Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (Alonso 10′)
Stadium: Stamford Bridge, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 26 October 2008
Kickoff: 14:30 BST, 9:30 ET
Liverpool struck early and held on late to end Chelsea’s 86 match home unbeaten streak to win this top-of-the-table clash. Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below!
Despite coming into this match level on points, Liverpool’s domestic form couldn’t be more different than Chelsea’s. While Chelsea have been winning comfortably (what amounted to their B-Team easily beat Middlesbrough, 5-0, last weekend), Liverpool have made a habit of falling behind early and then coming back late. With great escapes against Manchester United, Manchester City, and Wigan, the skeptics have dismissed Liverpool as a team that has been more lucky than good. As such, you can be sure that Liverpool will be looking to shed this label and prove that they are for real.
Both squads have their injury issues, so we might not see their top squads on display. Chelsea are still missing Didier Drogba, who is recovering with a serious knee injury (although there’s an outside chance he could be fit by Sunday) and Michael Ballack, who remains out after having surgery on his feet, and are waiting word on Joe Cole and Ashley Cole. However, Chelsea got a boost when Ricardo Carvalho and Petr Cech came back during the midweek Champions League clash with Roma.
As for Liverpool, they’ll be without star Fernando Torres, and could be missing Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, and Xabi Alonso, who all left Wednesday’s clash with Atletico Madrid with injuries. The trio will remain a game-time decision, and if Liverpool has to play without them, then it will be hard to envision another great escape for the Reds.
It’s easily the biggest match of the season, thus far. Unbeaten Chelsea will put their incredible home winning streak on the line against unbeaten Liverpool. Both teams are desperate for a win in order to create some separation at the top of the table. It should be a heck of match.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry (c), A. Cole, Mikel, Kalou, Deco, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka
Subs: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Alex, Belletti, Sinclair, Di Santo.
No surprises for Chelsea. Wayne Bridge’s brief run as starter is over as Ashley Cole is fit to start at left back once again. His brother from another mother, Joe Cole, will miss out, though. Cech, Deco, and Carvalho all started the midweek clash with Roma after missing last weekend’s rout of Middlesbrough (although Deco came on as a sub in that match).
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt Gerrard (c), Riera, Keane.
Subs: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Babel, Lucas, Pennant, Dossena, Benayoun.
Good news for Liverpool fans as Gerrard, Alonso, and Keane have all been deemed fit for this match. There will be two changes from the side that drew with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Dossena will make way for Aurelio while Kuyt comes in for Benayoun.
There goes the 86 match unbeaten streak and Liverpool are all alone in first place, having beaten both Chelsea and Manchester United. Is this their year? We shall see. Thanks to everyone who followed along. See you next time!
90′ + 3 Di Santo takes what might have been Chelsea’s last shot as his long-range effort is well off the mark. There’s the whistle and Liverpool have won!
90′ + 2 Liverpool fans are celebrating, which is surprising. They should know better than anyone about pulling out late goals.
90′ + 1 Three minutes will be added on. Three minutes for Chelsea to keep their 86 match unbeaten streak alive. Anelka gets the pass in the box and tries to head it on goal, but it goes out for a goal kick.
90′ Deco takes Riera down from behind and he’s lucky he doesn’t get his second yellow on the day. Hyppia will enter the game for Riera.
89′ Mikel tries the long-range shot, but it sails into the stands. Liverpool will take that any day.
88′ Lucas will come on for Liverpool, replacing Kuyt.
87′ Belletti takes an ill-advised shot from long range that sails well over the crossbar.
86′ Kuyt gets deep down the right flank and he sends a cross towards Babel in the box that Cech knocks away. Everyone was holding their breaths there.
85′ Sinclair comes in for Bosingwa, who was a disappointment today.
84′ Anelka gets it in the box and flicks it towards Deco, who is deep down the left side of the box. He tries to center it, but Liverpool clear it away. Meanwhile, Mikel and Arbeloa get into it, but it comes to nothing.
82′ Carragher makes another good play to stop Anelka’s run down the right flank. The commentators talk about what a shame it is that England can’t call on his services. Well, there’s only one person to blame for that… Chelsea throw into the box and Lampard heads it on goal, but it’s weak and Reina easily takes it.
