A very poor game, obscures the fact that a team of teenagers, playing away from home, managed to give a team of highly paid stars a good run for their money. Flanagan, Coates, Wisdom, Henderson, Coady, Shelvey and Morgan are all eligible for the U21s! Leaving Jones, Carra, Cole and Downing the “senior” members of the team, to “help” the youngsters.
However, we lost, and that is a recurring theme this season, and last season, when we could and should have done better. Incidentally, the exclusion from the travelling party gives a very good idea of whom Rodgers considers to be the first team. Reina, Johnson, (both injured, but should be ready for Sun) Agger, Skrtel, Allen, Sahin, Gerrard, Sterling and Suarez all didn’t travel, with this Sundays game in mind.
The Reds have a poor record at Stamford Bridge with just 18 wins in the 69 previous visits to the Bridge, while we’ve won just four of the previous 20 meetings in the Premier League at Chelsea. However, three of those four away victories have came in the last four trips to Stamford Bridge, and Liverpool also won there in last season’s Carling Cup tie.
With Brendan Rodgers’ side having only picked up two wins from the previous ten Premier League games this season (11 points from ten games, seven fewer than the same stage last season under Dalglish and one point fewer at the same stage under Hodgson in 2010/11), a positive result would bring a big boost to a relatively young side.
Of the four players to have left Liverpool for Chelsea, three of them have made the move in the past two years. Yossi Benayoun, was the first to leave, sold for a fee of £6m in July 2010 after scoring 29 goals in 134 appearances during the three seasons he spent at Anfield. Fernando Torres was then sold for a British record £50m in January 2011 after scoring 81 times in 142 appearances. Raul Meireles followed Torres just seven months later, sold for a fee of £12m in August 2011. All of which means, Abrahomovich has actually put more money into LFC than Gillette and Hicks ever did.
Predicted Line up
Although it is unlikely, I would prefer to see Rodgers switch to 3-5-2 for this game. Suso has proven unable to make the step up so far this season, but he is young and has time. Better to put in Shelvey as an attacking midfielder, as he has ability, but more importantly, he has the burning desire to win. Win tackles, win the ball, win a fight with Fergie or win a game. And the only other player you can say that about is Suarez. Even Gerrard looks disinterested. Some look like they don’t want to lose, but very few look like they want to win, and there is a big difference. Watch who celebrates when we equalise, and watch who doesn’t have time to celebrate because they want to grab the ball, restart the game, and get on with scoring the winner…