Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chelsea 0 - 1 Liverpool: Reaction

Though I wasn't able to catch every second of this match since the feed I was watching wasn't exactly the most reliable, I saw enough to be disappointed in what was the extremely hyped-up debut of Fernando Torres against his old club.

El Nino didn't play a terrible game, but he sure didn't live up to his £50 million price tag. Unfortunately for him the critics will be after him no matter what unless he puts up massive numbers. However, the rest of the team wasn't playing well either. There were too many punchless crosses into the area and not enough confidence to beat a man one-on-one. It seems to me that the nerves and excitement of Torres and his debut got to them. There were a couple legitimate penalty claims in the second half, but I'm going to dismiss those as Liverpool really should have been up by two as Maxi Rodriguez missed an absolute sitter in the first half.

I was surprised that Carlo Ancelotti started John Obi Mikel over Florent Malouda in the midfield. I think Mikel is pretty much the exact same player as Michael Essien, so I don't think they need to be on together. Malouda's creativity would have benefited the attacking game much more than what we saw out there. I suppose that move was made because Ancelotti went with three attackers in Anelka, Drogba and Torres, but I still think Malouda would have been a good fit and wouldn't have taken too much away from the defensive game.

Keeping David Luiz on the bench, however, was a move I agreed with. Without any Premier League experience, Chelsea can afford to ease him into the English game whereas Torres is expected to start producing right away. Luiz did look pretty solid in his short appearance towards the end of the match, and I'm expecting him to become a big part of the back four in the months and years to come.

However it was all very disappointing as Chelsea missed out on a big (and very rare) opportunity to gain some ground on Manchester United. The way things are going with them, their loss to Wolves on Saturday might be their only loss of the season!

While this loss stings, it's not the end of the world. The league title seems all but out of reach this year, but I expect them to finish in the top four.

The real focus is Europe. With the Champions League knockout stages starting up this month, the big elusive prize is back in sight for the Blues, and really that's all that matters to me!

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