Chelsea-Liverpool: A True Test Of Momentum

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IApril 9, 2017

Recent results have Chelsea and Liverpool's quest to regain the form that befits their supporters ambitions.

Both teams have gone through disappointing periods in the league this season.



Liverpool have arguably looked the more ramshackle, though at some points during Chelsea's slump it was hard to see where the side that swept all before them in the opening weeks had gone.

It seems now that the corner has been turned, with each side whirring back into form at an excellent point in the season to do so.

Since the trepidation causing loss to Blackpool, head coach Kenny Dalglish has seen his players shake off their malaise a little with a belief inspiring fightback in the Mersey-side derby.

This is against the same Everton side that had previously showed tenacious resistance to Manchester City in not letting them overhaul a similar situation.

After a potential disaster in losing such a famous derby match on home ground, the Liverpool side have recorded three victories with three clean sheets. Their opposition for these three games could be argued to be an array of lesser sides, though Fulham have been enjoying an excellent revival under Mark Hughes and Tony Pulis's Stoke have played a consistently well organised game all season.

Mick McCarthy's Wolves have by some been labelled easy beats, though they are not really a side that rolls over, Wolves battling furiously throughout the Anfield sides' win at Molineux.

It therefore stands that Liverpool have enjoyed a spirited resurgence with the advent of Dalglish's return as manager, and looking at the improvement in their attacking, it is evident the new manager is saying and doing the right things to ready his team for matches.

They have not only started scoring, but also tightened up what had been a back-line that creaked at unfortunate times, their defense recently looking as solid as it has been in the last ten years.

Throughout the team the confidence is there for all to see in the decisive manner in which the Liverpool unit have restored their cohesiveness.

Raul Meireles has proved recently that he is willing to show that he is indeed worthy of the Liverpool red, showing the excellent form that brought him to the club in the first place.

His contribution has been telling in that he has restored a goal scoring threat to the Liverpool midfield that had not been there in the first part of the season, but also because he has given opposition sides more reason to worry about the potential scoring threats.

Steven Gerrard seems to have lifted himself back in to a more fuller resemblance of the form that made him famous, and new signing Luis Saurez's immediate impact was far more than the goal he scored.

The Uruguayan showed a hunger for the ball and quick witted-ness in what he did that would have many who follow the Anfield reds positively starry eyed over the possibilities.

In his goal scoring cameo against Stoke City, he showed excellent timing in his running, world class control, a few nifty skills and quick decisive option appraisal.

Several of his first touch passes opened the Stoke defense right up. He also showed willingness to track back and the way he slipped in to the Liverpool side was almost uncanny considering he had not even trained with the side.

Liverpool have their confidence again and will go to Chelsea with the belief that they can get a result in the coming match.

For Liverpool, a draw would be excellent in terms of their season, but it would be odd for Dalglish not to have a crack, as he has generally been a manager who will have a go at three points.

After all, Stamford Bridge was the scene of one of his greatest triumphs, way back in 1986 as a player manager (days of player-managers long past now in the top flights of the world), when he scored the goal that gave Liverpool the first half of an excellent double.

It is undoubtedly an opportunity that Liverpool will look on with intense concentration.



Chelsea have recovered from the mauling they received at the Emirates to slowly crank back into action.

Immediately after this match they managed to squeak past Bolton at home, before bizarrely drawing with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in a match they literally threw away at the death.

Then shockingly losing to Wolves, the very 'easy beats' Liverpool defeated 0-3, to suddenly fire back into form which has seen them steamroller over all opposition since.

Most recently, they imperiously swiped aside the Mackems, even after going a goal down away to a Sunderland side who had disemboweled them three goals to nil at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea triumphing at the Stadium of Light by four goals to two in the end.

Drogba and Anelka and indeed the entire attacking unit have rediscovered their form, which immediately gives Carlo Ancellotti a selection headache with Fernando Torres arriving on the scene. 

Chelsea's wholesale obliteration of Bolton a week before their visit to Sunderland perhaps gave a glimpse of the revival that has taken place for the London side.

The interesting thing for Chelsea is that Michael Essien is still not back to his top form, though has played well enough to set an able platform for his front men.

Frank Lampard has looked assured and Peter Cech reasonably solid. The team seems to be a powerful unit again, rather than the disjointed group of individuals they seemed at times through the terrible run of form they endured.

Chelsea have signed a prolific goal scorer in Fernando Torres and the initial boost in this was the immediate effect it had on Drogba and Anelka, as both bristled with intent against Sunderland and at times threatened to take the game themselves.

Anelka, in particular, enjoying form reminiscent of his best over the years.

Ancellotti has come out and said he will obviously have to make a decision in regards to this, but not to wait for it, as he will be giving no clues to his intentions before the beginning of the match.

The existence of three or even four world class options in attack is something that will boost the Londoners, and is not something that is encountered every week in the premier league.


The Encounter

Liverpool's clean sheets against the likes of Wolves, Fulham and Stoke are good, but doing the same to Chelsea is another task altogether.

Chelsea were already back to their old selves after rattling in eight goals in their last two matches, and with the addition of Torres they have a player who had recently enjoyed a revival of his own, in terms of goal scoring.

The team has only given up two goals in that period.

A more exciting run in to this match could not have been imagined in terms of this famous fixture only a short time ago.

The sensational transfer of club talisman  Torres, as well as a new world class signing for Liverpool, Luis Saurez (who could well start his first match in the cauldron that is Stamford Bridge), and also the revival of both sides form mean it could well be a titanic encounter.

A match that could have huge implications in terms of morale and final season placings.

Chelsea are of course at home and in good form, but Liverpool are riding a wave of emotion that goes with such an emotive thing, as having a club legend take the helm to inspire a stirring fightback. 

Ancellotti has done a lot in football though and his players are weathered professionals.

Liverpool's recent wave of momentum could easily smash on the seawall that is Chelsea when the teams take the pitch on Sunday.

Then again, Chelsea have been notoriously difficult to predict this season, and if Liverpool get their game going, they are a good enough side to take the points from right under Chelsea's noses.

Can Dalglish give himself another Stamford Bridge night to remember? Or will the Chelsea fans be singing 'Fernando' into the night?   


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