Liverpool vs. Chelsea: A Live Report of the "Game That Doesn't Matter"
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A win here for Liverpool means nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that they have added to their three consecutive wins (since November 7, 2011) in the Premier League against London-based Chelsea FC. It also means climbing the table back to eighth, over Fulham on goal differential.
A win for Chelsea means they will stay in sixth place, but within one point of grabbing fifth place and sending Liverpool packing on their already abysmal season.
Liverpool, as reported in the media for the past couple of days, suffered a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup. Although the outcome of this game doesn't mean anything in terms of winning—let's say, a domestic double—it stabilizes within the Reds players psychological and emotional equilibrium after the harsh but admittedly outplayed game on Saturday.
A win for the Reds might mean King Kenny has a glimmer of hope at Merseyside too.
Kickoff time: 21:00 GMT/3 PM ET
Liverpool Formation: 4-4-2
Defenders: Carragher (c), Agger, Skrtel, Johnson
Midfielders: Henderson, Maxi, Downing, Shelvey
Forwards: Suarez, Carroll
Substitutes: Doni, Coates, Kelly, Spearing, Sterling, Bellamy, Kuyt
Steven Gerrard and Jose Enrique are confirmed by Kenny Dalglish to be injured.
Chelsea Formation: 4-3-3
Defenders: Ferreira, Ivanovich, Terry (c), Bertrand
Midfielders: Essien, Romeu, Malouda
Forwards: Ramires, Torres, Sturridge
Substitutes: Hilario, Hutchhinson, Cole, Lampard, Mata, Kalou, Lukaku
The last time Liverpool won against Chelsea at home was on November 7, 2010, where two goals were scored in the first half by Fernando Torres (11th and 44th minute). Liverpool finished the 2010-11 season in sixth place, while Chelsea went on to place second. If Liverpool were to win tonight, they will be the third team (Blackburn and Charlton) to have won four consecutive league games against Chelsea.
The first half kicks off at Anfield with Chelsea going towards the Kop. Supporters are quite vocal. Chelsea are resting key players for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Standard Chartered gives Seeing is Believing the sponsorship spot for the match today for Liverpool.
Liverpool racking up the fouls—just one minute and 40 seconds in the match and there have been three.
Second minute: Andy Carroll fouls in the Chelsea box—free kick to Chelsea, Turnbull to take it. Finds the head of Carragher.
Third minute: Torres fouls Carragher from persistent hassling?
Shelvey kicks Malouda on the head, Carroll gets fouled on the other end by Ferreira. Tensions are high at Anfield. Free kick to Liverpool, Shelvey takes it but goes directly to a Chelsea defender.
Suarez misses in the seventh minute—nutmegs John Terry runs 10 yards towards goal but misses the target. He has—this season—created the most chances for the club, at 58.
Carroll connects with Suarez but the ball ends up out of bounds for a goal kick. The game is becoming physical and bitter.
Liverpool's No. 9 doing extremely well so far keeping the ball and heading it to teammates.
The men in red playing keep-ball from Chelsea. Downing finds Suarez, but loses the ball as he tries to turn towards goal.
Chelsea loses the ball in the 11th minute—Carrol does well to hold on to the ball and passes it out wide left.
Liverpool playing nice one-twos but Suarez misplaces a pass intended for Jordan Henderson, who is muscled out by Bertrand.
13th minute: Carragher called for hand ball—a soft foul, I must say.
14th minute: Ferreira gets a yellow for tripping up Suarez.
15th minute: Suarez beats the offside, manages to pass to Carroll who powers it over the crossbar. Daniel Sturridge attempts a shot but it is deflected by Martin Skrtel. Corner to Chelsea. It is headed towards goal from six yards out by Ivanovich but is outsmarted by post. Di Mattero holding his head out of incredulity. Liverpool counters but amounts to nothing. Suarez has hit the woodwork eight times this season—only Robin van Persie of Arsenal has hit it more, listed at 10.
GOAL, 19th minute: Luis Suarez with some amazing footwork and balance. Nutmegs John Terry for the second time. Own goal by Michael Essien. Suarez attempts a pass but hits Essien into the goal. Actually, on replay, it looked like Suarez meant to hit it towards the Ghanian for the own goal. Essien beats Turnbull to put Liverpool up 1-0.
John Terry gets a yellow—that's the second card of the game, both to Chelsea players.
Chelsea can't seem to cope with Carroll. He's been fouled twice in less than one minute.
22nd minute: Liverpool have a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Henderson to take it. Suarez gets the header but is unable to head it towards goal.
GOAL, 25th minute: Jordan Henderson scores from a fantastic break. John Terry slips and Herderson places the ball under Turnbull to make it 2-0. Liverpool dominating the pitch so far.
Momentum is with the Reds—they are applying pressure to the Chelsea back four. The Blues are simply just rattled.
