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Liverpool Display Heroic Performance In Surprise Win Against Chelsea

 Liverpool Display Heroic Performance In Surprise Win Against Chelsea

All across England and around the world, journalists and bloggers are writing about how Fernando Torres was the deciding factor in Liverpool’s game against Chelsea on Sunday. The man who scored two world-class goals. The man who is back in top form. And so on. But rather than focus on Torres, who is well-deserving of the praise, I want to focus instead on the other ten players on the pitch and their manager, all of whom did a heroic job at Anfield to help guarantee Liverpool’s biggest win of the season thus far.

My man of the match Sunday was Lucas Leiva, the much criticized defensive midfielder who had a scintillating game. His performance personified what Liverpool was all about against Chelsea. The biggest differences between the two teams were that Liverpool fought for every fifty fifty ball as well as the desperation they showed in defending, even throwing their body at the ball at times. Leiva was a key factor why Chelsea was overpowered in midfield especially during the first half. In the second half, Chelsea pushed forward much more but they still had a difficult time getting past Leiva who seemed to be everywhere.

Picking Leiva as man of the match was no easy feat. Several Liverpool players deserved the honors. Torres was clinical with the two chances he had. And both goals we’ve seen from him plenty of times in the past. He was in the perfect position to score from both and he definitely didn’t disappoint.

Elsewhere, Jamie Carragher had a sterling performance as he constantly was barking out orders and defending heroically against a dangerous Chelsea side. Up front, Dirk Kuyt was crucial in the way he played off Torres. The Dutchman placed a beautiful pass for Torres’s first goal. But throughout the match Kuyt was a key influence, battling for the ball and dropping back into midfield when necessary.

Other highlights for Liverpool include:

  • Martin Kelly, who had a wonderful match as right back and did a fantastic job of limiting Ashley Cole’s runs and crosses in the first half. Kelly almost scored in the first half too if it wasn’t for John Terry who blocked his shot.
  • Maxi Rodriguez, while he didn’t score, was a constant threat for Chelsea. He had a few shots, all of which were on target, but were saved by Chelsea’s Petr Cech.
  • Pepe Reina was quite fortunate with a late second half strike by Nicolas Anelka that hit Reina and then hit the crossbar. But despite a little bit of good fortune, Reina saved well from a point blank shot from Malouda and also saved a Yuri Zhirkov shot that was Chelsea’s best chance of the match to score, up until that point.
  • Raul Meireles served up a delightful pass to Torres to lead to his second goal. But Meireles was another player who was so involved in the match against Chelsea.

To be fair, there wasn’t a single Liverpool player Sunday who had a bad match. Even David N’Gog who came on as a substitute in the 87th minute had a chance to contribute. He was fouled in the 90th minute when Alex’s head hit the player instead of the ball. With Alex being the last man back, the referee should have red carded Alex instead of showing him a yellow card. Just as Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny got red carded for bringing down a Newcastle United player Sunday in a similar distance from goal, so too should Alex have been sent off.

As for Chelsea, Carlos Ancelotti made several mistakes at Anfield which cost him the game. Why on earth he didn’t start Drogba and Bosingwa, I have no idea. Both men made a crucial impact for Chelsea when they came on in the second half. Also, during the first half Chelsea continued to play long balls forward. The strategy didn’t work because neither Anelka nor Kalou could do anything with the balls. Liverpool kept on clearing them with ease which limited Chelsea’s chances in the first half to a very small number.

From the 60th to the 70th minute of the match, it was all Chelsea as they began to create chance after chance. All Liverpool could do during this spell of the match was to boot the ball away and hope for a few seconds of relief before Chelsea mounted another attack. Luckily for Liverpool, Chelsea was unable to capitalize on their chances and then Liverpool was able to push forward late in the match to give their defenders a little bit of a relief.

Overall, this was a gutsy and heroic performance by Liverpool and one that should convince some Liverpool supporters to believe more in Roy Hodgson and his team. Liverpool now has the confidence and desire back in the team to pull off famous victories like this one. The hard work is ahead of them, but the challenge for them will be to put in performances like this against lesser opposition. That will be the true rest for the remainder of the season.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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27 Responses to Liverpool Display Heroic Performance In Surprise Win Against Chelsea

  1. Liam says:

    Couldn’t agree more with what you said about Lucas today. I thought he was absolutely outstanding. Today he shown everyone just how much potential he has.

