or tweet @thomgibbs
with the answer to this question: Who would you vote for as an alternative
Premier League Player of the year?
LIVERPOOL 0 CHELSEA 1
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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