Liverpool were on fire. They had beaten Real Madrid 1-0 at their place. They had beaten them 4-0 at home. They beat United 4-1 in Old Trafford. Just Saturday they won one at the death against Fulham thanks to Yossi Benayoun. And in the Champions League they hoped to continue that form tonight against the all too familiar foe Chelsea.
The match started out great for the men in red. They controlled the ball and got off a couple of good shots in the first five. Then in the 6th minute Torres tucked an Alvaro Arbeloa cross into the back of the net for the one-nil lead. Liverpool were off to a great start and surely Chelsea would be held on this day. Then the ball broke clear for Drogba who could have scored in his sleep-but he didn't this time. Pepe Reina's save was more of like a lucky hit to the chest if anything. In other words, Drogba drove it into the spread-eagle Reina's chest and that was that.
Liverpool for the next good while controlled play but failed to capitalize on their momentum by taking chances to score the football. Chelsea soon would push forward and take the iniatitive that Liverpool had failed to take. In the 39th minute Chelsea had a corner and this time they out their chance away. Liverpool's zone defence (which is one of the worst ideas in history. Heck its so bad that it gave invading Russia in winter a close race) showed holes once again. Chelsea's very impressive Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic lost Xabi Alonso and then cut in from of Martin Skrtel (more on the zone later) to score an nice snapping header that rang a rather loud alarm bell in Anfield. But the Liverpool fans continued on encouraging and taunting Chelsea with such phrases as "You ain't got no history." But on this night Liverpool played like they had no playmakers and at half-time it was 1-1.
At the start of the second half Liverpool continued to show no willigness to go forward. It was so bad that it seemed as if Liverpool were in the second leg and away from home and only needed to hang on to what they had. Soon after the start of the half Chelsea nearly had taken the advantage. Drogba rounded Reina and looked to have finished the move off only to have the ever-so hardworking Jamie Carragher deny him via a sliding clearance. Chelsea would push on and soon they would have a lead thanks to a familiar face.
Once again Chelsea had a corner. In the 62nd minute Branislav Ivanovic once again found the unmanned far post of Liverpool and Chelsea had the lead for good on the night. Five minutes later Drogba finally scored and Chelsea had three away goals! Liverpool (especially Torres and Gerrard) continued to play uninspired, tired football and Chelsea dominated with possession. Liverpool had once good chance in the waning moments but Cech tipped it over the ball well after a fericious Xabi Alonso strike. Chelsea wins it 3-1 mostly due to Liverpool's laziness but also due to poor marking.
Now a little bit about marking coming from a goalkeeper. On a corner I generally ask all of my players to mark the players man to man. Its not that difficult to stand between the man and the goal. And I also usually like to put men on both the front and near posts. Both of these things cost Liverpool dearly in this match. The first Ivanovic goal happened because the Liverpool players failed to communicate which is a must in a zone of any sort and sport. In basketball you can't run a zone unless you have communication and it's no different in football. The second goal came because of a lack of communication and Liverpool's failure to put a man on the post. I understand that teams want to get out on the corner but wouldn't you rather keep the ball out of the net than be hopeful for a counter that probably won't work out? Well, in any case Liverpool have looked awful in all areas and now they may want to concentrate on EPL glory. I hope you enjoy your football for the remainder of your week. I enjoyed it so far.