81′ Great passing by Liverpool in the attacking half leads to a ball into the box behind Riera that gets cleared away by Carvalho. Liverpool fans are jumping up and down in the stands. Let the fat lady sing first, guys.
80′ Chelsea on the attack, but Bosingwa’s cross attempt is taken by Reina.
79′ Mascherano is fouled by Deco and the Chelsea man gets booked.
77′ Corner to Chelsea and Reina is caught in no man’s land. Turns out, he was elbowed in the head by Terry and the Chelsea skipper is called for the foul. Tempers flare afterward as Reina and Terry get into it. Good job by Webb to keep things from getting out of control. Babel gets it and takes a shot from long range that misses the post by about an inch or so. That would have been game, set, match right there.
76′ Good chance for Chelsea as Anelka nearly beats Agger into the box, but Agger recovers to make the tackle. Deco then gets it on the left edge of the box and seems to have a good chance, but Carragher comes out of nowhere to make the great tackle. That could have been a match-saving tackle right there by Carragher.
75′ Anelka sends in the cross from the right flank and it’s towards Di Santo. He gets his head on it, but it’s wide of the post and is out for a goal kick. Di Santo’s got hops, I’ll give him that.
74′ Mikel gets called for a foul and Liverpool have a free kick from about 30 yards out or so. Gerrard goes for goal, but it’s wide of the far post.
73′ Cole has a golden opportunity after Di Santo gets into the box and heads it towards the on-rushing Cole. Cole is all alone with Reina, but Cole shanks it well wide of the post. They don’t come any more gift-wrapped than that. Man, Cole’s having a rough month. Not as bad as last year, when those cheating allegations came out, but still pretty bad.
72′ Cole gets fouled in the attacking half and they’ll have a free kick close to the midfield line. Bosingwa tries to play it into the box to Lampard, but it bounces behind him.
70′ Belletti tries to play it through to Cole, who’s beaten his man, but it’s too strong and it goes out for a goal-kick.
68′ Mascherano gets sprung down the right after Gerrard spots him running all by himself. He’s all alone with the keeper, but passes up the shot. He tries to cross it back to Babel, but Babel isn’t ready for it and Chelsea escape. Mascherano should have shot that one, but they don’t pay him to score goals, do they?
67′ Carragher’s clearance goes off Di Santo and Chelsea have a chance here. Carragher recovers and closes down Di Santo nicely. Excellent defending. I’m not a fan of the man, but Carra’s had a great game.
66′ Free kick goes into the box, but Cech takes it.
65′ Gerrard makes a great through-pass to Babel, but he can’t get on the end of it and Chelsea clear it away. Cole fouls Babel by taking his legs out from under him. He’s lucky if he doesn’t get booked. Webb takes out a yellow, but it’s for Mascherano, who was calling for Cole to get his second yellow.
64′ This play sums up Anelka nicely. He makes a brilliant run with the ball and dribbles past two defenders. Then he loses it after making the sloppy pass. Ugh.
62′ Alonso takes the free kick and it’s a brilliant effort that gets past the wall and catches Cech wrong footed. It hits the post, though, and Chelsea knock it away for a corner. Aurelio’s corner is poor and Cech easily takes it. Wow. What a strike from Alonso, though.
61′ Riera takes a boot to the face from Belletti and Liverpool have another good free kick chance from about 30 yards out or so.
60′ Keane will come off for Babel.
59′ Golden chance for Chelsea as Belletti whips a great cross into the box from the right and Cole gets on the end of it. He can’t head it on target, and it bounces to Di Santo. It’s too high for him, otherwise he would have beaten Reina easily. Liverpool are able to clear it away from danger.
58′ Kuyt has a good chance from just outside the box, but it curls away from the far post. Kalou will come off for Di Santo while Malouda will come off for Belletti. Not really a surprise there, as Kalou and Malouda were mediocre, at best, today.
57′ Bosingwa lifts a cross from the right flank, but Reina comes out to catch it.