GOAL, 29th minute: Liverpool scores from a Shelvey corner. Daniel Agger scores with a header. 3-0 Liverpool. Where is Chelsea right now?
Chelsea have let up 20 goals in the last 15 minutes of regulation (about 49 percent of allowed goals)—eight out of nine goals coming from under Roberto Di Matteo's managerial reign. Liverpool have scored three goals in under 30 minutes against them. Why couldn't the Reds play like this in the FA Cup?
The Blues seem afraid to venture forward. The Chelsea forwards finally manage to get towards Pepe Reina but the attack fizzles out for a Liverpool throw in.
31st minute: Maxi Rodriguez almost makes it four. Suarez passes a brilliant throughball in front of Maxi but Turnbull manages a save.
Carroll has won all of his aerial headers. Good for the lad to keep his confidence up.
John Terry is not playing well. In the 33rd minute, heads back thinking someone is behind him, but it's Carroll who takes it towards goal and manages to get it on target. Suarez pounces on the rebound but he is judged to be offsides.
34th minute: Torres hits the underside of the bar. The Kop loves that El Niño didn't score.
35th minute: Stewart Downing attempts a shot from the edge of the box but he is not on target. Liverpool's confidence at an all-time high. Shelvey mishandles the ball allowing for Chelsea to counter. The ball is kicked out of bounds by Agger for a corner kick. Malouda tries to serve the ball in again but goes out for a goal kick.
38th minute: Carroll tries a long range shot with his left foot, but it goes wide. He tries to nutmeg Ivanovich—something he picked up from training with Suarez.
41st minute: Downing tries a spectacular shot from the edge of the box—hits the crossbar from a volley. Would've made for a wonderful first league goal for Downing.
Liverpool has had seven shots on target compared to Chelsea's two.
Chelsea trying to exploit the pace of Sturridge and Bertrand against Carragher, but the ball has too much pace for Sturridge to collect.
Essien gets a yellow for a foul on Carroll. Essien lunges in behind Carroll—a cynical foul—as the Liverpool forward tries to pass to Suarez.
44th minute: Ferreira wins a foul against Maxi with a dive.
Torres looks frustrated as he's been kept out of the game by Carragher.
46th minute: Penalty to Liverpool. Carroll falls to ground from a challenge by Ivanovich. Looks like Carroll milked it from replays. Downing to take the penalty. Will this be his first league goal? Downing tries to slot it to his left, but hits the post. Carroll with the rebound but it goes wide. The Liverpool winger still hasn't scored in league game so far.
The first half ends Chelsea's 45-minute nightmare, the score at 3-0 at Anfield.
First Half Stats:
Essien's own goal means Newcastle United is the only team to not yet have scored an own goal this season.
Stewart Downing's penalty miss means Liverpool have hit the post a record 33 times this season.
Suarez has created four chances, Carroll with an assist, Maxi with an assist, Henderson with two, Carragher, Downing and Shelvey with one.
Liverpool have missed five penalties this season.
The first half ends with Liverpool having 59 percent of possession compared to Chelsea's 41. There have been a total of 14 attempts on goal, 12 coming from the Reds. Seven have been on target for Liverpool, two for Chelsea. Nine free kicks have been rewarded to Liverpool and 10 for Chelsea.
Turnbull has had to make three saves. Reina, surprisingly has had none.
The first half finished with Chelsea getting booked four times.
262 passes have been strung by the Reds, compared to 180 for the Blues (85 percent-81 percent passing accuracy).
The second half starts with Liverpool attacking the Kop end, as per tradition.
45th minute: Carroll wins his aerial header—that's 6-for-6 for the night. Shelvey fouls Sturridge, but looks like the Liverpool midfielder barely touched the forward.
47th minute: 7-for-7 for Carroll as he heads Downing's cross into the box, but no one can take advantage of the loose ball. Turnbull makes an easy save.
GOAL, 48th minute: Shelvey called for a foul on Ramires. A free kick rewarded in a dangerous area. Malouda to take it. The ball hits Ramires to make it 3-1 for Chelsea. The Brazilian looked like he had no idea what he had done. Will this inspire the Blues to a win?
The game being played at a very slow pace, very different than the first half.
51st minute: Martin Skrtel making a run up the pitch, dribbles past the Chelsea defenders. Shot on target but Turnbull saves. Carroll kicks the ball at Essien and the ball goes out for a corner.
Every time Torres touches the ball, the Kopites boo the Spaniard.
54th minute: Carroll wins the header (8-for-8) allowing Suarez to make a run. He gives the ball away in the Chelsea box.
Liverpool look less threatening this half.
55th minute: Carragher boots the ball for a Chelsea throw in. Michael Essien tries a shot from 27 yards out but it curves well away from the goal. Goalkick to Liverpool.
