A dominant Liverpool performance should have been rewarded with a win in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi final, buts its advantage Chelsea going to Stamford Bridge in a week’s time. The Reds though can proud with last night’s performance against the Premier League leaders and despite the score tied at 1-1, Brendan Rodgers’ side can say they did secure a moral victory.
That was the Liverpool of last season! Terrific performance.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 20, 2015
Jose Mourinho though will be the more pleased of the two managers, his tactics worked spot on but it could have been so different had Steven Gerrard’s shot not struck the underside of Thiabaut Courtois frame of the goal. The Belgian shot-stopper also made some crucial saves to keep the score tied.
Liverpool dominated the match stats. They had 20 attempts – Chelsea had just 2, and one of them was a penalty #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/djLCtNkIsR — Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 21, 2015
Liverpool need to play the same way at Stamford Bridge: Mourinho’s tactics were clear right from the start. The Blues would sit back trying to soak up the pressure from Liverpool and hit the home side on the counter. John Obi Mikel’s starting spot justifies his thought as it was evident that Chelsea would try to contain Steven Gerrard and co. It was one quick breakaway that led to Eden Hazard’d penalty but the Reds would be disappointed not to get the much deserved win.
Lucas Leiva and Thibaut Courtois were the picks for me from that game. Brilliant demonstrations of holding midfield play and goalkeeping.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 20, 2015
Lucas Leiva was arguably the man of the match and the Brazilian will need to be at his peak again in seven days time. As each game goes by, the 28 year old is getting indispensable for the Reds. Perhaps all thoughts of a possible transfer away from the club can be put to rest. Chelsea will no doubt look to advance in 90 minutes but if Liverpool can play as they did, Rodgers can fancy his side to go through to Wembley.
Emre Can suffers professional hazard but will learn: Liverpool recent renaissance has come after Rodgers has shifted to three at the back. With Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho excelling in their defined roles, Can’s mistakes can be shadowed. The rookie midfielder will learn though but against big sides he can ill afford to make mistakes. Playing out of position doesn’t help, but the German shouldn’t have allowed Cesc Fabregas to run past at the edge and lay the ball off to Hazard. Chelsea duly took advantage.
Emre Can knocks Hazard over. Penalty. Hazard buries penalty at Kop end. 1-0 to #cfc
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 20, 2015
Can however looked good with the ball at his feet and there is no doubt he is a great and willing runner. Once Gerrard leaves the club in the summer, the German will rightly take his place in the middle of the park but the game again highlighted the lack of specialists in right positions can hurt any team.
Looking forward: Chelsea might rest some key players in the second leg given they would face Manchester City later that week in what would surely be the Premier League title decider if the Blues manage to beat the reigning Champions. A fiery atmosphere might be expected at the Bridge but contrary to Mourinho’s request, Chelsea fans embarrassed themselves chanting about Gerrard and his infamous slip even before the Liverpool captain even emerged from the tunnel.
The irony of Chelsea fans mocking the atmosphere of other grounds when their manager had ridiculed Stamford bridge. Turn up those speakers
— John Smith (@monkey_sponge) January 21, 2015
The second leg will be played in ever greater zest, the Reds though need to focus and believe they can edge out the Blus in a narrow win to edge closer to their first silverware under Brendan Rodgers. Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho were magical and chould either of the two get the edge over Cahill or Terry like last night, we can expect fireworks.