or tweet @thomgibbs
with the answer to this question: Who would you vote for as an alternative
Premier League Player of the year?
LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 2
90+3 min All Liverpool now, but the finishing has been more or less
dire. Henderson takes on a shot from just inside the box first time. No
chance, wide and over.
90+1 min Frank Lampard has come on for Juan Mata. Six minutes of added
time for Luis Saurez to locate and eat his dessert.
88 min Eek, this is boiling over in a slightly unpleasant way now.
Sturridge with a naughty tackle on Bertrand, leaving his foot in late and
connecting in the shin. Kevin Friend said no foul, Liverpool won a corner
which was cleared.
85 min Big miss from Jonjo Shelvey! Set up by a fantastic flying
backheel by Sturridge to Henderson, who fed it, a little too late, to spare
man Shelvey on the left. He still had time to compose himself, but tried to
beat Cech on his near post and put it wide. Not good enough.
84 min Moses is on for Oscar, who looked mildly hurt after that Shelvey
82 min Shelvey, on for Downing, is booked almost immediately for a
silly lunge on Oscar. Liverpool are losing their way drastically. Hard to
concentrate after something like this happens:
80 min It should probably come as no surprise, but Stewart Downing has
just had a shot go out for a throw in. Hmmm...
78 min Benayoun joins the former player mutual appreciation experience,
replacing Eden Hazard.
75 min I'm aware that I've written about little other than Suarez for
most of this second half, but he has made it his business to be at the
centre of everything that's happening. He makes a fabulous jinking run from
the right-hand side, beating and evading four Chelsea players, before
shooting straight at Cech.
73 min Here's the Suarez biting incident. Still inconclusive, I
suppose, but it doesn't look too clever:
70 min Suarez finds Gerrard in space on the right. His cross is
excellent, but just about in range for Cech to smother. At the other end
Hazard's lightning-quick strike deflects behind for a corner.
68 min Suarez beats the wall but it's wide. Replays indicate that he
may well have actually bitten Ivanovic. Oh my word.
67 min Man of the moment Luis stands over a free kick practically on
the line on the edge of the area.
66 min Nothing doing from the corner, but in far more exciting news it
would appear that Branislav Ivanovic has accused Luis Suarez of biting him.
No evidence for that just yet, but if so Suarez is now, officially, on one
65 min Liverpool have rallied a little, and have a corner. Suarez
involved in a way that didn't involve handing the ball in the box for
absolutely no reason.
63 min Liverpool's excellent swashbuckling phase came to an incongruous
end after the madness of King Luis. Seriously, what was he playing at?
Chelsea not really capitalising. I'd say Ba on for Torres is imminent. I'll
warn you, I'm on great sub-predicting form today.
59 min Here's that supremely odd Suarez handball. No idea what he was
playing at, but I liked it:
57 min GOAL!! Liverpool 1 Chelsea 2 (Hazard)
Reina goes the wrong way after a long delay before the spot kick. Suarez was
booked for a combination of his handball and arguing. Chelsea back into the
lead. The Eden Project continues apace.
55 min Penalty to Chelsea! I'm sorry, but: Hahahaha! Hilariously
blatant handball in the box from Suarez after a Chelsea corner. That is
bizarre. No question about that one.
54 min The game is so much brighter now. Liverpool commiting more in
wide areas when attacking, and Chelsea still looking a threat on the break.
Lucas booked for tripping Mata as he headed away from him in the middle of
the pitch. Here's your friend and mine Marc Melander:
"Downing and Henderson not having particularly good games." You
could have cut and pasted that from every game the hapless duo have started.
52 min GOAL!! Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1 (Sturridge)
Ha, beautiful stuff from Liverpool. Sublime pass from Suarez, dinking a ball
over Ivanovic with gorgeous feel. Sturridge is on hand to steer it home at
the far post. Hooray for substitutes.
51 min Agger heads at goal dangerously from a Downing corner, but he is
penalised for a push.
50 min Torres blazes over from an optimistic shooting position on the
right soon after the Chelsea corner.
49 min Torres crosses dangerously in space on the right, Carragher gets
in front of Hazard at the expense of a corner. Here's Oscar
celebrating after a Chelsea corner worked out well for him in the first
47 min Cech's save brings about a Liverpool corner, nothing doing, but
then Sturridge hits the post! Fabulous effort from 20 yards, Cech
beaten, and the Liverpool sub is deeply unlucky to see it come back off the
upright. Soon afterwards Downing puts a low ball across the six yard box
which Cech, oddly, leaves, but there's no-one there to apply a finishing
touch for Liverpool. Much better from Liverpool, or as they are now known,
Team Danny Sturridge.
