Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

Clive Rose

A bright start gave way to an overwhelmingly energetic performance by the hosts, and Liverpool dropped three vital points on the road.

liverpool blog fc sbn

Chelsea 2 Hazard 17', Eto'o 34'
Liverpool 1 Skrtel 3'

  • Samuel Eto'o should have been sent off seventy seconds in to the match for that tackle on Jordan Henderson. His studs were up, he was late, and wasn't anywhere near the ball. It will probably be justified as "too early for such a call", but that's baloney. A red card foul is a red card foul and should be treated as such no matter when it occurs. That it wasn't even booked just makes it worse.

  • All that said, Martin Skrtel scored on the resulting free kick, so HA HA! (said in full Nelson voice).

  • The opening twelve minutes was probably the most frenetic, heart-attack-inducing opening period I can remember. Outside of the goal, a delicious run from Raheem Sterling that sadly lead to nothing was probably the highlight of that spell, along with an incredible Simon Mignolet save off a vicious Frank Lampard shot from outside the box.

  • Eden Hazard's goal in the 17th minute was pretty well unstoppable. He could have been closed down better or marked tighter, but if you've seen much of him the last couple of years you know he doesn't need much space to get that kind of shot off. With that finish and placement, there was just nothing Mignolet could do.

  • Chelsea's second goal was a bit of a disaster with some bad luck mixed in. The ball took a deflection off Oscar's hip and through Sakho's legs in the box, and Eto'o slid through Skrtel to knock it home. Mignolet could only get a piece of it as he scrambled back over to cover, but not enough to keep it from squibbing over the goal line. I have a hard time giving anyone in particular blame, though it does feel like both center backs could have done more to prevent their marks from getting in to advantagous positions.

  • The rest of the first half was a pretty terrifying reminder that this is not a particularly deep squad right now. Johnson, Lucas, Coutinho, and Suarez all looked utterly exhausted. Hendo looked both tired and in pain from Eto'o's challenge early on. The squad as a whole just didn't have the energy to keep up with the pell-mell pace and power and Chelsea was displaying. The entire side needs reinforcements next month in a bad, bad way.

  • Posts are just the worst. That Sakho header deserved a goal.

  • Mignolet is probably one of the five best keepers in one on one situations in England. Just immense.

  • Brad Smith was handed his debut after Joe Allen took a second hard knock in the second half and had to come off. It looked like Brendan Rodgers shifted to more of a 4-2-3-1 look with Smith at left wing and Coutinho slid in behind Suarez. The change did a lot of good for the attack, as it allowed Coutinho to link play better and took Suarez off the supremely isolated island he'd been on all match long.

  • There were two fairly legit penalty shouts on a single free kick in the 63rd minute. Agger was bundled over by Gary Cahill as the kick was delivered, and Suarez, who was actively trying to get to the ball, was held down and knocked over by a leaping John Terry. Agger's call was something you don't often see given, but the challenge on Suarez was a penalty in a couple of different ways. So, thanks for that, Howard Webb.

  • This might have been Glen Johnson's worst match in a red shirt. He's been out of form for a good while now, and today he looked dead tired on top of it. He needs a rest in a bad way, but there's just no one to spell him right now with the squad's fitness situation looking as it is.

  • Seriously, this squad is so thin. The injuries to Allen and Sakho could be devastating if they're out for any length of time. Rodgers could barely do any rotation before, and now we could see the bench mostly populated by Academy kids for awhile. Hooray.

  • Howard Webb is the worst.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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