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Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea – Another Two Points Down the Drain

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More drama and another two points down the drain then. I’m bloody exhausted.

First Half

Terminally dull. Neither team showed much flair or passion. Oscar scored a header.

Second Half

Daniel Sturridge tore us to shreds. So glad we got rid of him. Lazy, selfish… yawn… looked like Cristiano Ronaldo compared to Torres.

I didn’t see the build-up to yesterday’s game. I was at work. I have complete respect for the families that lost loved ones all those years ago at Hillsborough and have spent the years since fighting the FA, the media and successive governments for justice for those ordinary football supporters, like you and I, that were killed. Apparently Rafa Benitez shed a tear. I really don’t want to get into it. He isn’t a Chelsea FC manager, he doesn’t care about our club. We’re just a platform for him to get another job. The sooner the better hopefully. So the fact that he still identifies himself so strongly with Liverpool is not something that surprises me. Nor is it something I’m concerned with.

I just want the season to be over, to get Jose Mourinho back where he belongs and to somehow get into the top four. Not too much to ask, is it?

I don’t want to talk about refereeing, added time, biting, racism, court cases or the FA either. I’m tired of all that. Excuse after excuse for poor performances, decision making and management at the club. The bottom line is we aren’t good enough. We should’ve won yesterday in spite of any of those things. We didn’t. We weren’t good enough.

Weren’t good enough to create a single opportunity from open play, as far as I can remember.

Weren’t good enough to hold an undeserved lead against what was (for all their talk of history) essentially a mid-table side battling to finish above Everton and West Brom.

Weren’t good enough to not keep hoofing the ball back to Carragher and Agger like a League Two side praying for a replay in the Cup.

Benitez wasn’t good enough to recognise that Torres was an absolute embarrassment and offered nothing all afternoon, he wasn’t good enough not to substitute his best players.

So yes, we can distract ourselves with Suarez’s bite, the six minutes and 45 seconds added time, Sturridge’s red card tackle on Bertrand and all the other things that you can read about in the newspapers that annoyed me so much that I had to put off writing this report until today but having slept on it I realised what annoyed me most was the way we played. We can trot out all the same old stuff. Tiredness, weak squad, weak manager, no steel, no resilience and so on but the basic fact is this club and the people who are running it – coaches, directors, technical directors – are not getting it right. As far as I’m concerned the problems mostly stem from the owner and his yes-men who want to play fantasy football with real money. Buy all your favourite players and play them all at the same time even if the balance of the team is completely wrong and you have no top level football experience to base your ideas on and subsequently no coherent plan for what it is that you’re asking them to achieve tactically. Buy another washed-up striker and take three years and several managers to realise you were wrong, he’s just finished.

Most of our problems were quite apparent against City last week. None of us would salivate over the prospect of signing a James Milner or a Gareth Barry and I’m not suggesting that we should, what I’m trying to illustrate is that you need a few players in a team that can do the uninspiring jobs. It’s called balance. Blending different elements to make an effective squad. The players that don’t necessarily get fans off their seats but do seem to find their way into every manager’s strongest line-up. It’s not happening at Chelsea because the owner refuses to allow anyone who actually has a fucking clue to have a say. And that brings us to what happens next.

Will we get the greatest manager we’ve ever had back? The only man who can lay reasonable claim to being Sir Alex Ferguson’s equal? Because things would have to change for that to happen.

Does he want to come back? Yes, I reckon he would. It would appeal to his sense of theatre.

Do we want him back? I certainly do. Don’t you?

Do the board/owner want him back? Probably. Will they be big enough to admit that they’ve made huge mistakes and need input from someone who really understands managing a football team capable of achieving at the highest level? I really don’t know. I’m not sure if they know yet either. I really, really hope they put the club first this time though.

I apologise in advance if this hasn’t lived up to expectations as a “Match Report”, if you’re a masochist feel free to watch the game again and draw your own conclusions. You probably know as much or more than me anyway.

If you like a bit of soap opera and scandal check out the Monday morning rags’ reaction to Suarez.

If you’re fed up with refereeing mistakes best give up on the football altogether and give a sport that uses video replays a go instead.

If you are Roman Abramovich, get rid of Torres, Benayoun and Benitez and let a proper manager have a go and give him the players he wants and let him do his job.

Press Reports

The Guardian, Andy Hunter: “The only Luis Suarez bite that concerned Rafael Benítez at Anfield was the 97th‑minute equaliser that weakened Chelsea’s place in the top four. Branislav Ivanovic’s arm will recover from the Liverpool striker’s shocking act of savagery but the damage to Chelsea, and Benítez’s reputation, will be lasting should two dropped points on Merseyside ultimately derail their Champions League status.”

The Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “It is difficult to see how Liverpool can continue to employ Luis Suarez after his latest assault on the fabric of the game, his latest trampling on the reputation of a world-renowned club. He held an opponent and then bit him. Such an outrageous offence would defy belief except Suarez has done it before. Enough is enough. Liverpool must consider selling him.”

