The Ivorian, scourge to so many defences this year – of which Liverpool are not exempt – was sensationally only named as a substitute during The Blues 2-0 defeat at Liverpool amid reports he was suffering from a fever. His ailment though did not prevent him from coming off the bench at half-time with the game all but over, and Carlo Ancelotti will rue his decision not to name his star asset in the starting line-up.
As they have done so often this term, Chelsea lacked creativity in possession and despite Florent Malouda’s best effort to forge an opening, looked a shadow of their usual selves. With Frank Lampard and Michael Essien still sidelined, Liverpool bossed the midfield and though Steven Gerrard rarely found himself in the oppositions 18 yard box, the England international was free to pull the strings from a deeper role. John Obi Mikel again looked out of his depth in such an overcharged fixture as he failed to shackle Liverpool’s captain, but he was not the only one in blue guilty of hiding away. Nicolas Anelka, recently praised by his manager as being in the form of his life made little impression on his former club and John Terry aside, Chelsea were uninspired.
Liverpool however, were simply brilliant. An infectious work rate stemming from a midfield trio of Gerrard, Luca Leiva and Dirk Kuyt swept through the Kop and any hopes Chelsea had of silencing the famous stand disappeared after just 11 minutes.
Ancelotti’s side has adopted a corrosive habit since their 3-1 victory over West Ham early in the season and Chelsea’s lethargic attitude and indiscipline soon after kick-off set the tone for a miserable afternoon. Ashley Cole was caught out of position by no less than three red shirts desperate to hound their visitors at every possible turn, and when Fernando Torres found himself goal side of the Chelsea skipper, there was only ever going to be one outcome.
After the breakthrough, Chelsea momentarily rallied but Pepe Reina remained untested in the Liverpool goal. Ancelotti cut a frustrated figure in the technical area as The Reds repelled anything his side could muster and with the half time whistle looming, Anfield erupted again. This time there was little Chelsea could do as Torres, giving everyone a timely reminder of why he is one of the most sought after finishers in the game, curled home a rasping shot that left Petr Cech no chance.
The second half provided no major shocks as the hosts set out to defend their lead and Chelsea attempted a feeble fight back. On the rare occasion The Blues did find sight of goal, they were met by an inspired Reina who ensured Liverpool’s new owner watched on in glee. Howard Webb saved Chelsea further embarrassment when he decided to only book Alex for a foul on David N’Gog despite the Brazilian being the last man and though it is still early in the season, Ancelotti has squandered a massive opportunity to put some breathing room between him and Sir Alex Ferguson.
2 Ivanovic – 26 Terry – 33 Alex – 3 Cole
7 Ramires – 12 Mikel – 18 Zhirkov
21 Kalou – 39 Anelka – 15 Malouda
45 – 15 Drogba on for 21 Kalou
70 – 17 Bosingwa on for 2 Ivanovic
76 – 23 Sturridge on for 18 Zhirkov