56′ A. Cole with a stupid challenge on Carragher that earns him a yellow. Meanwhile, Di Santo looks like he’ll be coming on for Chelsea.
55′ Good free kick chance from about 30 yards out or so. Aurelio takes it and goes for goal, but it’s well over the bar and barely troubles Cech. Back the other way and Malouda is through but is offsides. Reina takes Malouda out inside the box, but it won’t be a card because of the offside call. Liverpool dodge a bullet as Reina’s professional foul on Malouda is negated. Otherwise, Liverpool would have been in big trouble.
54′ Good buildup by Liverpool as Alonso finds Kuyt and he threads a nice through ball to Arbeloa. Malouda gets booked for a hard tackle on Arbeloa, and it’s a smart foul since Arbeloa had plenty of space to make a move into the box.
52′ Back the other way as Lampard plays it through to Malouda in the box. Malouda decides to cross it rather than take that shot, and it proves to be an unwise decision. Malouda, Kalou, and Anelka are really struggling today.
51′ Riera makes a nice run and beats his man. He sends it to Gerrard, who tries the long-range shot. Carvalho is there to block it, though. Otherwise that could have been interesting.
50′ Bosingwa is fouled by Aurelio on the right flank. Lampard sends it into the box from about 30 yards out. Liverpool are able to clear it away, though.
48′ Mikel gets called for a foul in his own half on Riera. It’s pretty far away, so I wouldn’t expect a shot. Sure enough, they play it short and Gerrard threads it to an unmarked Mascherano, who tries to play it through to Keane. Chelsea knock it away, though. Mascherano probably should have shot that one.
47′ Gerrard tries to spring Riera down the left, but he puts too much on his pass and Bosingwa gets to it first.
46′ Liverpool will get it at the start of the half. They kick off and here we go! Liverpool attack early on and Riera sends a great through ball to Keane in the box, but it’s just behind the Irishman and Chelsea are able to knock it away.
46′ Liverpool has been defending well (especially Carragher), but they’re giving Deco a lot of room in midfield. If Chelsea are to come back, you can bet that their Portuguese maestro will probably be involved. Unless Benitez switches things up at halftime, of course.
Great match so far! Liverpool struck early and really took it to their hosts, however Chelsea recovered and spent most of the half camped out in the Liverpool half of the field. They knocked on the door a few times, but weren’t able to put one past Reina. Second half should be interesting, although the loss of Joe Cole really hurts Chelsea, since Kalou has been shaky on that left wing.
45′ + 1 One minute will be added on. Mikel makes a good run down the left and beats three defenders. He wins the throw, but before Chelsea can do anything with it, there goes the whistle and we’re at the half.
44′ Kuyt gets it deep and sends it into the box for Keane. Keane lays it off to Gerrard, who tries to thread it through to Riera. Bosingwa blocks it, but he and his brethren then have some miscommunication in the back. The ball was sitting there, untouched, until Chelsea finally recovered. Too bad Liverpool didn’t have more guys in the box.
43′ Chelsea have dominated possession these last few minutes, but they have nothing to show for it. Still, they recovered nicely from the opening goal and should feel better about things going into the half.
42′ Chelsea get called for a foul on the corner. Reina will kick it away.
41′ Deco’s shot from long-range takes a deflection out for a corner.
39′ Lampard has a free kick from about 30 yards out. He goes for goal, but it’s right at Mascherano’s noggin, who does a good job blocking that kick with his face. Riera then tries to clear it away and it takes a deflection out past the touchline. Refs give the goal kick as it looks like it might have come off Lampard. Of course, Lampard begs to differ.
38′ Lampard sends in the free kick towards the box, but Terry is well marked and can’t head it on target. Ball goes out and Gerrard is booked for a hard tackle on Bosingwa. Not sure if he deserved that booking, but it was a pretty rough looking challenge.
36′ Gerrard loses it to Lampard (are you watching, Fabio?) in the center of the field and Lampard lays it off to Deco. Deco makes a move towards his left and fires just wide of the post. Deco probably held onto it longer than he should have, but it was still a good shot.