The Independent, Ian Herbert: “The really dangerous part of all this is the Luis Suarez dependency around here. It was Graeme Souness who observed tonight that Liverpool are “not blessed with a lot of world class players at this time” and the game which kept Chelsea’s pursuit of a top four place in their own destiny, despite the concession of the late goal, bore that out.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The Blues were denied consecutive away wins in the closing seconds of the game so remain fourth in the table.”

Goals

26′ Oscar 0-1
52′ Sturridge 1-1
57′ Hazard (pen) 1-2
90+6′ Suarez 2-2

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  • Fiftee

    We all want the season to be over ASAP. I agree with your sentiments, our laboured performance was able to be swept under the cannibal-themed rug.

    I don’t think we’ll finish top-4 now. With a free styling Man Utd to play and a 6 pointer against Spurs, it’s a huge ask. You have to factor the Rafa effect into the equation. Here’s a guy who has just two strikers at his disposal, yet persisted with just one of them yesterday while Ba sat on the bench all game. Ba, that is, who will be cup-tied on Thursday. What the fuck did we get from Torres? Bugger all. Just as the masked wonder had started to peek his head out from the duvet of mediocrity, yesterday he buried himself underneath it again.

    The concern though has to be what happens with whoever replaces Rafa (let’s not forget this is a man who went home to his Liverpool based house last night. Probably getting a lift from Gerrard). There’s Jose, and then there’s just a massive pool of everyone else. What we need is Jose. He wouldn’t have put up with that shit yesterday. He wouldn’t hide behind a lack of available footage to replay incidents.

    Under Jose everyone hated us. Because we were ruthless and fucking awesome. Then we got softer, more likeable and, well, a bit shitter. There’s no glossing over the fact we are probably the worst Champions of Europe (TM) ever. But under RDM we looked like ‘one of us’ might be the answer. He was. But only to the ‘who’s Roman sacking next’ question.

    The foot soldiers will remain as long as Roman does. It’s rough-with-the-smooth stuff. He’s great, if a bit unstable. Emenalo, Buck, Gourlay et al are a joke but there’s no denying they’re here forever (in football terms).

    In short. Make us hated again. That’s our place in football. Winning games and pissing everyone off because of Jose. Make it so Roman, or we may be away from the top table for a very long time.

  • bluebayou

    Spot on with the observation that they just didn’t do enough to win. It seems to be a common theme of late that the amount of “on target” chances generated by a relatively high possession game are too few. This game was no exception.

    And it was depressing to watch them give the ball back to Liverpool rather than try to use the ball and work the opposition as a means to closing out the game. The same happened in Moscow the other day. And yet the team is built around players whose game is being in possession of the ball.

    This is not a team that seems to work well without the ball despite the appearance of a good counter attacking threat.

    There appeared to be little adjustment to counter the introduction of Sturridge and despite the skills of Hazard, Mata and co. the teams seems overburdened with caution and unable to dictate games for extended periods of time.

    Don’t expect that will change any time soon.

  • Steel_Blue

    Yes, the cannibal shouldn’t have been on the pitch and the whistle should have been
    blown, but we still should have had the fortitude to hold them off. Once again Benitez subs made no sense and why the hell did he start and end with Torres? And if Benitez wanted us to win (and that’s a big if in and of itself if you ask me) through set pieces and not open play, why exactly
    was John Terry, a fucking champion header of the ball, sitting on the damn bench? Don’t even get me started on why we sold Sturridge. Realistically, the CL is gone, our run ins are harder than Arsenal or Tottenham’s and we have no bottle as a team. The worst part for me yesterday was watching what AVB has been able to do over at Spurs and then seeing us hopelessly hoofing long balls down the pitch. It makes the mind wonder about what could have been if RA had a dash of fucking patience. Benitez has been a disaster and has totally screwed our season. We need Jose back. Perhaps it’s a touch dramatic to say it, but it feels like he’s our only hope.

  • Blueboydave

    Another really depressing weekend of football, indeed.

    I’m almost reconciled to our perpetual capacity to throw away points from a winning position. How many times is it now this season – I gave up counting when I got to 4 in my head in a few seconds?

    We’ve talked on here before about the dangers of us turning in to a Barca-lite clone of the Gooners on the pitch but I’m now wondering if we will also have to face the joy of seeing our discarded players flourish elsewhere in the EPL at a high level [rather than the average Scott Sinclair/ Scott Parker level of recent years].

    As Steel Blue suggests, how exactly did Sturridge shine on loan at Bolton, but be reduced to feeble cameo appearances and diplomatic injuries on his return to us, before instantly hitting his stride again on joining ‘Pool?

    The third aspect of our own personal hell may now be discarded managers showing us how much our managerial carousel can mess up. What price AVB to deny us an EPL place and be a thorn in our side for years?

    On the other hand, a couple of judicious additions to the squad and a sensible managerial appointment given time for once to build and we could be set fair for years – what are the chances?

