Sunday, October 26, 2008

Burning the Bridge

There's much from this morning's action to recap, including the beyond successful Pie Off, but first, a few thoughts about the football:

• I think it was Gerrard's finest match of the season. Away from home, against Chelsea, he was in perfect control in linking the play from defense to attack. At times, Gerrard can be a bit careless with the ball and deliver passes that miss their mark, leaving the defense susceptible to a quick counter from the opposition. This can be particularly dangerous against Chelsea, but Gerrard was brilliant. He stayed close with Keane early, worked well with Riera on moving the ball forward and just generally never lost his head. Of course Carragher, Agger, Mascherano and Alonso were fantastic in the back, but for me, Gerrard was man of the match. His superb play allowed Liverpool to continue going forward and threaten to add to the lead. It caught Chelsea by surprise that Liverpool didn't entirely try to sit on the lead. His yellow for a brilliant tackle on Mikel was a travesty, as the tackle was perfect and had opened the field for an excellent counter attack.

• My early suspicion that failing to sign Gareth Barry and having to "settle" for Riera will prove a blessing in disguise is looking more prescient every week. Riera is outstanding on the left and he rendered Boswinga impotent on the right. For the first two months, Boswinga has been outstanding for Chelsea, adding a new dimension and making them so impressive even though they are missing so many through injury. But today Riera owned Chelsea's right flank. His control and execution while on the ball never wavered, and in concert with Gerrard, kept the side strong despite missing Torres.

• Overall, Liverpool – despite the lucky deflection for the score – were better than Chelsea in every aspect. They were unlucky to not score at least two. Sure, you can say Drogba would have changed the game, but without Torres, it has to be considered an even swap to have both sides missing their best striker. Chelsea were largely unimaginative, the majority of their chances came from long range, and the expected second half surge never materialized. At no point near the end could Chelsea force Liverpool to resort to breathless defending. I was surprised it didn't happen, but Liverpool throttled the life out of their attack. It was a remarkable statement of intent from Liverpool and an incredibly fun day.

No comments: