First, a confession.
I vastly underestimated Kenny Dalglish. I knew he would be a good manager on short term to take Liverpool across troubled waters but never thought him to be a long term solution. Yesterday's match just showed how wrong I was. King Kenny showed to everyone how he can win a game at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge without even fielding his main striker.
Before the match, all the talk was about Fernando Torres. But Dalglish not only made Torres a non-entity, but also Chelsea's entire forward line of Torres, Didier Drogba, and Nicolas Anelka. So much so, that Chelsea managed just one shot on a target in a home Premier League match for the first time since Feb 2008 (also vs Liverpool). Torres had 29 touches during his 66 minutes on the pitch, fewer than any other outfield player in that time.
Dalglish totally outwitted Carlo Ancellotti. Liverpool won this game without fielding their most prized asset at the moment, Luis Suarez.
Sir Alex understands the opposition, comes up with a formation best suited to outwit the opposition and then picks the players suitable for the formation. It was exactly the same with Dalglish.
By fielding five defenders (three center backs and two full backs), he completely neutralised Drogba, Anelka & Torres. Kelly did admirably well in full back role, and Gerrard dropped deep on most occasions.
In Chelsea's case, they had a midfield who were slow as a tortoise. They could not enforce any pace on the ball. Chelsea looked threatening only in set piece situations, with most of that threat coming only from Ivanovic.
Maxi missed a sitter in first half, but after that, not a lot happened until the break.
Then the goal came out of nowhere. A Gerrard cross came into the box, and there was a moment of indecision from Ivanovic and Cech. Next second, Meireles smashes the ball into the net.
Raul Meireles seems to be the find of the season for Liverpool. He is a technically good player, a great presence of mind, and talent of being able to get into good positions. More than anything, he has the ability to finish the ball. Maxi lacks in this final finishing ability.
I would have thought Ancellotti to respond to Kenny's tactics. He did take out Torres, who seemed ineffective. In reality, though, he never got the service he needed.
The problem was in the midfield where the creativity was almost non-existent. This is exactly the kind of game where they missed the likes of Deco & Michael Ballack. Ancellotti takes out Torres and brings in Kalou, who was ineffective as well.
Then came David Luiz. His first touch in the Premier League was a superb block to avoid a goal opportunity, and he seems to be a good player.
In the end, Kenny brought in Aurelio another defender, making it six total. That literally killed the game off and gave Chelsea no chance of getting back.
I also have to point out that Chelsea were bit unlucky with two penalty decisions, but, in reality, there was only one team who deserved the win. That was Liverpool. And there was only one responsible for it. Kenny Dalglish.
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