Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda scored the goals, but this was a particular French test that Liverpool are pretty used to failing by now. Start well, look like they are capable of scoring a goal, but then crumble under the immense power of Didier Drogba (assists- two; writhes on the ground in agony – five) and his similarly stubborn team-mates before succumbing to a defeat. Bar last season’s 1-0 win and logic-defying 4-4 Champions League draw at Stamford Bridge, this was a pretty standard Liverpool visit to Chelsea.
What this defeat has done though, is give critics the perfect opportunity to sharpen their knives. The Reds are being written off from pillar to post, not just in the title race but in the challenge to finish in the top four. Now sitting six points off their weekend conquerors, Liverpool emerged from their defeat to the cheery news that it’s been over forty years since a team lost three of their opening eight games and won the league. Last season the Reds became the first team ever to lose only two matches in a season and not be crowned champions, but this is surely the first campaign for some time in which no team managed to escape September still unbeaten. What is it they say about records being there to be broken?
Before they can even think about that though, Liverpool need to get back to basics. Pepe Reina’s comment that they needed to forget about league glory for now after the early defeats to Tottenham and Aston Villa was widely misreported as the towel being thrown in from the Red corner, but the goalkeeper was right. Instead of title talk and bold predictions, what Liverpool now need is stability, consistency, the clich