The most important duel of the season took place at Anfield. Leader on the table, Liverpool, hosted Chelsea. Words from press conferences about starting lineups were truth – Reds opted for strongest selection, while Jose Mourinho decided to start with second squad.
Approach to the game was also predictable – while hosts kept their style of passes and high possession, Chelsea played the same way like against Atletico. Game wasn’t spectacular to watch in the first half. Sakho had one chance in front of Schwarzer’s goal, Suarez one shot from the distance. Chelsea, on the other side, threatened Mignolet with couple of crosses, but the crucial moment of the game happened in the last minute of added time. Sakho sent the ball to the Gerrard, captain of Reds slipped and Demba Ba scored a goal which put guest in the lead.
Second half was the same. Blues were focused on defending and patiently waiting their chance from counterattacks. Liverpool, on the other side threw all they have in attack, since the draw would be enough for them in the end. Gerrard had some shots from the distance, Suarez was once late on the Coutinho’s cross and frustration slowly crawled in to the home team. On the other side, Mourinho was patient and instead of attacking and he gave chance to Willian, Torres and Cahill in the second half. Cahill helped his teammates in the back line, while first two were involved in scoring of the second goal in the dying moments of game. Now, title race is back on, Chelsea and Manchester City are back in the contention for trophy and Liverpool missed the chance to make one crucial step in their chase for silverware.
Statistics of the game show just how it was on the pitch – 73% of ball possession in combination with 26 goal attempts (8 shots on target) tells us how much strength Liverpool put in their attacks. Stats of guests are not so impressive, but turned out to be enough for three more points and reducing the gap on the table on just two points. They managed to have just 23% of possession in the entire game. Two goals were scored from just four shots on target, but the crucial stat came from Schwarzer. Australian goalkeeper made 8 saves in this game and he (with his teammate Ba) is certainly player of the match.
Next week, Liverpool will travel to Selhurst Park, where the will play against Crystal Palace. Chelsea will play two games next week: first they will face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the second leg of Champions League semifinal and then will entertain Norwich on Sunday. Exciting two weeks are ahead of us, since three teams are back in contention for the first place on the table of Premier League.