IT’S ALWAYS hard to lose a game, but to lose to arguably the worst Liverpool side for decades (with only a couple of players excused from that description) is depressing indeed. We made Konchesky look a reasonable player for goodness sake!
I have been concerned with our away form for quite some time and I’m afraid that the result against Liverpool was called by quite a number of Blues fans that I spoke to prior to the game.
This standing off teams for an entire half makes no sense whatsoever. We have got away with it by the skin of our teeth on a couple of occasions more through luck than judgement, but one win in our last four league away games tells its own story.
The pattern in these games is always the same – a poor first half followed by a barn-stormer second – but I was the harbinger of doom after the Blackburn game if you remember. I said that not every team was going to miss gilt edged chances, and so Torres proved with two fabulous finishes.
Ancelotti needs to take some responsibility here too. If Drogba is well enough to sit on the bench and come on if we are in trouble then he is well enough to start. Unless he has a leg hanging off you always start with Drogba against Liverpool, for the psychological edge if nothing else. Also, whatever the question is, Kalou is not the answer. And why substitute Ivanovic, who as usual, seemed to be the only player in the first half that had any real sense of urgency?
One thing that was evident from the delirious celebrations following their win, is the role reversal both clubs have undergone. The Scousers celebrated like they had just won the league at the final whistle, where as we were embarrassed to have lost to such a lowly side.
It was a long drive back to London which provided plenty of time to think about our next four away games . . . Birmingham, Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal . Ancelotti needs to sort out his tactics and quickly as we will be made to pay for the kind of sloppy play we have been guilty of recently.
One thing that was evident from the Liverpool game was how much we do miss Lampard – the midfield was often static on Sunday and you know that Lampard would have changed that. He runs down those channels that he works hard to create and his nine years with us have demonstrated that when he does that, there is often a goal at the end of it.
As an aside, not that it had any bearing on the game, but I was surprised not to see Howard Webb swapping shirts with Steven Gerard at the final whistle.
Daniel Sturridge seems to be dividing opinion amongst the supporters at the moment. Personally, I think he has looked vibrant and hungry when he has been bought on for us lately.
He has missed the odd chance but that is often a manifestation of the constant bench-warmer. I think a bit more playing time and he would eclipse the hapless Kalou.
As you may have guessed, I am not a fan of the Ivorian, but he does have the very pleasing habit of popping up with the odd goal. The problem you have though, especially when he starts, is that his concentration seems to wander and he seems often to be totally unaware when the ball comes to him. This causes him either to fall over the ball, produce a panic pass direct to the opposition or stand wide-eyed as the ball completely bypasses him. It is very frustrating to watch – and for fickle individuals such as myself, any good that he does is completely over-shadowed by this other side of his play.
He is still young – I am often reminded when I go into one of my (increasingly common) Kalou rants, but he has now been playing regularly in the Premiership for quite some time, and I would have expected these negative aspects of his game to have diminished substantially.
So tonight we play host to the other team in Fulham who have had a fairly uninspiring season so far and then Sunderland at the weekend whose results seem unpredictable in the extreme. I’m hoping for fully fledged warfare in the Manchester derby and a minor miracle at Molineux – perhaps Mick McCarthy can render the Arsenal players drowsy by the use of his monotone downbeat moaning – Deputy Dawg on mogodon.
Our lead at the top has gone from healthy to fragile, but no one said it was going to be easy. League titles these days are not handed out to just anyone, otherwise I’m sure the powers that be would have found a way to gift one to Liverpool in the last 20 years – after all they have already bestowed a sainthood on Gerrard – to go with his aura of untouchability.
Yes, I am a sore loser. I hope the team are hurting as much – let Fulham and Sunderland pay the price.
Come on Chelsea!!!