Liverpool Stifle Blues and Torres at the Bridge
by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
February 7, 2011
Seeing a Blue El Nino banner and watching Torres walk to the center spot with a Blue kit instead of Red was a strange sight to so many on Sunday afternoon. Reds fans held up banners saying, "No One is Bigger than the Club," quoting Kenny Dalglish from his press conference earlier in the week.
|A Blue no. 9|
The Reds former frontman took to the pitch in his Chelsea debut looking to score and truly stick it to his former employers, however this would not be the case.
Chelsea's three prong attack of Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, and Nicolas Anelka was anything short of toothless. Carlo Ancelotti looks to have one of, if not the most potent front lines in the English Premier League but that was not seen on the day.
Liverpool brought back the same formation as they had used against Stoke City during midweek to earn a 2-0 victory at Anfield. Jamie Carragher returned to bolster the three center backs with Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson returning to their roles as wing-backs to allow greater width in the Reds play.
The Reds kept Chelsea wanting all night long as a resolute Liverpool back line led by Carragher, whom Dalglish praised as a, "New Signing," in his post match press conference. The vice-captain made his presence felt when he slide to block the only true chance Torres would have to sniff at scoring against his old club.
Maxi Rodriguez missed a sitter to put the visitors in the lead during the first half when a brilliantly placed pass from Steven Gerrard came across the face of goal to the Argentine whom put it off the crossbar from about a meter out. It was one that hopefully wouldn't cause eventual heartache as it should have been 0-1 to the Reds.
Chelsea tried to attack and made moves but the majority of their shots were forced to have been taken from outside of the box, aside from Branislav Ivanovic's headers taken from corner kicks awarded to the Blues. The front three just couldnt seem to find a way to open up the defense.
It was a cagey match that seemed to just be back and forth. The first half ended with truly only Maxi's duffed attempt as the best chance on goal for either side. Torres, Drogba, and Anelka had done little to justify any of their price tags, and Kuyt alone up top had worked hard but not helped to create much either.
The second half started on that same note as it took over five minutes for anything of real merit to come together. Drogba and Anelka won several corners trying to get in and test Reina while Torres was hounded by at least two Reds defenders every time he touched the ball.
Ancelloti had seen enough by the 65' minute of the match and a lackluster Torres was withdrawn for Salomon Kalou and pushed Anelka more forward. Post match the Italian claimed Torres needed, "Time to Adjust," but it seems that the World Cup Winner is still just as off of his form in a Blue kit as in a Red one.
Four minutes after his substitution Raul Meireles, the Reds man on form, smashed home a Steven Gerrard cross after making a brilliant 30 meter run from the heart of midfield to give the visitors the lead at the 69' minute. That makes 4 goals in 5 games for the Portuguese and he continues to shine in a central attacking midfield role which he has seen under Dalglish.
|Meire-lash 4 Goals in 5 Games|
The Blues picked up their attack in the last ten minutes of the game as Kenny Dalglish replace Maxi Rodriguez with Fabio Aurelio, and Meireles with Christian Poulsen to help solidify the Liverpool defense as it looked to weather out the coming storm.
Shouts for handball on two separate occasions, and Glen Johnson lucky to get away with a challenge on Ivanovic saw the Blues not have a chance for a penalty to bring them level.
The Reds held off through four minutes of added time, and the additional Manchester United added time that nearly made it five minutes, which Chelsea another attacking chance, to take away there first victory at Stamford Bridge in years.
Luis Suarez remained on the bench for Liverpool as Dalglish elected to let him continue his quest for full fitness on the training ground as his charges once again held for a fourth consecutive victory and a fourth consecutive clean sheet.