LIVERPOOL 1-1 CHELSEA
Liverpool managed to grab a last minute goal to secure a single point against Premier League rivals Chelsea at Anfield.
Liverpool’s home form under Jurgen Klopp has seen Liverpool remain unbeaten 12 times consecutively in front of our own crowd now. Very few have come to Anfield this season and been victorious, we’ve kept true to our stadium’s nickname “the fortress”.
The manager made eight changes from the last fixture lineup which had seen many of our youngsters take to the pitch against Watford recently. Now the “regular” lineup was to be seen again as Chelsea would attempt to break Liverpool’s unbeaten form.
I was less nervous about this fixture than I had been about the Watford fixture. Liverpool always expect the worst for big games and play like they’re in a cup Final but we occasionally underestimate teams like Watford and end up suffering because we didn’t expect them to cause as much trouble as some of the “larger”, better known teams such as Chelsea would do.
Chelsea did just that, creating trouble for Liverpool from the start of the first half and right throughout the game. It was still a rather equal game though, with plenty of counter attacks from Liverpool as we sought to do as they were – finding a good enough chance to score. We had Clyne, Lovren, Moreno and Toure working hard in front of Simon Mignolet and our attackers were plenty busy at the other end of the pitch when Chelsea’s attacks had finished and it was time for us to take our chances to score.
The first goal of the game would go to Chelsea, just after the half hour mark. A break from Baba Rahman saw his cross delivered to Eden Hazard on the left side of the box. He struck a powerful right footed shot that made it’s way past Mignolet and into the net. No point in talking about whose fault it was that we conceded as it wasn’t really a defensive mistake that resulted in their goal, just top class finishing from Hazard who has scored four goals in four games now. His run of consistent good form and goalscoring paid off for him at Anfield.
Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea.
Liverpool now played with a little more focused purpose – to equalise against Chelsea. We’ve seen visiting teams take a lead against Liverpool at Anfield before and it doesn’t always mean victory for the away side even if they get the first goal. Liverpool would spend at least another hour in search of this equalizer but achieved it eventually. A determination not to give up until we had something to take from our home fixture could be seen for the rest of the game in the Liverpool squad.
The half time score would still see Chelsea leading but there was another half yet to be played. No changes were made to the lineup during the break as the Liverpool manager would wait until later in the game to start using substitutions. We may have been losing but Klopp still had confidence in the starting lineup he had picked to show results.
On the game would go and Liverpool would push forward time and time again. Daniel Sturridge was incredibly active, even if his efforts didn’t result in actual goals, he was out there and working very hard for us. One chance came after Simon Mignolet has kicked the ball far up the pitch to him. Sturridge then received the ball, looked up at goal and tried his luck as he shot from 35 yards away. Optimistic for sure, but I appreciated that he seemed to want to try from anywhere on the pitch to get our equalizer against a club he used to play for, too. His allegiance is clear for all to see and no doubt about it – he’s Liverpool, through and through. He knew what we had to do and was attempting to do it at least. I’d be far more disappointed if he didn’t try at all. Quite unselfishly Sturridge wasn’t just trying for himself, he’d create chances for his teammates too.
Kolo Toure would have a chance to score a header after Sturridge had put in a beautiful cross to him. The African defender leaped into the air, got his head firmly to the ball but was denied as he almost put the ball into the top right corner of the net, though it was acrobatically saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Begovic. Still, Liverpool just had a great assist and a great attempt to score. Reds fans could feel that we’d have more of these before the game was over and they’d all be right.
By the 75th minute of the game, James Milner had been booked for a foul. The manager decided to replaced the player who had a yellow card, Milner would be substituted for Joe Allen. Christian Benteke would also get to play the last quarter of an hour of the game as Adam Lallana came off. Liverpool were assuming a rather more offensive lineup now, with a midfielder replaced by a striker. We were on the hunt for even a single goal.
Firmino and Can were working together well, both of them either assisting or taking chances for themselves on goal, more shots for Liverpool were needed to be saved as the Chelsea goalkeeper was kept busy in this competitive fixture. Sheyi Ojo even had a great chance to score but from a tight angle and actually beat the goalkeeper that was coming towards him, but he put the ball across the goal instead of into the open net.
The only thing keeping this from being a high scoring game was the goalkeepers and tight defences, really. There was plenty of chances taken but not converted into goals.
As the clock ran down past the 80th and the 90th minute, fans were a little more nervous than earlier but still relatively confident that one of our chances would make it into the net eventually.
The time for Liverpool’s comeback and equalizer was past the 90th minute and into extra time. Around the 92nd minute, Sheyi Ojo had been running down the left wing with the ball. He crossed it over and the cross was met with a punch by Begovic, but the ball got punched into the direction of Christian Benteke who was in a dangerous position and now had only to head the ball into the net from close range to make it Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea.
Man Of The Match? There were a couple of candidates. Firstly, Daniel Sturridge had worked harder than most other players on the pitch throughout the entire game. He’d taken shots on goal as we attempted to equalise and he’d assisted his teammates, too. I appreciated all of these chances but it just wasn’t as important as the actual goal we did score, the one which allowed us to claim a point instead of none against our rivals. Benteke helped us take something away from the game, a highly valued contribution that Reds all over the world surely appreciate. He’s had a little slump this season where perhaps he felt underappreciated as other strikers like Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge were taking the main stage, getting picked over him and he could only make the substitute bench at best. He gave interviews admitting his unhappiness and sometimes, it showed when he was on the pitch. But he seems to have gotten over it and has gotta be feeling the love for him, by now. We’re behind you and value your efforts for the club, Christian. I hope you feel happier and more comfortable as you continue to have success with Liverpool. We love you for it, bro!
Benteke was the official Anfield Family Man Of The Match.
Liverpool’s season continues and more Premier League action will be seen before we head to the Europa League Final yet. We travel to West Bromwich Albion’s stadium on 15th May.
Until then, walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.