How Liverpool Can Learn from Chelsea Lesson for Crystal Palace Test

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers takes to the touchline before his team's English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Sunday April 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Much of the talk following Chelsea's 2-0 defeat of Liverpool at Anfield last week has revolved around how Jose Mourinho "taught Brendan Rodgers a lesson."

There are, as ever, two sides to every argument. Yes, Chelsea and Mourinho's tactics clearly frustrated Liverpool and their success can be marked by the fact the Londoners left Merseyside with three points.

Jon Super/Associated Press

However, it can also be argued, without Steven Gerrard's mis-control and subsequent fall when attempting to rectify for his error, Liverpool would never have lost the game. So a mistake effectively gifted Mourinho's side the points and they got lucky.

Without that incident, Liverpool would have huffed and puffed 'til they blew the house down; either walking away with 0-0, or scoring a late winner. Either scenario would have left them with the title still in their own hands.

Alas, Gerrard did mis-control Mamadou Sakho's pass and Demba Ba did go on to show composure that many of the Liverpool players lacked as the game progressed. Such small margins can decide the biggest of games—and seasons.


Lesson Learned?

Let's be clear, Rodgers is a smart manager, he will analyse and learn from Sunday's match. That doesn't mean he will abandon his ideals and philosophy altogether, and nor should he, but he will learn from it.

“This game will prepare us for Crystal Palace,” he said post-match, as per The Liverpool Echo.

“We will have to deal with long balls forward and we will have to deal with long throw-ins.

“They will have lots of players behind the ball which we will be prepared for. But Chelsea set up how they set up and they won the game, so I’m sure they will go home happy on the bus.”

Jon Super/Associated Press

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, as ever, supplied a superb analysis of Liverpool's frustrations as the game progressed on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, showing how in certain situations players picked the wrong option.

This isn't something that Rodgers can control. I find it difficult to believe that Rodgers told Gerrard to "go out there, shoot as much as you can and atone for your error." No. Gerrard's nine shots were his own way of seeking redemption.


After giving the ball away Stevie really tried to make up for it. 9 shots today, most he's attempted since 3rd May 2009 (9 then too).

— AnfieldIndex (@AnfieldIndex) April 27, 2014


Similarly, when Glen Johnson opted to shoot into a mass of bodies from 30 yards rather than seek a more intelligent, probing bass into the box, this wasn't Rodgers' desire.

Liverpool allowed their frustrations to get the better of them but it's a lesson that Rodgers and the players will be keen to learn from and not repeat—beginning with the trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night.



Mentality has been a buzzword around Liverpool all season long, particularly as the campaign has progressed and the Reds will need to show it in abundance on Monday night—especially if Chelsea and Manchester City pick up victories before then, which would see Rodgers' side go into the game in third place.

A win would take Liverpool back to the top, with City having their game in hand to play on Wednesday, and ensure that the Reds would be in with a chance of winning the title on the final day.

Talk about pressure.

As Rodgers says, Palace are expected to line up in a similar fashion to Chelsea and therefore Liverpool must show great composure and patience.

The likely return of Daniel Sturridge to the starting XI will be a welcome one and could prove crucial, allowing Luis Suarez more freedom to roam but ensuring a presence remains in the penalty area, something that Liverpool lacked on occasion against Chelsea.

Palace are a different side to the one which arrived at Anfield back in October, then described by Rory Fitzgerald of This Is Anfield as "sub standard." Now under Tony Pulis' management they are extremely well-organised and drilled defensively, and look to use the pace of Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie on the counter-attack.

Pulis' side though lacked the same verve and vigour that they have demonstrated in recent weeks against City on Sunday, clearly displaying the after effects of having made their survival next season safe.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

Selhurst Park is not an easy stadium to visit and does not have happy memories for Liverpool—who have lost their last two games there, both back in 2005. But Rodgers side have broken many records and hoodoos this season.

If Liverpool can show the correct mentality and winning resolve that dragged them through tough away games at Stoke and Fulham earlier in the season, they can come away from Palace with the dream still alive.