    • DEAC says:

      I have been a critic of Lucas for a long time. Sunday was the day he became more than a figment of Rafa’s imagination. Lucas was tremendous. One mistake in 90 minutes, I counted.

  2. Nick says:

    Drogba didn’t start because he was ill last night. (per Ancelotti in his pre-game interview)

    • The Gaffer says:

      Thanks Nick. Wasn’t aware of that. Fox, here in America, gave us about a 15 second preview before the match started and didn’t explain why Drogba had been benched.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • brn442 says:

        I wonder if the those “sack the Roy” teenagers have an opinion now.

        All’s not well at Anfield but well done. Gaffer, spot on with Lucas / Kuyt. Maxi is finally making himself relevant the last couple of Matches.

        Gaffer, I’m a bit disappointed that a man of your footballing knowledge would think for second that Drogba wouldn’t start for anything other than his fitness – lol, but your point about Fox’s match day production (compared to to ESPN’S) is well taken – The gap in quality widens every week.

        • spenghali says:

          Yes, FSC did not even show the lineups before the match started. I think there were time constraints from the Rome derby they aired right before. Perhaps the 5 minutes of stoppage and a longer than usual halftime break contributed to the lack of pregame coverage for Liverpool vs. Chelsea.

        • soonerscotty says:

          Still don’t think Roy’s the man for the job.

          Hodgson for England!

  3. Sacto Blues says:

    Lucas hacked and hacked and Howard Webb allowed it nothing more or less. Torres or Reina was MOTM or better yet Howard Webb.

    • Raatzie says:

      Incredible comment considering “thou shalt not card Terry” apparently is the newest law of the game.

      • Sacto Blues says:

        First off Liverpool won no question but I would of liked Webb to be consistent on both sides of the pitch. If Webb is going to allow liverpool to foul and hack and not reward Lucas for flopping. Liverpool won and deserved the 3 points

        • Up the Chels! says:

          Fair play to Liverpool for beating my Blues today. Liverpool fully deserved the three points. However, Chelsea were hard done by Webb in the inconsistency of his reffing. How Leiva didn’t get a yellow at some point during the match is beyond me with the hack-job he did in mid-field.

  4. Red20 says:

    I think you’re dead on about Lucas. He was huge today. Obviously Torres is gonna take all the headlines (so awesome to see him like that again) but Lucas was the engine today.

  5. dominjon says:

    I said to give Roy three EPL matches to show an improvement, and to be fair to him, he got three wins, so good job. Seeing the system Liverpool are setting up, I still say he is gone, but he probably has until the end of trhe season. And of course if he wins a cup or gets a top 4 finish he will get another season.
    Also, Lucas was awful earlier in the season, but he was MoM for me today.
    Also, Roy is famed for not being the most youth orientated of coaches, so you have to give him credit for ending a game of that magnitude with Shelvey, Kelly, Spearing and Ngog on the field.
    Now there are a run of midtable type opponents, Liverpool have to maintain focus and not throw away the chance they have been given considering how many points other contenders for the top 4 have dropped.

  6. Clampdown says:

    I am one of those who generally thinks Lucas is not good enough to play for Liverpool. But today, he was incredible. Torres was classic Torres. And even Maxi has looked like he belongs the last couple of matches.

    It is very odd to think Liverpool and Tottenham are level on points after 11 matches. So many of us have enjoyed watching Spurs this season, while those of us who are Liverpool fans have fretted over their performances and results. Perception is a funny thing sometimes.

    • Justin B says:

      Not to insult your intelligence but if you like Lucas isn’t worthy of a Liverpool starting role either you don’t know anything about football or you just don’t ever watch Liverpool play. He has been MoM for our last 4 outings and had shown consistently he is the hardest working, most consistent performance in our team that has struggled to find form.

      He belongs at Liverpool and would certainly do a job in the best midfields in the world.

      • Clampdown says:

        Well, thanks for the insult, son. But, I’ve been following the club for a very long time and watch them just about every week. Lucas is usually an ineffective, anonymous player. Plenty of fellow Liverpool supporters believe the same. Yes, he does work hard. He also rarely passes the ball forward or for more than 8 yards. He did it yesterday while defending brilliantly.

