A Fernando Torres brace at either end of the first half gave Liverpool a much needed 3 points as they enter an important week of Premier League football.
With a goal difference prior to the game of +28 better than Liverpool, and sitting 13 points ahead of the reds, Chelsea posed a major challenge. With Essien out and Drogba dropped to the bench the reds made the most of their first half opportunity and headed in to the break in the lead. The reds spent the majority of the second half defending but held on to their lead and could have snatched a late third goal.
Liverpool’s team was a surprise, with Johnson and Kyrgiakos both missing from the mid-week game against Napoli. Martin Kelly came in to right back, with Carragher returning to centre-back.
This Dirk Kuyt was back in the side and spent the first half playing up front alongside Torres.
The reds played attacking football in the first half – with the midfield constantly pushing forward, unlike the vast majority of Premier League games this season.
Lucas Leiva capped both halves of the game with an outstanding performance, dominating midfield, winning tackles and distributing the ball well to the rest of their team. Gerrard too seemed buoyed by his mid-week performance and continues to show a return to the form of 2008/09.
But it was Torres’ two goals that sealed the game for Liverpool.
The first, on 11 minutes, was from a fine Dirk Kuyt pass deep in to the penalty area, Torres cooly chipped the ball over the Chelsea keeper. The second, just on the stroke of half time – saw Meireles win back possession before breaking forward and passing to Nando. The Spaniard advanced slowly in to the box before curling the ball around Alex and past the motionless Cech in to the far corner.
The reds took their foot off the pedal in the second half, and tired as the half wore on. Chelsea went close but the combination of the crossbar and a Carragher tackle helped ensure the reds kept their clean sheet.
After a dismal start to the season today was another step forward in the right direction. The reds are 5 points off 4th, but also 5 points back from the relegation zone. With games against the 17th and 18th placed teams in the league ahead this week – today’s hard-work must not be undone by throwing away points in the next 6 days.
Liverpool move in to 9th place, one point ahead of Everton.