35′ Mikel lays it off to Kalou, who sends it back out. Bosingwa sends a great cross from the right flank and it bounces just behind Lampard in the box and he can’t get any power on the shot. Deco gets it and sends it out to Bosingwa and he sends in another good cross into the box, but Carragher knocks it away. Poor giveaway from Alonso gives Chelsea another opportunity, but Kalou is tackled on the edge of the box.
34′ Lampard sends it into the box, but Mascherano is able to head it away. Deco curls the cross into the box, but Carragher heads it away. Stout defending from Liverpool.
33′ Good pressure from Chelsea that leads to a corner after Lampard’s shot is deflected out by Mascherano.
31′ Good idea from Mikel as he lobs it over-the-top to Kalou who gets behind the Liverpool defense. He can’t control the ball, though, and it’s out for a goal kick.
30′ Shaky moment for Liverpool as Lampard’s long cross from the right is poorly cleared by Arbeloa and Cole gets it deep in the Liverpool box. He sends it out to Kalou, who has a great shot from the edge of the box, but he chooses to play it forward to Cole. It’s clear that Cole wasn’t expecting it and Carragher knocks it away.
27′ Riera takes on Bosingwa again. This time, Bosingwa holds his ground and Riera goes down. No foul, though. It’s interesting to see this, as Chelsea have been ahead so much this year, Bosingwa hasn’t had to do that much defending and has been free to attack.
26′ Riera makes a run towards goal and he lays it off to Kuyt, who makes the run down the left. Riera gets it back and gets around Bosingwa again, but his cross is knocked away for a Liverpool throw.
25′ Corner is knocked away by Chelsea, but Liverpol get it back and reset their offense. Kuyt eventually loses the ball and Chelsea go on the break.
24′ Gerrard with a great effort from long-range and Cech has to tip it over the bar to concede the corner. It pains me to say this, but Gerrard might be the best long-range shooter I’ve ever seen.
23′ Deco lays it off to Bosingwa on the right, and he sends a really good cross into the box for Kalou, but Kalou can’t get his head on it quickly enough, and it’s just over the crossbar. Deco then finds Kalou again on a long cross, but he’s offsides.
21′ Deco sends a creative ball into the middle of the box for Anelka, but he gets outmuscled by Carragher and the Brit knocks it away easily. Riera then gets booked for a shoulder-to-shoulder tackle on Bosingwa.
18′ Deco slots the ball through to Kalou, but it’s long and out for a goal kick.
17′ Riera makes a great move to shake Bosingwa out of his cleats. Riera keeps it though, and he hits the side of the net. Meanwhile, Keane and Gerrard were in the box and had a better shot. As such, both men are chewing Riera out. Quite rightly, too (although it was a great move to get around Bosingwa).
16′ Riera makes a nice cross into the box for Keane, but it’s slightly behind him. Alonso tries to recover the ball, but he gets called for the foul. No card, though, as Webb just wants to talk. BTW, our fourth official is Mr. Rob Styles. Thankfully, he isn’t the lead official.
15′ Lampard makes a nice pass that goes through to Kalou, but Kalou’s shot is weak and easily handled by Reina. Lampard really hung in there to make that pass and got wiped out by Carragher.
14′ Riera makes a run down the left, but Carvalho makes a great tackle to stop him, otherwise, he would have run unimpeded into the box. Good play between Keane and Kuyt as they try to break down the Chelsea defense, but Keane’s return pass is long and Chelsea go on the attack.
13′ Must be a strange feeling for both teams. Chelsea haven’t been behind much this season and Liverpool haven’t been ahead this early in a long time.
12′ Gerrard almost gets through behind the Chelsea defense after Kuyt sends it his way. Gerrard slips, though, and he can’t add to the Liverpool lead.
10′ GOAL! Arbeloa throws it into the box and Kuyt flicks it towards Keane. Keane sends it back to Alonso, who takes the shot from the edge of the box. It takes a wicked deflection off Bosingwa and it’s in for the goal! We’ll wait and see whether it’s judged as an own goal, but terrible defending from Chelsea.
9′ Both sides are still feeling each other out. Chelsea have had most of the possession thus far, but they haven’t really threatened.
