That Chelsea would rub salt, all the salt, in the wounds with a counter-attacking goal – again, in the last minute of time added because of their time-wasting – was inevitable. At least it was Willian, not Torres, with both put through on goal with every Liverpool player forward in search of the goal that just wouldn't come. I guess. Makes it approximately 2% less painful.

It's almost fitting that this is what often doomed Liverpool's title hopes under Benitez: an inability to break down sides that do nothing but pack the defense. This time it happened against Chelsea, rather than the Stoke, West Ham, or Wigans of the world.

But Liverpool's title hopes aren't doomed just yet. Yes, it's not in Liverpool's hands anymore. But it's a setback, not a death knell. Both Liverpool and Manchester City can earn a maximum of 86 points. City are currently +6 on goal difference, prior to kickoff against Crystal Palace, a number that'll be hard to overcome. But Liverpool have the points on the board; City still need to win four in a row. Liverpool *just* two.

How Liverpool respond to its first league loss in 2014 will still going a long way in deciding whether Liverpool can finally break this 24-year title drought.


SIVVA said...

This match just proved Mourinho is a genius and Brendan got much to learn .

nate said...

Drugs. You're obviously on them.

Anonymous said...

Mourinho is the expert at turning 50-50 games to 51-49 games. Mourinho is a genius and his track record shows it. I was disappointed that we resorted to long shots which don't trouble a top class keeper or any remotely good keeper (without a deflection). Not sure why Aspas was taking corners. All Chelski did today was put Man City back into the title race, they won't win it themselves. We just need to kick on but that's easier said than done given the mental exhaustion of a title race. Finally you have to admire Chelski concentration and shape (we only seem to make physical errors which Brendan says he cannot coach players out of). Totally gutted

Biggestfandownunder said...

A comment like that just bugs me.

A guy like Pulis could do what Mourinho does with topclass players available. Basically six at the back and three DMs. That's not football, that's Stoke in Armani.

Sad day for football really. Come on, Redmen.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the Aspas cameo? That's ok, I'd like to forget it too. And now we have to root for Everton and/or Big Sam down the stretch?? I feel dirty. A win vs. Pulis team would help alleviate the stench, however. We Go Again.

SIVVA said...


Anonymous said...

Incredibly frustrated today, a 0-0score would have suited us, we didn't need to push forward. Sakho to Gerrard in the middle, mis-controlled by Stevie, Toure to a West Brom forward, we've lived by passing football but we've also died from it today. Did you see Chelski play the ball from the back. Although we have been so attractive and played wonderful attacking football on a day like today i would have taken the 0-0 draw at half time and just belted it forward.

PS Aspas gave the ball away twice and did nothing, Daniel Sturridge also did nothing but cannot blame him because of the injury.

PPS Isn't the Everton Man City game at Main Road / Etihad?

Still totally gutted.

nate said...


In the heat of the moment, that was probably meaner than I should have been, but today's result not down to Rodgers in the slightest. It wasn't naive to try to play the type of football that'd gotten Liverpool 11 consecutive wins. The players just didn't do it anywhere near well enough today.

And I'd never, ever want the sort of football Mourinho puts out at Anfield. That's not genius. That's the sort of thing that makes people hate this sport.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Liverpool was Mourinho's first choice club to go to and manage? Yeah that was a thing once.

When Sid Lowe was writing about Spain's World Cup winning side and Guardiola's Barcelona he often put in the point that the teams felt there was no need for a plan B, just better execution of plan A.

Most teams in football aren't stupid, in Europe and in the league I can see Mourinho's strategy being replicated a lot next season. And while Suarez can probably defeat the plan with a moment of genius against weaker teams I don't see the side having any other solution than distance shots if City or Chelsea, let alone a team like Real Madrid or Dortmund repeat the strategy.

Do you think there's any players Liverpool are looking at that can either elevate the current style of play or become a viable plan B under such a scenario? The end of today's game may have been influenced by Gerrard's mindset but even accounting for that the current group of players looked like they were just throwing stuff against the wall and hoping something stuck.

Anonymous said...

Mourinho has managed a team that has spent £293 mil in net transfer spending over the last 5 seasons and will end up in 3rd place and trophy less.

Rodgers has managed a team that has spent £82 mil over the last 5 seasons, finished last year in 7th place, and will take this years EPL title or finish 2nd.

That's coaching genius.

Mourinho has had 2 of the most expensive teams in world football over the last 2 seasons and will end up with nothing, again. Champions league this season it will either be another semifinal exit, or getting crushed in the final. Would like to see Ancelotti take Real to win La Decima while Madrid's fans get to serenade ole Mou Mou in a way that only they can and that he will fully deserve. Talk about Karma. That would be it's definition forever after.

Seeing Guardiola hand him his ass on a plate, AGAIN, wouldn't be too shabby neither.

SIVVA said...

I wrote Mourinho is a genius out of frustration and I just can't take this result.I am having terrible headache and just couldn't sleep the whole night.
And just for your info I would never watch Chelsea games except with our beloved Liverpool.
Also whenever Mourinho opens his big mouth,I would just mute my TV or change it to other channel.
I just hope Brendan and Liverpool will be more wiser from this encounter.
I am sorry Nate.

Anonymous said...

We got beat today because Chelsea executed their game plan better than we executed ours (plus an extra GBP100 million or 200 million spent by Chelski). We Liverpool also parked two buses under Benitez for the league cup run and in several champions league away games in both runs - Benitez like Mourinho use it as a tactical variation. Bear in mind Chelsea battered Arsenal six nil recently by aggressive pressing and counter attacking. Without Hazard and Oscar (who make Chelsea tick) it was the smartest thing Mourinho could do and he set the team up very well.

Our plan B was Aspas and an injured Sturridge and long range Stevie G shots on goal and Lucas and Allen trying their luck. This is because Chelsea denied us Plan A Sterling and Suarez time and space.

We need a better plan A and B.

Sorry to be rude but f--k off Chelsea FC, you ain't got no history (but you do have several billion pounds).

TomW said...

If City get 3 points at Everon, the title is theirs.

The only crumb of comfort is that Chelsea won;t win the title.

I'm distraught.

Anonymous said...

Can you see Newcastle (at the beach) playing against Arsenal today - if Arsenal win then they look favorites to take fourth giving no incentive for Everton to play