Have you heard about Bayern Munich’s appeal to FIFA, pleading with the governing body to overturn John Terry’s Champions League ban to allow him to play the final on May 19th? Of course you have, the joke is as common as a muddy puddle by now, doesn’t mean I don’t like it though.
In all seriousness though, John Terry, along with the rest of Chelsea’s team last night, were woeful. I can’t see a future at Stamford Bridge beyond this season for the likes of Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and Paulo Ferreira. I felt sorry for Fernando Torres on his own up top, having to rely on the ‘expert’ vision of Sturridge, Kalou, Essien and Malouda to supply the lone Spaniard with the ammunition he so needed to inflict damage on Liverpool last night. Unless Juan Mata is on the pitch, I just don’t see Torres getting the necessary service to score. That’s something that has been noted in Chelsea’s £8 million signing of Marko Marin from Werder Bremen.
Torres’ problem is that Chelsea are built to supply Didier Drogba, a man who is willing to do the ugly things which Torres will not do. For Torres to be most effective for Chelsea, his supporting cast need to play in a Hispanic style. Again, that’s something that has been recognised by Chelsea staff with the acquisition of Juan Mata last summer and the pre-signature of Marko Marin.
All the same, you have to ask what was running through Carlo Ancelotti’s mind when he snapped up Fernando Torres for the princely sum of £50 million, despite not having the required resources to ‘feed’ the Spaniard.
Luis Suarez has not experienced the same troubles as Torres. The Uruguayan international receives excellent service and even when the odds look to be against the diminutive striker, he’ll nutmeg a few players and work himself in to a great goal scoring opportunity. Suarez’s only failing is his finishing, which leaves a lot to be desired. Suarez has had 121 shots to date this season yet only converted 11 in the league. That is an incredibly poor strike-rate for a forward. The good news is that Suarez can work himself in to such glorious positions, so his technical ability is spot on, it’s just his finishing which is a little off. Suarez’s problem can be rectified quite easily with work on the training ground.
As you can see from that video, the man is a bloody wizard with the ball at his feet, but so often he’ll skew his shot just wide, or not put enough power in his shot. Arsenal fans will remember his mazy dribble at Anfield, where he tore apart Arsenal’s defence single handedly before throwing a weak shot in the direct of Wojciech Szczesny, who tipped Suarez’s shot round the post for a corner.
Missing great chances hasn’t just been a problem for Luis Suarez, but for Liverpool Football Club as a whole. Liverpool have scored just 47 goals all season, the same total as relegated Blackburn Rovers and 43 less than leaders Manchester City (90). In what is the most obvious thing to say about football; if you score goals, then you tend to go higher up the table.
Take Liverpool’s home match versus Arsenal as an example of not taking their chances. Liverpool had twelve shots on goal, including a penalty of which Dirk Kuyt had two bites of the apple when Szczesny’s save fell back to the Dutchman. Of those twelve shots, only four were on target, that’s a third of their overall shot tally. Another interesting stat is that of the six penalties Liverpool have been awarded this season, only one has been converted, no other team in Premier League history has missed five in a season, not even Derby County!
Liverpool dominated possession, had 12 corners and generally battered Arsenal, yet somehow lost to a last minute Robin Van Persie goal. Arsenal are currently third and in that match had ten shots on goal, with seven of those on target. Arsenal are reckoning for Champions League football, whilst Liverpool are snoozing in eighth. That unwanted trait has haunted Liverpool all season, but for last night, Liverpool managed to bury their demons and put Chelsea to the sword, having lost the FA Cup Final to the London based club a few days previous.
In the first half an hour, John Terry was nutmegged three times as Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll tore Chelsea apart. For Suarez’s first trick, he bamboozled the Chelsea defence down their left, nutmegged John Terry inside the area and played the ball off of a recovering Michael Essien to put the ball in the net. Essien’s name unwantedly went on the score-sheet, but the goal belonged to Suarez’s craft.
Six minutes later, John Terry slipped to compound his terrible evening as Jordan Henderson took advantage of Terry’s slip to fire Liverpool in to a two goal lead. Personally, I’ve never seen Terry slip on a football pitch before, have you? I can’t possibly begin to think of another occassion in which Terry slipped on grass to present a goalscoring opportunity for the opposition. Ah, wait, I know where I’ve seen it before…
Daniel Agger nodded Liverpool’s third a few minutes later, assisted by the impressive Andy Carroll, who looked more like the pony-tailed man who had routinely destroyed Liverpool when in a Newcastle shirt nearly a year ago.
Liverpool markedly improved after Carroll’s introduction at Wembley on Saturday, so why hadn’t he started? Dalglish’s decision to not start with Carroll possibly cost Liverpool a cup double.
Ramires gave Chelsea a consolation, bundling home an indirect free-kick past Pepe Reina using his torso. Chelsea never looked like scoring after that, apart from Romelu Lukaku’s close-range header which really should have gone in but for a good reaction save from Pepe Reina.
By the time Lukaku had his head denied by Reina, Liverpool had already scored their fourth. Ross Turnbull, deputising for a rested Petr Cech, sent a clearance straight to Jonjo Shelvey, who gratefully volleyed home from nearly 35 yards. It was an easy goal, a horrible goal from Chelsea’s perspective. I always tell my brother to kick from in front of his net when he’s playing in goal, so as to avoid the situation which Turnbull encountered last night. It’s a pretty basic thing to know if I’m honest. My brother is 14 now and is more interested in learning to be a striker, he was 11 when I gave him that advice and even then he could take it in. Terrible, Mr Turnbull…
That’s your lot from me today. I shall see you tomorrow!