Melwood Today: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool Press Reaction

We’ve just arrived home here following our trip down to Stamford Bridge and what a cracking afternoon’s entertainment of sport it was! Liverpool may have rode our luck at times during the second half against Chelsea but Johnson’s finish was a fitting end to a great game as Liverpool clinched an unbeaten run of nine games…

Here we take a quick look at what have been making Monday Morning’s newspaper back pages and the ThisIsAnfield forums…

johnson Glen Johnson – The Ex Factor Winner

“Everyone talked about the Ex-Factor, about whether it would be Fernando Torres or Raul Meireles biting the hand that once fed them so generously.Nobody expected the ungrateful old boy to be Glen Johnson, who tipped his former Chelsea colleagues into a deepening depression with a magnificent late winner for Liverpool” reported The Telegraph’s Henry Winter.

Kenny’s Team Selection

Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail spoke highly of Kenny’s team selection… “While both managers opted to leave seriously expensive signings on the bench – Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll among them – Kenny Dalglish picked a team capable of exploiting Chelsea’s tactics. With Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy supported by Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool had players who possessed the speed and skill to get in behind Chelsea’s back four and inflict serious damage. They were assisted, in no small part, by the impact Charlie Adam and Lucas had in central midfield.”

The Opening Goal

Liverpool opened the scoring on 34 minutes when Charlie Adam dispossed Mikel, the ball fell to Craig Bellamy who made a one-two with Suarez before finding Maxi who finished a wonderfully crafted goal…

Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow spoke highly of Liverpool teamwork to craft open Maxi’s opening goal “The first, scored by Maxi Rodriguez, was a work of team understanding and appreciation, a grid of slick, intricate passes to punish Chelsea for a terrible defensive mistake.”

johnsonBellamy’s Performance

Criag Bellamy’s involvement in the first goal saw James Lawton of the Independent wax lyrical about the Welshman, “Bellamy not only gave Liverpool a massive injection of early bite and composure, he pushed Chelsea‘s already jumpy defence into the terrain of the nervous breakdown.”

The Team Tactics

Sam Wallace of the Independent went on to say “This was a strange game, one which Liverpool dominated in the first half before the home side resolutely fought their way back into after the break.” “In the first half, Liverpool looked formidable but Villas-Boas’s decision, at half-time, to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Frank Lampard and Ramires holding and Daniel Sturridge in place of John Obi Mikel, changed the game.”

Meanwhile, The Telegraph’s Henry Winter spoke of Kenny’s tactics… “Aware of the high defensive line favoured by Villas-Boas, Dalglish had gone for speed, unleashing Luis Suárez, Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy at John Terry and company.”

The forum members have also been in full voice following the game with member BostonMick praising Dalglish tactics and team selection.. “The toughness and determination showed by the team to come back to win was tremendous. Henderson substitution and timing was just right. Defensively, I thought it was one of the best games of the season for the team.”

The Shot that wasn’t a Goal!!!

Well lets be honest, our heads fell into our hands at Stamford Bridge when we thought Didier Drogba had scored his free kick, well most of Stamford Bridge thought it had gone in… What we didn’t realise was even the Sky Sports commentators thought it had hit the back of the net!!!

johnsonA Magical Johnson Winning Goal gives Chelsea the Blues…

Chelsea‘s equaliser came from Daniel Sturridge in the 55th minute, just before Reina produced a world class save 60 seconds later when a Drogba free kick was headed towards goal by Ivanovic.. Liverpool grabbed the winner with just 3 minutes remaining…

The Independent’s Sam Wallace went on to speak of Johnson’s goal “There was, however, no quibbling with the quality of the winning goal. It began with Charlie Adam, one of Liverpool’s most influential players, who hit a pass from left to right out to Johnson. He ran inside Ashley Cole, who never got a tackle in. Malouda’s attempt to catch the full-back was risible and as the space opened up, Johnson tucked his shot past John Terry on the line.

In his post match interview, Kenny Dalglish also spoke of Johnson’s fantastic solo strike three minutes from time… “It’s not bad when your right full-back does it – and it gives you an indication of the commitment and what the players were hoping to get out of the game,” added Dalglish. “We’re happy with how we’ve played and delighted with the three points. It was a great finish by Glen. I don’t know what he was doing in there but it was a great finish.”

