Well, I didn’t expect we would crush Chelsea, but I certainly thought we had a great chance given their terrible form. And boy oh boy was I rewarded for watching this match!
Instead of us, it was Chelsea who came out of the blocks first, and they scored a quick goal as both sides of our defence went to sleep. Milner and Clyne couldn’t handle Azpilicueta of all people, and he floated in a cross that Moreno didn’t attack, allowing Ramires to charge in for a header and 1-0.
Knowing how terrible we are at trying to rescue a losing game, I immediately deflated, but kept some hope that given the early nature of the goal, we would come back. Most of our players were universally awful that first half, with errant passes, poor touches and just going nowhere in attack or even basic passing. Chelsea were pressing us rather effectively, and Lucas was conceding a lot of fouls, although he improved in the middle portion of the game.
We slowly grew into the match, pushing Chelsea back. It could also just be that they were retreating, more than willing to protect that lead against a toothless Liverpool attack. And so it proved, as we failed to really test Begovic. Chelsea were pretty poor themselves, with only Willian any threat.
As the half drew on, it felt like we were getting nowhere. But then came the added minutes to the first half, and Clattenberg allowed us to play on. Firmino passed the ball to Coutinho, who jinked past Ramires and slotted the ball into the side of the net to equalise things. He had been pretty much anonymous the entire half, but came up with a piece of magic as is basically his norm.
The second half saw another Chelsea attempt to attack us early, but we managed to repel that. We got back our foothold in the game, although Lucas started to get back to his fouling ways as the match continued. Then Benteke came on for the energetic but awful Milner, and immediately turned our dominance into victory. A long ball from Sakho was knocked down by the big guy, and Coutinho was on hand to send it into the net with his right foot this time.
Not long after, Ibe’s pass into the box saw Lallana dummy Chelsea, and Benteke taking the ball and coolly fired it home through a bunch of legs. Chelsea continued to look toothless, although they did intercept our sloppy balls a couple of times and had half chances blocked by Sakho and Skrtel. There was also a looping ball from Oscar that nearly threatened to go into goal had Mignolet not managed to backtrack fast enough. But we kept them out, and had chances of our own too.
At the end, Klopp even trolled Mourinho by subbing Lovren on for Lallana and playing him in midfield, like Mourinho likes to do with defenders when holding on to a lead. It was a hard-earned, well-fought 3-1, and it’s great to be winning again, not to mention winning from behind, something we did precious little of under Rodgers.
As a whole, our team sucked balls with, well, the ball. The work rate was excellent, as was most of the defending bar the Chelsea goal. Everyone was pretty awful at the start, but we grew into the game and really owned Chelsea at the end. Benteke, despite having so little time on the pitch, has to be man of the match for me, given he had an assist and a goal.
Coutinho and Firmino will have to jostle for second place, Coutinho for his goals and Firmino for his general play. Lallana was pretty anonymous to me; his best contribution was not touching the ball for Benteke’s goal. Milner was similarly ineffective, letting Azpilicueta go too easily for their goal and generally being terrible on the ball bar one or two crosses.
Can and Lucas were pretty bad in the middle of the pitch for the early parts of the match, fouling incessantly. But they somehow managed to escape with a yellow card each, which is quite miraculous. Still, they put in the work, and were tireless in keeping Chelsea away. The back four did okay, with Sakho standing out once again. Skrtel tangled with Costa once more, and Costa was lucky not to be sent off for his cheeky kick at Skrtel’s chest. Clyne was good in defence and poor in attack; the reverse holds true for Moreno. And finally, Mignolet was pretty good between the sticks, without too much troubling him.
Or maybe I’m just too critical. It just shows how much room we have to improve and be even better.
It feels awesome to win again, and to beat Mourinho’s Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge is even sweeter. We’re still unbeaten, we’re improving, and we have a top-class coach slowly imprinting his philosophy into the side. Football is back, baby!