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Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool Match Report
Glen Johnson grabbed a late winner at the death to take 3 points for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Maxi Rodriguez gave the Reds a deserved half-time lead with a clinical finish after a quick move from Liverpool. The lead after half-time was short-lived as Daniel Sturridge fired home from close range.
On a day when Fernando Torres and Raul Meireles met their former club, it was actually Chelsea old boy Glen Johnson who had the last laugh on his former employers to give Liverpool a much needed 1-2 win.
Manager Kenny Dalglish made 3 changes to the team that faced Swansea. Dirk Kuyt got the nod as well as Craig Bellamy, who Kenny hoped would recreate some of the form he showed over the international break where he was a central figure for Wales against Norway. The team sheet also saw the surprise inclusion of Maxi Rodriguez, making his first start of the campaign.
The game started lively, both teams offering attacks and Maxi Rodriguez was almost through on goal twice, but was denied by John Terry and Ivanovic, outmuscling him out of the way. The Argentine looked to capitalize on his poor start and show manager Kenny what he has to offer.
Chelsea also offered a goal threat, with the likes of Juan Mata, Drogba and Lampard all starting and they were almost ahead after 10 minutes. Florent Malouda managed to skip past right-back Glen Johnson brilliantly, and swung in a cross to the back post, but Mata could not take advantage of his shot and flashed his shot across the face of the goal. John Obi Mikel then tried a great effort at goal from 25 yards out, only for his shot to clear the crossbar.
It then appeared that Chelsea had taken the lead, as far as thousands in the stadium and at home believed. Didier Drogba won a free kick on the edge of the area and stepped up to take it. The ball appeared to have hit the back of the net but on second glance it had narrowly missed the post and bounced along the outside of the net. A chance for the Reds.
It was soon Liverpool’s turn to threaten Chelsea’s goal once again; John Terry lost the ball in a dangerous position to Dirk Kuyt, who released Suarez, fresh off a 4-goal demolition of Uruguay. But the striker was unable to pick out forwards Maxi or Craig Bellamy.
Liverpool quickly made up for the missed opportunities earlier. Mikel this time was cleared inside his own half, with quick pressing from Charlie Adam allowing Craig Bellamy to pick up the ball playing a one-two with Suarez before feigning a shot to put through Maxi on the left, who left with the simple task of slotting past the Cech goalkeeper. A precise move saw Liverpool finally convert an opportunity, which has become a bit of a struggle of late.
Then the lead was almost extended to two. He put a defense pass from Lucas Leiva through Luis Suarez, but the Uruguayan’s first-time cross deflected off David Luiz and almost nestled into the net.
With Chelsea behind, Villas Boas had to change things. Mikel was replaced with Daniel Sturridge at half time. The change seemed to have worked, they stepped out quickly and created an immediate opportunity. Mata and Lampard combined cleverly to free Drogba, but the Ivorian could only lift the ball over the bar.
But the equalizer came after 55 minutes. Malouda was allowed to advance into the box, before his wayward shot found Sturridge at the back post, who made no mistake and slotted it into the corner from close range.
Chelsea were on top and very nearly made it two, a shot from David Luiz from the resulting free kick was skilfully kept out by Reina with an instinctive save.
Kenny Daglish tried to his bench to strengthen the midfield. Craig Bellamy managed to make way for Jordan Henderson, another player who shone during the international break.
Malouda’s overhead kick received a standing ovation from the Chelsea crowd but that was where the honors ended as Reina watched it slide comfortably past the post. The Frenchman then had the best chance of the game to make Chelsea’s dominance count in the second half but his shot from close range went wide of the target.
Former Reds Torres and Meireles then made their bows, greeted by a barrage of jeers from the traveling Kop, drowning out cheers from the home fans. But it was Liverpool who threatened, with a sublime piece of skill from Henderson seeing him skip past Ashley Cole through nutmeg and then avoid a sliding challenge from John Terry, cross for Downing, who stopped Kuyt but the Dutchman’s shot was quite the opposite of the accumulation.
After 87 minutes it looked as if the game was heading for a draw, with neither team able to manage a shot. Until Charlie Adam picked up the ball in the middle of the field and found the former blue, Johnson with his trademark left footed pass. The right back nutmegged Ashley Cole and steamed into the box finding himself one on one with Petr Cech, finishing clinically with his left foot to give Liverpool the spoils. A deserved win at Stamford Bridge for the second year in a row.
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