James Lawton of the Independent spoke of how Glen Johnson has reminded everybody that he is capable of some extremely polished performances… “Glen Johnson’s winner was taken with brilliant aplomb and he was agreeably free from some of the stridency that tends to build when a big-name player finds himself out of the spotlight. Yes, he has had injury problems, and, yes, his England career has gone into fairly chilly storage, but here was a chance to remind everyone, not least his old club, that he was capable of some extremely polished performance.”

johnsonAdam’s Midfield Performance

TIA forum Member Mascott88 went on to pick Charlie Adam as his man of the match… “he had a big hand in both goals and his vision and passing was brilliant. He might not be the most mobile, but his reading of the game is outstanding. Look at how he read the ball Cech played to Mikel for the first goal. I was worried when we signed him that he’d had others to do the dirty work at Blackpool, but after a shaky start he has really upped his work rate”

Forum Member BoundforGlory was also full of praise for Adam… “Very pleased for Adam, looks like he’s been working very hard on his game, tough and resilient, got back a few times and covered well, neat passing most of the time. He kept it simple and it paid off, ironically though his set pieces were definitely not up to scratch but we know he can do a lot better in that department so not too bothered about that!”

Forum Member Hope in your Heart also spoke of Adam’s energetic, aggressive display… “he was at the origin of the two goals (one excellent run to put pressure on Obi Mikel, and a superb assist for the second), and generally had a very energetic, aggressive display, which was really needed against Chelsea‘s three-man central midfield. His passing was very good throughout the game, as were his tackles and his physical engagement.

He has been unfairly compared to Xabi Alonso, as he has his own strengths and weaknesses which are quite different from Xabi’s, but I think his pass for Johnson to set him up for that goalscoring run was indeed Xabi-esque. Absolutely superb pin-point pass from what… 40 yards? The only minus-point from him during that game were the set piece deliveries, which were very disappointing.”

After the game, speaking to Sky Sports 1, Charlie Adam dedicated Liverpool’s win to goalkeeper Brad Jones following the sad news that his son Luca had passed away on the eve of the Stamford Bridge clash.

Charlie also spoke of Liverpool’s Liverpool’s ‘hard work’ and ‘good shape’… “Hard work was the difference. We had good shape. We knew it would be difficult as Chelsea are a good team, but we have good players ourselves and it was a good way to bounce back from a difficult result against Swansea two weeks ago. We have to come to places like this and win. We did well to bounce back from the goal we conceded.”

Lucas Leiva‘s Midfield Display

ThisIsAnfield forum Member Hope in your Heart also spoke highly of Lucas’ display in central midfield… “One of the best performers on the pitch. What impressed me most was how he kept his cool after collecting an early yellow card, and being initially infuriated about some ref decisions. I was worried we could finish the game with ten men at that moment in time. But he recollected his spirits very well, and his display was no doubt a major factor of us being able to win tonight, especially during the second half, when we were struggling against a resurgent Chelsea side. Him and Charlie pretty much dominated the midfield, especially in the first half. Second half, they needed Jordan to help them out, but their resilience and fighting spirit helped us to survive until Glen’s goal.”

Your Chelsea Man of the Match

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An unbeaten run of nine games

John Dillon of the Express Newspaper summed up the match perfectly… “As the sound of You’ll Never Walk Alone filled the London chill in celebration of a tirelessly won victory, it was the long-seasoned understanding of this fact by Kenny Dalglish and his sidekick Steve Clarke which had triumphed over the youthful, tactical flexibility of Andre Villas-Boas.”

Match Stats

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires (Meireles 84), Mikel (Sturridge 46), Lampard, Mata, Drogba (Torres 84), Malouda. Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Bosingwa, Anelka.

Booked: Ivanovic, Luiz, Ramires.
Goal: Sturridge (55).

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Kuyt, Lucas, Adam, Rodriguez (Downing 77), Bellamy (Henderson 66), Suarez (Carroll 89). Not used: Doni, Spearing, Carragher, Kelly.

Booked: Lucas, Kuyt.
Goal: Maxi (33), Johnson (87).

Referee: Lee Probert.

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