Chelsea 2 Liverpool 0: Match viewpoint from Youtube’s Football With Brownie
The FA Cup is in my opinion dying a slow death. The childhood memories were great from the TV cameras following the team’s coaches up Wembley way to Kevin Moran’s sending off and Dave Bessants penalty save.
Unfortunately as Sky TV money has come into the game and the formation of the Premier League the attitude of the top clubs has been awful at times with many fielding weakened teams even though they still charge supporters full price for their match ticket. In my opinion, the competition is in need of an heart replacement as its currently connected to a life support machine and I still feel that my idea of giving the FA Cup winners the 4th Champions League spot meaning that the 4th place in the Premier League would qualify for Europa League it would deliver that valuable organ inside the operating theatre. The latest move from the Football Association to play the 5th round of this year’s competition during midweek and whether that will help or hinder the competition I’m still unsure.
Going into tonight’s tie at Stamford Bridge the home side made light work of Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Hull City respectfully, but this will be a far tougher test in what is a repeat of the 2012 final, which the blues won 2-1. Frank Lampard’s men have struggled for form in recent weeks, winning just two of their last eight games in all competitions, and need to respond today if they are to prevent their campaign from crumbling.
Liverpool on the other had have lost two of their last three matches in all competitions , going down 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and losing 3-0 at Watford on Sunday – their first Premier League defeat of the season. Jurgen Klopp fielded weakened sides against Everton and Shrewsbury Town in the third and fourth rounds, but those losses have placed added importance on this tie.
Lampard made six changes to Chelsea’s starting line-up on the back of Saturday’s 2-2 league draw at Bournemouth. Kepa returned to the side in place of Caballero, while Rudiger and Zouma take over from Tomori and Andreas Christensen in the heart of defence. There were also recalls for Gilmour, Barkley and Willian, with James, Jorginho and Mount making way as the hosts revert to a 4-3-3 formation.
Evidence that both teams were hungry for the win was quickly on show.
During the first 5 minutes Chelsea’s goalkeeper was brought into action. Rudiger blasted the ball straight at Minamino. Lallana then took advantage down the left and picked out Mane with his cross, but the Senegal International’s shot lacked the power to beat Kepa.
Just 3 minutes later it was the home sides turn to attack as Azpilicueta flicked on a corner but the ball dropped just wife of the far post. Then shortly afterwards at the other end the Reds had a penalty claim. Mane flung himself at Origi’s left-sided cross inside the six-yard box. He was unable to make any connection with it but claimed that he was shoved by Alonso. However the referee waved away his half-hearted appeals.
This really was end –to-end stuff as just 60 seconds after the penalty shout the home side went on the attack as they worked the ball out from the back and Willian switched play to Pedro, who was too casual with his pass and give away possession, however the hosts won the ball back and Barkley’s 30-yard pass is parried by Adrian.
On the 12th minute Liverpool keeper Adrian was in action again as Willian’s low drive was brilliantly kept out by the former West Ham number one. However Adrian’s night then took a nose dive as Chelsea broke the deadlook just shortly afterwards. Willian tried his luck again with a powerful drive from outside the box. Liverpool’s back-up keeper allowed the ball to sneak through him and into the net. It actually was a shocking mistake for him to make.
Understandably after the goal both teams took a breather and slowed the game down as it really was travelling at Lewis Hamilton pace.
The next three opportunities arrived on the 22nd minute and Kepa kept the score line in tact as he marked his return to the side with a sublime triple save. First he kept out Mane’s shot from a few yards out, then Origi’s and then Jones’ efforts, each from inside the box. It was after that I was of the opinion that it just wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s night.
At the half way point of the second half Adrian this time made a save. Giroud did what he does best by peeling off Gomez and nodding down a floated pass into the path of Kovacic. However the midfielder’s edge-of-the-box shot was weak which allowed Adrian to start to make amends from his previous error.
Kepa made another save in the 32rd minute. Mane wriggled away from a few players and gets away a shot that the Chelsea keeper was equal to. The loose ball fell to Williams, who was effectively playing as a right sided forward, but he miscued an awkward chance.
The final chance happened in the 39th minute and fell to Origi. Van Dijk nodded down a cross and Zouma did well to clear it behind for a corner. The resulting set-piece fell nicely for Origi to hit, but he was unable to keep the first-time shot on target.
As the half-time whistle was blown both fans and players alike needed a rest as the first half was full of entertainment with the home side managing to hit 11 shots with 4 being on target, while Liverpool who in reality deserve a goal had 5 of their 9 attempts on target.
The second half started and it took a while for it to really get going, not helped by a lengthy Willian injury stoppage.
The first real opportunity of the half fell in 63rd minute. Chelsea’s Mount elected to shoot from a free-kick and he came inches of scoring. The ball cleared the wall only to hit the crossbar on its way over.
Just a minute after that Chelsea doubled their lead as Barkley produced a fantastic individual effort. He picked up the ball five yards inside his own half, drove forward and hammered a shot past Adrian from range. Once again Adrian didn’t cover himself in glory with his attempt to keep out Barkley’s shot, but credit to the Chelsea midfielder for driving forward and trusting his ability to find the net.
By now, Lampard’s men had breathing space. Yet just a few minutes later they almost got a third which would have wrapped the tie up. Pedro turned over possession inside his own half and raced up the other end. He had just Adrian to beat but was unable to find a way past the Liverpool keeper from the one-on-one.
As the final quarter of the game arrived once again Chelsea came close as the crossbar denied them for a second time. Giroud waited for the ball to drop kindly and when he eventually got a shot away it as pushed onto the frame of the goal by Adrian.
After that attempt the game started to plod along as Liverpool seemed to concede defeat as they failed to test Kepa compared to their five shots on target in the first half.
Confirmation that Liverpool have lost three of their last four games was confirmed once the referee blew the final whistle and they need to quickly pick themselves up ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bournemouth in the Premier League. As for Chelsea, who is in the hat for Wednesday’s draw, host Everton on their return to top-flight action five days from now.