Liverpool recorded their fourth consecutive win and ensured Fernando Torres’ Chelsea debut didn’t go to plan as they completed a League double over last season’s Champions.
Raul Meireles was again the matchwinner, scoring his fourth goal in the last five games as he continues to flourish under new manager Kenny Dalglish.
So do Liverpool as a whole, who have kept four consecutive clean sheets as they move up to sixth and 6 points behind fourth-place Chelsea.
The team news at Stamford Bridge was eagerly anticipated, it was confirmed that Torres would line-up in a three-man diamond attack for the Blues alongside Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, while Dalglish’s line-up raised a few eyebrows as he kept with the three man defence he deployed against Stoke in midweek.
In came Jamie Carragher for his first appearance since dislocating his shoulder against Spurs at the end of November, replacing Soto Kyrgiakos, while Maxi replaced Aurelio in midfield and Suarez started on the bench again with Dirk Kuyt leading the attack.
Liverpool’s tactics and shape worked magnificently as they restricted Chelsea and played a counter attacking game that produced the three points. Lucas Leiva was again impressive in midfield, with an amazing pass completion record of 89%.
Carragher was superb on his comeback, Meireles was energetic and influential supporting the hardworking and industrious Kuyt, while Gerrard also enjoyed an impressive display. In all honesty, each of the Reds 11 were superb.
The only goal of the game arrived when Gerrard broke down the right side and his chipped cross into the box caused confusion between Cech and Ivanovic with Kuyt closing in, as the ball passed them Meireles made a superb run in towards the back post and expertly volleyed the ball back into the net with his weaker foot.
Liverpool could and should have taken the lead in the first half, Maxi Rodriguez with the miss of the season from Gerrard’s cross/shot from the left side but the Argentinian couldn’t keep the ball down and hit the bar from yards out with a gaping goal.
The closest Chelsea came to threatening Liverpool was via a Torres shot which Carra expertly blocked, and late on when they may have an appeal for a penalty when Glen Johnson felled Ivanovic.
The travelling Kop were in full voice. “Where’s your famous plastic flags” and “You should’ve stayed at a big club” rang around the Bridge as Chelsea proudly displayed their newly copied Torres ‘El Nino’ banner – complete with Shankly Gates. Sums up their pathetic support.
It was a great day out in London for the Reds. Next up are Wigan at Anfield on Saturday.