        You know, it is possible to have a difference of opinion without suggesting the other person doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

        • Patrico says:

          Agree with Clampdown, but I would go farther. Even after this match, where Lucas admittedly played very well, and even though I love Lucas’ body language, I still think Liverpool need to upgrade him. He doesn’t create enough opportunities going forward.

          Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez also lack creativity, and there’s little speed on the wings. This is why Liverpool struggle despite two world-class players upfront, a solid defense, and a great keeper.

          A couple of nice games shouldn’t make everyone forget the realities — this is a team that could win trophies with maybe 2 upgrades in midfield, yet they have no shot at CL this season.

  7. Gaz Hunt says:

    Most importantly, this shows the critics what a Roy Hodgeson, Liverpool side is capable of.

    With Roy in charge we’ll always be solid and organized defensively but he needs to continue to push the attacking style we saw today in future games (and not revert to sitting back as we did in a few previous fixtures). Today, Liverpool players got their heads up and found the cutting pass instead of spending half the match going backwards.

  8. Casey G. says:

    I was almost in tears after the game, seeing how proud I was of Lucas’ performance in the game, after much maligned criticism (warranted and unwarranted) in the past, he really showed his true potential today, and its soo hard NOT to root for him because he’s such a nice guy and has such a classy attitude, i hope Hodgson sees that he deserves his place in the starting 11 over Poulsen.

  9. john sexton says:

    you people are deluded!! after the 1st good performance this season and after all what has happened so far with hodgson, has been completely forgetten, after everything he has done!

    blackburn and napoli (dont care were there coming in serie a) were both sub standard sides playing at home (these should always be garented 3 points), bolton we played shit in the 1st half and played ok in the 2nd half and were very lucky to win in the end and could of easily lost if things went differently, and after the only proper performance THIS SEASON all be it a great win, really we just an excellent 1st half and went back to our negative anti football ways in the 2nd half, all of a sudden things are all great again? the only real reason why that performance happened was because we have some excellent players in our side which are prmiership winning quality.

    every fool who is praising hodgson will be eating there words at the end of the season when liverpool miss out on champions league football by 10-20 points. also dont care if lucas plyed well in the last few games he is still useless as seen in the last 80. the only people who want him at liverpool who arent blind, are fans from other clubs.

    funny how are rivals for champions league football man city are already 5 points ahead of us and there probabley going to sack there manager for such a poor start to the season, and YET were talking about how liverpool are on a roll with hodgson. head wrecking!!

    • soonerscotty says:

      Finally, someone is talking sense!

      Hodgson for England!

      • Gaz Hunt says:

        Again, you two keep on watching and don’t be afraid at any point to jump on the bandwagon a little late and decide to get behind the club you support. :)

        • soonerscotty says:

          I’ve always been behind the club…it’s the man I’m not behind.

          I could be wrong and I’ll admit if I end up being wrong but, I just don’t think Roy is the man for this job. His 35 year record speaks for itself.

          I’ll always back the club and the lads…but, Roy has to prove it to me and he has a long, long way to go.

          YNWA…Hodgson for England!!

  10. john sexton says:

    you people are deluded!! after the 1st good performance this season and after all what has happened so far with hodgson, has been completely forgotten, after everything he has done!!

    blackburn and napoli (dont care were there coming in serie a) were both substandard sides playing at home (these should always be garneted 3 points), bolton we played shit in the 1st half and played ok in the 2nd half and were very lucky to win in the end and could of easily lost if things went differently, and after the only proper performance THIS SEASON all be it a great win, really we just an excellent 1st half and went back to our negative anti football ways in the 2nd half, all of a sudden things are all great again? the only real reason why that performance happened was because we have some excellent players in our side which are premiership winning quality.

    every fool who is praising hodgson will be eating there words at the end of the season when liverpool miss out on champions league football by 10-20 points. also dont care if lucas played well in the last few games he is still useless as seen in the last 80. the only people who want him at liverpool, who arent blind, are fans from other clubs.

    funny how are rivals for champions league football man city are already 5 points ahead of us and there probably going to sack there manager for such a poor start to the season, and YET were talking about how liverpool are on a roll with hodgson. head wrecking!!

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