After losing to BOTH Crystal Palace and Sunderland in the space of 3 weeks, and Liverpool winning their past 11 matches, Chelsea’s title aspirations have all but faded away. We headed to Anfield 5 point of 1st place Liverpool, knowing that anything less than a win would hand Liverpool their first title since 1990. Jose basically played a second string lineup with our midweek game in mind so the odds were clearly against Chelsea in this one. Some may say we played negative football, but in my opinion it was more or less effective football. We only had 27% possession however Liverpool was unable to capitalize this as they searched for a way to break down our defense.
Nonetheless, here are my player ratings for this match:
Mark Schwarzer- 8/10
Although in the early stages of the match he wasn’t really tested, Mark had a stellar second half. He was commanding in his area and made a handful of great saves which kept Chelsea in the match
Cesar Azpilicueta 9/10
Dave was clearly our man of the match, which makes me wonder how he wasn’t picked in the PFA team of the Season? Dave kept Sterling in his back pocket, dealing with the teenager’s pace and trickery with ease. He also mad a handful of last-ditch challenges, resulting in a Chelsea counter attack.
In his first start at center back this season Ivanovic had a great game. He constantly broke down the Liverpool attack and left Suarez for dead. The Uruguayan had no answer for Brana and was left frustrated.
In his first full start for Chelsea, the young defender showed signs of an up and coming world class defender. He threw his body at the Liverpool shots, in a John terry-esque manner and didn’t really make any costly mistakes. He was sloppy at one moment of the game however, but Liverpool again couldn’t capitalize.
Ashley Cole 7.5/10
Ashley had a considerably good game, but has received this low rating when compared to our other defenders.
Nemanja Matic- 8.5/10
Yet again, Matic bossed the midfield and protected our defense extremely well. He kept Coutinho quiet all match and in turn the Liverpool attack lacked that killer touch.
John Obi Mikel-8/10
For the second time in a week, Mikel was an imposing figure in our midfield. His tackling was great and he eliminated the aerial threat form Liverpool. His composure on the ball allowed the rest of the team some valuable time to settle themselves in their attacking positions.
Although he did well to keep Gerrard sitting deeper in the first half, he failed to track his attacking runs in the second half and in turn allowed Stevie G to have an ample amount of venomous shots at our goal. Luckily none really troubled our keeper.
Mohammed Salah (Subbed of 57th minute for Willian)-7.5/10
Salah played fairly well while he tracked Flanagan and helped to keep Sterling under wraps. We was starting to tire in the early stages of the second half and in turn the attacking aspect of his game suffered.
Andre Shurrle- (Subbed off 77th minute for Cahill) 7.5/10
Like Salah, Shurrle defended well and tracked Glen Johnson’s attacking runs, and like Salah he became tired and struggled in the later stages of the game.
Demba Ba (Subbed off for Torres in the 84th minute)-8.5/10
Demba had a great game! He won countless aerial duels against Sakho, and he left the Frenchmen in many tricky predicaments through the game. He held up the ball well and earned us many free kicks and corners. He tired later on in the game though.
Willian injected a lot of life in our team once he was substituted on in the second half. He was wonderful defensively and scored our winner after winning the ball back off Liverpool.
Once he was substituted on, Gary added solidity to our defense.
Like Willian, Torres added life into our attack once he was subbed on. He made the brilliant run, as well as cut the ball back for Willian to score the tap in.