Afterthoughts from the Reds’ home defeat to Chelsea

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By @Gaius78910

-Chelsea were just the better side at Anfield

The 1-2 scoreline clearly spelled a narrow defeat for home side. Liverpool manager Rodgers was quick to express his disappointment over the supposed penalty, saying, “We are very disappointed by that.”

“This was a big decision in a big game – a clear handball. The referee had a clear look at it, but that sums us up at the moment, we are not getting the rub of the green.”

But had Liverpool really deserved a point from yesterday’s clash at Anfield? Hardly so. Despite getting off to a really positive start by taking an early lead through Emre Can’s deflected shot, the Reds’ backline soon disintegrated into a bunch of nerves once Chelsea began to settle into the game and turn on the pressure. Lovren, mysteriously preferred over Toure, looked particularly uncomfortable with Chelsea’s pressing whenever he was on the ball and Skrtel almost got into a nasty tussle with Diego Costa. Eden Hazard was a constant menace and had the Reds scrambling on more than one occasion to deny him.

On the other hand, Liverpool did have creative outlets in Sterling and Coutinho, who were both keen to exploit any space they found but often did they run into Chelsea’s tough standing defence, which under the marshal of Blues captain John Terry, put in a composed performance to see off their opponents as opposed to their counterparts in red.

However, Chelsea’s unbuckling defence too had Nemanja Matic to thank, as the Serbian proved a vital midfield shield for his defence, a kind of player which Liverpool (with all respect to Gerrard) have sought to find but currently don’t have. The veteran Liverpool man has seen mixed days in his deeper midfield role with his influence on a game particularly limited whenever opponents press him constantly. That said, while Balotelli once again had a frustrating day to forget, his counterpart in Blue was wheeling away in delight having netted to put his side ahead.

While it is completely naive to be placing the blame at Balotelli’s feet, the contrast between the two sides, who just a few months back were both in the heat of a title race, was simply on display yesterday. Chelsea were the more solid side at the back, the more dominating one in midfield and the more clinical one up front.

-Defeat sums up disappointing week for Rodgers

The below-par performance at Newcastle, the outrage over the line-up in Madrid and now the defeat at home to Chelsea has simply summed up what seems to be Rodgers’ most disappointing week as Liverpool manager this two years or so. The poor display at Newcastle had many scratching their heads but then such was the disappointment in the line-up against Real that a tirade of unfair criticism was directed at Brendan Rodgers, the man who had lead Liverpool to one of their most exciting Premier League season ever.

With yesterday’s defeat came the stark reality that Liverpool probably aren’t title challengers at all this season, and it only stung more for Rodgers when his side were denied a late penalty to salvage a point. A really bad week for Rodgers, but he deserves to be backed and the upcoming international break will be one for him to ponder over his next move to revive his team’s form.