It seemed fairly clear for most of the afternoon--and most of the season, for that matter--where Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side were lacking. With a defensive unit that had stabilized and a midfield that was mostly functional to support a creative contingent of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling, all that was missing was a finishing touch. Far too often this season that burden has fallen on the likes of Sterling or typically one from Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, and Rickie Lambert. It was Lambert who got the call today, and he was once again lacking, and while his support in attack were more promising, they couldn't offer much in the way of a solution either.
After losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge early in the season to injury, Liverpool never quite recovered, and while a change in system midseason made them more competitive, the goals have been missing from damn near start to finish, and it's cost Rodgers' side time and again. There have been other problems, of course, with Rodgers himself contributing to early season woes with poor decisions in terms of system and personnel. Wire to wire, though, goals have been a major issue, and one that will need to be addressed soon.
That was one of the main points stressed by Steven Gerrard post-match, who took his tally to eight league goals with a headed effort late in the first half. Set to leave the club in two weeks' time, he emphasized the importance of the club committing resources to ensure that they remain competitive and push forward after this season's setbacks:
"(The Champions League) has been the aim all season but we have come up a bit short. It's important owners try and dig deep and help Brendan and the lads out and try and make some additions and try and improve. There is a great core of players here with terrific potential and the future is looking all right. But it is important that you try and compete with the giants clubs in the league because they are all going to spend big and this league is getting more and more difficult every year. We found that out this year. we lost Suarez, we haven't had Sturridge available and its been pretty tough.
"I was more happy with the ovation from the Liverpool fans. The Chelsea fans showed respect for a couple of seconds for me but slaughtered me all game so I'm not going to get drawn into wishing the Chelsea fans well. It's nice of them to turn up for once today. But yeah, the standing ovation from a stadium is always nice but what's important to me is the Liverpool fans and they have been there since day one."
All fair points, and all communicated clearly at an appropriate time--Liverpool's owners need to be willing to front the type of money needed to bring in a front-line striker, as the loss of Suarez and Sturridge combined with the lack of a suitable replacements combined with other concerns to ultimately render Liverpool's season a failure.
Also that Chelsea supporters are kind of the worst. Never a bad time for that.