Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Skrtel Strike Not Enough In Chelsea Defeat

The return of vice-captain Daniel Agger shored up the Liverpool defence as they travelled to Chelsea looking to bounce back from the defeat to Man City on Boxing Day and there was a double surprise on the bench as Jordan Rossiter joined Brad Smith who was unused at City.

Liverpool made the perfect start by taking the lead after three minutes as Coutinho swept in a free-kick that Suarez flicked on and saw Skrtel convert from close range to send the travelling fans into delight. Chelsea could have levelled instantly as Hazard tested Mignolet and thought he had scored to be denied by a vital goalline clearance by Johnson with Cahill soon heading wide from a set-piece.

Chelsea pushed to level and came close in the 12th minute as Hazard struck again after nice play from Lampard but saw his Belgian teammate tip the chance over the bar but Mignolet could not prevent his fellow Belgian for a second time as minutes later the midfielder levelled after an Oscar run.

Allen, Suarez and Henderson combined to allow the Uruguayan to hit for goal but was denied by a block from Cahill, but the block proved vital for Chelsea as they soon took the lead with Oscar lifting in a cross for Eto'o who converted past Mignolet to the despair of the travelling fans.

Johnson teed up Sterling with a pinpoint pass and the young winger picked out Allen who hit a curling shot that forced a strong save from Cech as he ensured the Blues led at the break, Liverpool started the second half as they had done the first as they attacked and saw Sakho loop a header past Cech only to be denied as the ball struck the woodwork which saved Chelsea's lead.

Liverpool could have levelled in style as Henderson picked out Suarez who looked to copy his strike against Cardiff with a volley but unfortunately found the thankful Cech but there was a cause for celebration as Brad Smith came on to make his senior debut at the age of 19 coming on for the injured Allen.

Oscar came close to extending the lead when he hit past the post and Suarez picked out Johnson who forced Cech into a diving save to push the effort past the post with Hazard hitting off-target from a similar position but even though Liverpool continued to pressure in the final minutes, they were left to reflect on yet another strong display that saw them go away pointless for the second time this week.