|photo by Free-ers||via PhotoRee|
Correspondent Scott may not be so happy by this time next week:
Liverpool thoroughly outplayed Chelsea in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final leg at Anfield. Unfortunately, of their 19 shots (6 on target), they only converted one, largely due to the heroic efforts of Thibault Courtois. Meanwhile, a lackluster Chelsea squad managed only two shots with only one of those on target. Yet, theirs being a penalty, the final score ended even and sets the stage for a must-score situation for the Reds in the return fixture. Scotland Yard needs to investigate this most outrageous of stolen victories.
I can happily write that reports of Liverpool’s demise this season were premature. They may not consistently keep this form through the end of the season but they are winning games and dominating top competition. With a more settled back three of Can, Skrtl and Sakho, a re-found Lucas, the surging Moreno and Markovic, the sparingly used Gerrard, the workhorse Henderson, the shifty Coutinho and the speedy Sterling, Liverpool gave the visiting Blues much more than they could handle. They attacked, they pressed and they eventually starting picking the locks on Chelsea’s defense. Were it not for an unfortunate error by Emre Can who then overcommitted and bundled Eden Hazard, it would be the Reds now in pole position.
For large stretches of the game, Chelsea couldn’t complete more than one or two passes before Liverpool won the ball back and pressed forward again. This was even more true in the second half when Liverpool actually began to make use of their possession and get their shots on target. The substitute Adam Lallana was especially unfortunate to see his well-vollied shot parried away by the diving Courtois. And Gerrard hit the post. And there were other close calls all while Simon Mignolet at the other end was rarely called on to do more than field a ball passed to his feet and pass it back.
Yes, Jose Voldemourinho is likely treating this game like the first half of the two ties, but if Liverpool are able to muster the same energy and creativity, while eliminating any defensive mistakes, Stamford Bridge just might go falling down next Tuesday.
This is farlieonfootie for January 21.