Chelsea the Best Side in the World After Beating Lacklustre Liverpool
Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) saw another defence today as champions Liverpool took on former champions Chelsea at Anfield, in the Champions League quarterfinal.
After their last-gasp victory against Fulham on Saturday, Liverpool were going into this match in high spirits. They had performed excellently in their last four outings, including convincing wins against Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Aston Villa.
Chelsea had also been hitting some form, albeit a little less emphatically. They had lost just once in the ten games since Liverpool beat them at Anfield at the start of February.
There was to be no repeat of that 2-0 scoreline tonight, however, as Chelsea took advantage of a lacklustre Liverpool to take control of the tie.
The game started so well for the home side, with Fernando Torres tucking in Alvaro Arbeloa's cross after just six minutes. Four minutes earlier, Dirk Kuyt had had a chance of his own, but Branislav Ivanovic deflected it just wide.
It wasn't long before Guus Hiddink's promise of attacking football came to fruition, however, with Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda coming close. The action-packed first half continued soon after with Torres shooting just wide.
It was none of these big name strikers who got the next goal, however. Instead, it was Ivanovic, running in between a sea of red shirts, and rising highest to head beyond Pepe Reina.
While the replays were still showing the Chelsea defender's goal, Dirk Kuyt had a glorious chance to put Liverpool back ahead, only to be denied by a smart save by Petr Cech.
Liverpool didn't seem to be able to cope with Chelsea's attacking game as the second half started. They often gave the ball away in advanced positions, only for Chelsea to counter-attack, catching Liverpool short at the back.
This nearly cost them not long after the break, with Didier Drogba putting the ball past Reina, only to see Jamie Carragher perform his usual heroics in clearing the ball off the line.
It was from another corner that more problems came, however, as the zonal marking debate arose once more, as Ivanovic made another run which was not picked up by the Liverpool markers, and headed in an unlikely second of the match for the Chelsea defender.
Five minutes later and Liverpool's defence was caught short again, with Florent Malouda driving the ball in from out wide, inviting Drogba to convert from close range, an invitation he duly accepted.
Liverpool tried to get one back but couldn't break down Chelsea's organised defence, meaning they have a mountain to climb in the second leg. The 3-1 final score means that not even 2-0 at Stamford Bridge would be enough for Liverpool to go through.
The result means that Chelsea become the second team to have two UWCC title reigns to their name. After being awarded the title first time round, however, this is the first time they have won it outright.
Didier Drogba's goal made him the 50th different goalscorer in UWCC history, and the tenth different Chelsea player to have scored.
Liverpool's reign ends after just three defences of their crown, which means they now hold the two worst unbeaten runs in UWCC Champions history, with two and three respectively.
During their second reign, Liverpool secured nine points in their four matches (including the one in which they won the title), averaging 2.25 points per game. They proved their attacking prowess by netting 11 times in those four games, averaging 2.75 goals per game, more than any other champions so far.
They also conceded four times, including the three in today's match, meaning they averaged exactly one goal conceded per game.
Just eight per cent of voters in the poll plumped for Chelsea to win this match, so well done to the minority!
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea (Chelsea become new champions)
(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)
I suppose congratulations must be extended to the new champions, and I hope they enjoy their six day reign! Chelsea's first title defence comes on Saturday as they host Bolton in the Premier League. Can Bolton become the best side in the world?!
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