46 min Given my truly awful record of accurately calling the state of
football matches, and things that I think will happen during liveblogs I am
delighted to tell you that Sturridge has indeed arrived for Liverpool at
half time, replacing the anonymous Coutinho. Sturridge starts fabulously,
beating Mikel out wide, cutting inside and playing a neat ball through the
inside right channel for Gerrard. He shoots, but Cech denies him with an
16.47 Chelsea with one of those leads that's neither deserved nor kind.
They've been a little more assertive going forward, and have looked more
settled defensively. Liverpool could do with a rethink. Henderson and
Downing not having particularly good games and Coutinho is yet to contribute
anything significant whatsoever. Danny Sturridge's arrival looks inevitable.
See you in 15.
45+1 min Just one added minute will take place in this half.
45 min Either Sky made an error with their replay of that Suarez
attempt, or we are moving closer to a glorious the augmented reality of live
American sport. Suarez was ringed, and numbered and his run made a snail
trail on the ground. Wonderful. I'm all for it.
42 min Cech makes the first save I can remember him making all game,
from Suarez, who was never likely to prosper with his effort from a tight
angle on the right. Still, at least Liverpool managed to get it forward.
40 min Liverpool could do with half time here. Chelsea entirely cutting
off their supply lines in midfield and playing with an increasing swagger up
front. Although someone should really tell Eden Hazard that every match isn't
his own YouTube skills compilation video. He's a treat to watch, but would
it kill him to take the simple option sometimes?
37 min Fernando Torres just makes me feel so sad. He's booked for a
clumsy elbow-based challenge on Jamie Carragher. Can't Chelsea and England
just call it quits and let him see out his footballing live with dignity at
a mid-tier Spanish team?
34 min Chelsea beginning to find some of the attacking inspiration
Liverpool demonstrated early in this game. Ramires frequently finding
himself in plenty of space and making himself useful. Torres and Mata have
been culpable for their last two attacks breaking down.
33 min Downing takes it and targets the far post, but it's beyond
Johnson and out for a Chelsea throw on the other side. That won't do.
32 min Liverpool have another corner. Here is, if the score stays the
same, what will be an Oscar winner:
29 min Luiz attempts to make it two ridiculous goals in a week... and
nearly does! Free kick from at least 30 yards out, beats the wall, it's
swirling and bounces just in front of Reina. Difficult, but should be a
regulation stop. But it squirms away from the keeper and heads towards the
goalline. Reina's just about able to gather it at the second time of asking.
Extremely hairy moment for the Liverpool keeper.
26 min GOAL!! Liverpool 0 Chelsea 1 (Oscar)
The pattern of the game so far had not suggested that either team was about
to craft something extraordinary, so it's fitting that the opening goal
comes straight from a corner. Oscar peeled off his man, Carragher I reckon,
and nodded a deft header in at the near post. Nicely done from the
diminutive Brazilian. Reina perhaps should have done better.
24 min Hrmph, it's all a bit drab again. Liverpool have had a few
breathtaking moments, but Chelsea seem to be dealing with them a little
better now. Both sides yet to get their collectives eyes in as regards
passing in dangerous areas. Lots going astray.
22 min Here's Rafa Benítez demonstrating his realistic
20 min Ramires with a palm-stinger for Reina after more pleasing stuff
in tight situations from Chelsea on the right. Mata and Bertrand do well to
keep the ball, then Hazard shifts it quickly to Ramires, spare man in the
middle. His shot is travelling at considerable speed, but Reina beats it
17 min Nothing immediately gained from Gerrard's corner. Downing shoots
over shortly afterwards.
16 min The atmosphere is dropped off, nobody on the Kop has told Rafa
Benítez how much they like him for about five minutes, no-one in the Anfield
Road end has told him how much they hate him... Game's become a little
scrappy, but Liverpool have a corner.
13 min Chelsea coming into the game a little now. Hazard with a glib
backheel in the box to tee up Oscar, but the ball's travelling slightly too
fast and runs through all the way to Reina.
10 min There's Chelsea's best move of the game so far. Some patient
build-up on the right, then Ramires tapped it through the over-eager Lucas'
legs. Unsurprisingly, it broke down with Torres, Agger sliding in to deny
him a cross with four Chelsea players waiting in the box.
7 min Dangerous low-trajectory free kick taken by Gerrard on the right.
Mikel crucially beats Suarez to the header, then Henderson fires over from
long range. Liverpool have started with promise.
