Form is transient – Class is permanent
Liverpool v Chelsea has long been a fixture which brings out the extra factor in the Red men. Today was certainly no different. There was no need for any added motivation, no Gerry Marsden on the pitch rousing the Kop and certainly no plastic flags in attendance. An Anfield in full song and voice was present, the 12th man that has so many times broken the will of Chelsea FC even before kick off.
It was a match where every man on the pitch stood up to be counted. Roy Hodgson fielded a strong side with talisman Fernando Torres, miracle healer Dirk Kuyt, the Brazilian Lucas and youngster Kelly all returning to the starting line up.
The Chelsea players were quick to mention the threat of Fernando Torres in the press conferences prior to the match – rightly so, for it is against Chelsea FC that Fernando seems to really enjoy getting the ball in the back of the net.
The script for this match could very well have been written by the man himself. Criticised as he has been over the past few months, sometimes rightly a lot of the times harshly, this was the perfect reply to his critics in the press. But Kopites know; form is transient – class is permanent and Fernando Torres’s class certainly shone through!
At the 12th minute mark, Nando got the Kopites bouncing! With a beautiful Xabi Alonso-esque ball in from Kuyt, Fernando fired the ball into the back of the net. Peter Cech must have felt a strong sense of de ja vu!
The red men continued to dominate the first half with Lucas Leiva immense in midfield. You would have been excused for mistaking him for the departed Mascherano because his dominance in the middle of the park and his sheer energy in winning every second ball was simply astonishing. Fernando Torres will rightly receive the plaudits for his revival in fortunes today and tomorrow but Lucas Leiva’s contribution should not be ignored. The Brazilian has been the best player all season for Liverpool and at his tender age, he still has massive potential to improve!
Just before half time, Fernando Torres once again managed to get Kopites on their feet. His sublime finish, curling the ball into the corner, leaving Cech rooted to the spot was breathtaking at the least. Fernando Torres was back. With a bang!
Carlo Ancelloti must have been wondering what had gone wrong with his Chelsea team who had conceded only 3 times all season thus far. The simple answer Carlo can be gained by re- watching the semi final between Chelsea in 2005, oh and Istanbul too if you like! This is Liverpool. We might not play the most fluid football, we can’t be compared to Arsenal in terms of fluidity and beauty, but ours is the beauty of sheer grit, determination and punching above our weight.
The second half continued in a fashion Kopites have become accustomed to when playing Chelsea. There was no Gudjonson on the pitch today but the second half introduction of Drogba surely made Kopites anticipate an aerial battle that would need to be won.
Credit to our defence, midfield and attack for pulling together and keeping Chelsea at bay. It was a nervy half that had Kopites holding their breath at every Chelsea attack. But Chelsea were denied by our legend between the sticks; Jose Emaunuel Pepe Reina and the cross bar. Lady luck was smiling on the Reds today.
And still the Kopites sang. The atmosphere was Electric. We watched as the minutes ticked down and our counter attacking play failed to alleviate any stress.
Ngog, Spearing and Jonjo were introduced and Fernando Torres received a standing ovation. Not bad for a player who supposedly had no passion left for Liverpool!
After a few more tense minutes of play and 3 minutes of added time Howard Webb, who had a very good match, blew the final whistle!
You’ll Never Walk Alone was sung with gusto by the Kop, as players and fans were united in their pride at a job very well done.
A historic match indeed for Roy’s reds. Many would have been happy with a hard fought draw before, but this shows Liverpool FC are a team in it for the fight.
So congratulations Liverpool and enjoy the win. Congratulations Fernando Torres, please do share the bubbly with Lucas – for he alongside you was phenomenal today. Others did but we never doubted you!
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