Goals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa were enough to give the League leaders a come from behind victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday. The Blues extended their unbeaten run in the League to 11 games and the ease with which they dispatched last season’s runner ups just shows how good the current crop of players are for Chelsea. The Reds on the other hand, succumbed to their second-successive League defeat and will be hoping to get things back on track after the international break.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
Chelsea defeat shows how far Liverpool have to go
Much was made about Rodgers’ decision to go with a more defensive-minded team against Real Madrid on Tuesday. So many expected him to go with a full-strength side against Chelsea in a bid to keep his side within touching distance of the League leaders. The Reds started brightly and an early goal from Emre Can highlighted what might be the Blues’ only flaw, Fabregas’ unwillingness to do the defensive side of the game.
It was only a few months ago that Chelsea came to Anfield and won 2-0 and derailed their title ambitions. And it is fair to say that if the home side had any hope of being anywhere near the top this season, they needed something from this game. But although the home side started the game well, the longer the game went on, the more clearer the gulf in class was visible. After just 11 games, the Reds are already 15 points behind the leaders and might have to be content with fighting it out for a Champions League spot this time around.
Cahill was in the thick of the action all-game long
Ever since signing for Chelsea in January 2012, Cahill has been one of the most consistent performers in a Blue shirt. The centre half has shown remarkable consistency in both ends of the pitch and against Liverpool, he was in the thick of the action once again. Cahill’s first meaningful contribution to the game was to deflect a shot past his keeper and give the home side the lead.
While many defenders would have let that get to them, the Englishman merely dusted himself off and showed just why he is regarded as one of the best centre backs in the League at the moment. He scored a goal, but this time in the right box to bring his side level with a calmly taken effort. But after that, he had not one, but two penalty claims turned down by the referee, both of which, on another day could’ve been given and seen the defender sent off. But thankfully for Mourinho, the 28-year-old completed the game as arguably the side’s best player after Costa.
Reds need Sturridge back fast
Although they were quick off the block, the home side failed to build on their early momentum and ended up defeated for the fifth time in the League this season. Last season, the Reds used to blow the opposition away with their lightning fast starts to matches, but this time around, they are genuinely looking short on goals. The only time that the home side really looked like scoring from speculative long-range efforts or if a penalty was going to be given.
Yes, the Reds have sold Luis Suarez. True, Daniel Sturridge is out injured. But the simple fact is that Rodgers spent almost all of the money they got from Suarez on attacking players to ensure that they don’t miss the Uruguayan. But on the evidence of the performances so far, it looks as they are missing him. Although Mario Balotelli had a decent game against the Blues, he was left isolated far too often and perhaps the return of one-half of last season’s deadly strike partnership will bring back the goals that made the Reds so good to watch last campaign. Rodgers would certainly be hoping that is the case.