8′ Malouda gets open on the left flank, but Arbeloa makes a good tackle on him to take it away. Bosingwa then sends it through to Kalou on the right flank, but he’s called offsides.
5′ Nothing doing on the corner. Chelsea try to set up another chance, but Anelka is called offsides.
4′ Almost a howler for Liverpool as Alonso passes it back to Mascherano, but the Argentine slips and the result is a giveaway to Anelka. Anelka has a good chance here, but he gets closed down pretty well. The ball goes back to Deco, who takes the shot, but it’s deflected out for a corner. The corner is knocked away by Liverpool.
3′ Ashley Cole gets open deep down the left flank. He sends it out to Mikel, who tries to pick out Kalou, who is deep down the right flank. It’s long, though, and out for a goal-kick.
2′ Anelka is going against his old team today. Then again, that can be said about quite a few clubs. Gerrard and Keane try to do a one-two in the Chelsea half of the field, but Keane’s return pass is too strong and Reina takes it.
1′ Chelsea kick off and here we go! Howard Webb is our ref today. Nice long pass from Carragher to Riera, who is deep down the left flank. His pass to Gerrard is poor, though, and it’s an early giveaway.
0′ They’re lining up in the tunnel and are ready to come on to the pitch.
0′ Liverpool’s big guns will play, which should make things interesting. I don’t think they’ll be able to pull out the win at Chelsea, but a draw isn’t out of the question. In fact, I’ll bet 2-2.
0′ Speaking of managerial changes, I actually think that the Special One would be a great choice to replace Sir Alex. He’s used to the spotlight, he’s experienced, he’s accomplished, and he’s accustomed to handling big egos (especially his own). Keane is still too inexperienced and Queiroz’s struggles with Portugal (not to mention his previous stint with Real Madrid) make me concerned that he might be a better assistant than head man. Hughes and Bruce are experienced, but have never been with a big club (although City is certainly trying to become one). Plus, we know Mourinho hates Arsene Wenger. What more can you ask for?
0′ First, a bit about the managerial changes in the EPL. I guess I’m not surprised that Harry Redknapp took over at Spurs, since it was rumored for so long. I am a little surprised, considering that it looked like he was really building something good at Portsmouth. Then again, if he turns Spurs around, then he’ll look like a genius. I’m also surprised Juande Ramos got fired. I figured that if he wasn’t fired after the loss to Hull, then he probably had blackmail photos of Daniel Levy or something. Oh well. So much for that theory.
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the gigantic Chelsea v. Liverpool match! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger today! I’m really looking forward to this match, and I can only hope that it lives up to its hype.
No need to mince words. This is a huge win for Liverpool, especially considering that the didn’t even have their best goal scorer in the lineup. They seem to believe that this is their year, and this match is the kind that they would have lost in previous years. It takes a lot to shut down Chelsea’s powerful attack, especially at Stamford Bridge, and a lot of credit has to go to Liverpool’s defense, particularly Carragher. It’s still early, but Liverpool are looking great, and barring a spectacular setback, should be in contention until the end of the season.
As for Chelsea, it’s a setback for them, but it’s not the end of the world. Their inability to score is an area of concern, but it was clear that they really missed Joe Cole on the wing as Kalou looked awful. Malouda’s string of solid performances also came to an end as he was largely invisible. Bosingwa also disappointed, while Lampard was a non-factor for much of the match. Deco had a lot of room to maneuver, but he wasn’t able to get results from his teammates as Chelsea really lacked creativity inside the box. We’ll see how they bounce back, but it’s clear that they’re still a title contender. They have too much talent not to be.
Man of the Match:
With a dominant position in midfield, Carragher showed that, on his best day, he is still an elite defender who is among the best in the world. You might not like the man or agree with his views (like the whole England thing, for instance), but he turned in a world class performance today. He made countless key defensive plays to cut short Chelsea’s attacks, and made a game-saving tackle on Deco when it looked like he was going to equalize. As for his teammates, Gerrard turned in another solid performance, as he distributed the ball brilliantly from midfield and outplayed his counterpart, Frank Lampard, so thoroughly that the latter better hope that Capello wasn’t watching this match.