5 min Marvellous Liverpool move, Johnson volleying inside to Henderson
from the right flank, who feeds Suarez. Johnson continues his run and Suarez
plays a gorgeous pass in behind the Chelsea defence. Johnson, panicking,
fires wide with only Cech to beat.
2 min First Rafa Benítez chant from the fans in the Kop. Rafa waves
back almost immediately. It's going to be a long, tough afternoon for his
1 min Here we go then, Chelsea get us started, then immediately lose
it. Then Coutinho gives it away to Ramires. A wonderful start.
15.54 The teams are in the tunnel. I'm fairly confident football is
about to happen.
15.50 We've just been treated to an advert with the ubiquitous live
odds, in this case 9-1 that Fernando Torres will score first. I'd be more
interested in odds as to whether he would celebrate a goal. I reckon he
almost certainly would.
15.46 Rafa Benítez has left flowers and a message at the
Hillsborough memorial outside Anfield. Good on him:
15.35 Today's retro highlights are brought to you by the fine year of
15.21 That talk of Spurs being in trouble against City may have been
slightly premature. They've won 3-1! That puts them level on points with
Chelsea and makes this match altogether more important to the visitors.
15.10 Time for some teams, I believe:
Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique; Lucas,
Gerrard, Henderson; Downing, Suarez, Coutinho.
Subs: Jones, Assaidi, Sturridge, Coates, Shelvey, Coady, Skrtel.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand; Mikel,
Ramires; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Moses, Ferreira, Terry, Ba, Benayoun.
Referee: Kevin Friend
15.00 Afternoon liveblog fans.
Is it too much to expect this game to be something of a minor classic?
Stick with me here. Liverpool effectively have nothing to play for, so should
be relatively relazed. They'd need a ricidiculous sequence of results to
sneak into the Champions League, and probably aren't hugely fussed about
finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League.
They're very pleasing to watch on their day, are often at their best against
better teams, and aren't really in the habit of grinding out functional
Chelsea should be in reasonably attacking mood. Their Champions League
qualification can be further consolidated this afternoon, especially with
Spurs seemingly in trouble against Manchester City over on
the other side with Alan Tyers.
If their increasingly lovely Mata-Hazard-Oscar trio are on song and Demba Ba
adds to his growing collection of athletic volleyed goals we could be in for
a legitimate treat.
As it is, and as is the style of this 3/10 season, it'll probably end up 0-0.
Still, we live in hope. And I liveblog in hope. Team news and plenty more to
follow, stay tuned.
Why not dig this groovy preview?:
Sunday, April 21 2013
Kick-off: 16.00 BST.
TV: Live Sky Sports 1, Highlights BBC ONE Match of the Day.
Liverpool (Possible, 4-3-3): Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose
Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson; Sturridge, Suárez, Coutinho.
Out: Allen, Borini (both shoulder), Flanagan, Kelly (both knee),
Chelsea (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz,
Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires; Hazard, Mata, Oscar; Ba.
Out: Romeu (knee).
Tests: Cahill (knee), Cole (hamstring).
Referee: Kevin Friend. Matches: 18, R1 Y66.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has no new injury concerns ahead of
Sunday's visit of Chelsea.
Forward Raheem Sterling has sat out recent games with a thigh problem while
forward Fabio Borini and midfielder Joe Allen and defender Martin Kelly are
Defenders Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill trained today and could return to
contention for Chelsea's Barclays Premier League clash at Liverpool on
Cole and Cahill have been absent in recent weeks and the Anfield match could
come too soon for the duo, although Marko Marin (thigh) is available.
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez is likely to rotate his squad once
more, meaning ex-Reds striker Fernando Torres, captain John Terry and
midfielder Frank Lampard may return to the bench.
He was once loved by The Kop.
An Anfield icon, the subject of the most popular chants, the source of so much
pleasure at home and in Europe.
He was the nemesis of Chelsea who broke Liverpool supporters' hearts by ending
up at Stamford Bridge.
Now everyone wonders how he will be received as he arrives on Merseyside in
his familiar position sitting in the Chelsea dugout.
Yes, it will be a strange afternoon for Fernando Torres on Sunday.
Chelsea manager, Rafa Benítez, is back too of course. The Kop will give him a
Betting: Home 6-5, Away 11-5, Draw 12-5.
Stat of the game: In 69 league visits to Anfield, Chelsea have won just
nine, while losing 46.
Chris Bascombe's prediction: Liverpool 5 Chelsea 1.
Thom Gibbs »
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