    • JONNERS

      Sturridge did reasonably well for the first half of last season (playing in his unfavoured “right wing ” position) and scoring a fair number of goals(the stunner at Wigan particularily springs to mind) Then AVB got the boot ,Di matteo took over the reigns and largely banished him to the bench.Same story at the beginning of this season (albeit that he was injured for a fair bit of the time ) and when Di Matteo was sacked and Benites took over it was a done deal that he was going to the pool.

  • Gene

    Horrid match, horrible management and exemplary of everything Chelsea has become. Well said.

    And as much as I covet the return of TSO, I just don’t see it happening. His last term was embroiled with RAs meddling, and RA has shown zero signs of letting up. Torres has been forced on everyone, and he’s not even a shadow of his former self. Why would Jose come back to SB knowing that the politics haven’t changed one bit?

    Don’t get your hopes up. (And quite frankly I respect Moyes way too much to wish him a go.)

  • Agh57

    Despite being relatively sanguine about things recently, I (like the rest of you) found myself quite annoyed at the end of this one.
    The injury time was a odd. Alan Wiley’s attempts to explain it on SSN yesterday didn’t convince me. His main point was that the penalty wasted a lot of time. Really….that much. Also Reina was clearly time wasting or attempting to put Hazard off by having an unecessary drink. Does this mean it’s okay to do this in future with no disadvantage to the defending team?
    The substitutions were terrrible. Moses for Oscar. I can live with that. Taking Hazard off before the end and replacing him with Yossi was pointless. Hazard was one of the only players at that time holding on to the ball and with him having played the best part of 80 minutes, it’s not like it could be considered as resting him. Surely getting Terry on would have been better. You could have substituted “Dave” and put Ivanovic out right or Ramires and move Luiz up into centre-mid. I can’t see any benefit of bringing Yossi to the party at that stage. (Not that he deserves to be booed or worse if the news is to be believed).
    And why start with Torres. He’s doesn’t appear to be in the best state of mind and so why play him at Anfield? At the very least we need him for Thursday as we don’t have anyone else.
    The Suarez incident was bad and he should have been sent off and he deserves evrything he gets. However, I find it hard to get too worked up over it though, given the usual journo “suspects” already moral grandstanding about the whole thing.
    Like the rest of the posters I’m just concerned that we have a squad of great potential on our hands at the moment and it will inevitably break up if we continue making the same knee jerk, instant piss poor management decisions. I didn’t originally want Jose to come back (only for “you should never go back” reasons), but I sure hope we get him now. It will inevitably end in tears after a couple of seasons but that may count as “stability” in the crazy crackpot world of our club and we might be able to build on what he leaves us. Anyone else better be in the top 2 by October and less than 5 points off the leaders and winning the Champions League group otherwise they’ll be out.
    PS Isn’t Carragher an awful piece of work. Not disimilar to JT, FA racist language complaint apart (iffy parent and all), yet doesn’t seem to receive any criticism. Can’t think why?

  • Blue_MikeL

    My sentiment expressed on the previous thread regarding this match was – “Benitez was fucking awful!” However, for some reason, some people thought that I am too harsh. It makes me very happy to see that match report contains the same sentiment. Why did he even put Zorres on the pitch. He (Zorres) didn’t score in the previous five matches with Liverpool, so based on what Fat Rafa decided that he is going to score now? Substitutes made during the game were even more ridiculous instead of taking Zorres, who has become a sorry excuse for a footballer, off the pitch he took off Hazard and brought Yossi who is not recalled even to Israeli national team any more. The only signal such sub can send is that we are not attacking any more and moving into defending our fragile lead. All the subsequent subs were sending exactly the same signal and were nothing, but invitation to attack. Instead of making one fucking obvious sub Ba for Zorres Rafa decided to do everything bar this one. As result since the moment Hazard went off Liverpool took a permanent residence in front of our goal. Really tired to observe this rubbish. Whoever bought Zorres who cost as already 3 managers (Carlo, AVB and Di Matteo) and then decided to bring Rafa in order to play Zorres is fucking idiot!!!!!

  • Blue_MikeL

    Avram grant in interview to radio Tel-Aviv tells the story how he brought very successful football director Michael Emenalo to Chelsea. Tells the story………..

  • Blue_MikeL
  • Blue_MikeL

    very important three points earned!

  • Dylbo Baggins

    On BBC it says that “Of more pressing concern to Blues manager Rafael Benitez was securing a Champions League place.

    Chelsea’s win took them back into third but the Blues are in a tight battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for two qualification places, while Everton are also still in contention.

    There is the possibility that Chelsea can qualify if they win the Europa League – and they have a one-goal advantage after a 2-1 semi-final first-leg win at Basel – but the push in the league must continue, especially with Manchester United and Spurs their next opponents.”

    Does this mean we qualify if we finish 5th but win the europa cup or is the author suggesting that we have the ability to win the cup and finish top 4?

    rather confused because i thought winning it didn’t mean anything in terms of champs league..?

  • DarthR72

    Actually a fantastic take on the game and the whole season. Feel exactly the same, word for word.