Chelsea becoming more and more comfortable on the ball as they are able to hold on to possession.
58th minute: Chelsea counterattack but they are unable to make anything of it.
GOAL, 60th minute: Jonjo Shelvey with a stunner. He takes a shot from 25 yards out from a poor Turnbull clearance. 4-1 Liverpool.
Liverpool playing like they have something to prove. This is the first time this season the Reds have scored four goals in a game.
62nd minute: Andy Carroll has definitely been proving himself tonight—runs for the ball even though it's going out of bounds, manages to get convert the potential goal kick to a Chelsea throw in.
64th minute: Carroll with an attempted overhead kick. Referee Kevin Friend calls foul on Liverpool. Nice try by the Liverpool forward.
65th minute: Jordan Henderson is booked for a tackle on Romeu.
Liverpool crowd calling for five goals.
67th minute: Chelsea substitutes Daniel Sturridge for Romelu Lukaku.
Carroll deserves a goal the way he's played tonight.
70th minute: Agger challenges Ramires and gets booked for it. Free kick to the away side. Skrtel heads the ball away for a Chelsea throw in.
72nd minute: Reina makes a brilliant save against Lukaku's header. Glen Johnson boots the ball out for a throw in. Reina kicks the post out of excitement.
73rd minute: Johnson feeds a brilliant ball from the right side of the pitch to Carroll, but the towering striker mishits the ball. Turnbull kicks the ball from a goal kick. Liverpool gain possession again and Carroll runs down the left side with the ball and finds the roof of the net. The Kop thought for a second that he had scored.
74th minute: Suarez is caught half-a-yard offsides.
75th minute: Torres is fouled 30 yards out from goal. Malouda to take the free kick and it is blocked by the Liverpool wall (Maxi and Henderson). The ball eventually goes out for a Liverpool throw in.
76th minute: Suarez and Ivanovich tussle for the ball. The Chelsea defender goes down quite dramatically holding his face and refuses to shakes Suarez's hand. Not the first time the Uruguayan had to deal with that.
Chelsea still on the back foot, Liverpool content with passing the ball around the pitch.
Liverpool have 10 shots on target, Chelsea with four.
79th minute: Downing with a clever and selfless pass to Suarez but the Liverpool No. 7 cannot control the ball. Ramires fouls Agger for a Liverpool free kick. Ivanovich looks frustrated. Suarez to take the free kick. The ball hits the Chelsea wall and out for a throw in.
81st minute: Torres goes down from a chest bump from behind by Skrtel. Chelsea have a free kick in a dangerous area. Essien looks like he will take the kick. The Chelsea midfielder boots it high into the stands for a goal kick.
82nd minute: Dirk Kuyt and Raheem Sterling will come on for Maxi Rodriguez and Stewart Downing, respectively.
83rd minute: What an introduction for Sterling—he beats two Chelsea defenders but hits the ball up and over the goal. Carroll is unbeatable in the air, setting up the pass for Sterling.
84th minute: Nice job by Carragher to prevent Bertrand from getting a cross in.
85th minute: Terry glances a header in from a Malouda corner but Skrtel is there to prevent the goal.
86th minute: Kevin Friend asking Shelvey to calm down. They've both had a great game.
87th minute: Ivanovich goes down as Suarez goes for the pass from Carroll.
88th minute: Henderson's shot gets deflected for a Liverpool corner. Suarez takes it, places it deep towards Shelvey. The shot is blocked.
89th minute: Nice link up between Kuyt and Suarez. Suarez hits the ball with the outside of his foot, curls it away from the goal. He deserves a goal, as does Carroll.
90th minute: Sterling runs down the left side and manages to find Suarez who wins a corner. Suarez takes it. Sterling flicks the corner into the box but Carroll is too far out. Agger misses what could have been the fifth goal from inside the six-yard box. Three minutes of injury time to play.
The game ends 4-1 against Chelsea, which means they've been able to win four consecutive league games against Chelsea.
Second Half Stats:
Liverpool had six shots at goal vs. Chelsea's four. The Reds and the Blues had two shots on goal apiece. Shelvey attempted 66 passes this game and scored once. Chelsea were awarded 12 free kicks in the second half while Liverpool had four. 32 fouls were committed this game, 19 of which were called on Liverpool and 13 for Chelsea.
The game ends with Liverpool maintaining over 50 percent of possession at 53 percent. They had 23 shots the entire game, six of which were on target. 459 passes were attempted, leaving Liverpool with an 83 percent accuracy rating.
Liverpool surely played as if this game meant a lot to them, unlike how initial reports claimed that they "[don't] seem to care about its lowly position in the standings." A fantastic game for the Reds and a fantastic result, but a game to forget for the Blues.
Liverpool plays Swansea away for their final game in the 2011-12 season. An Everton loss and a Liverpool win will ensure the Reds finishing above their inner-city rivals.
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