It was a battle to remember in Liverpool this Remembrance Weekend as Chelsea walked away victorious over the Reds 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday in the English Premier League. The match kicked off in an uncharacteristically sloppy manner with both teams sacrificing their usually attractive football styles to scrappily gain possession and fulfill their lust for goals. The hosts drew first blood inside the first nine minutes with an Emre Can goal that deflected off Chelsea’s Gary Cahill before rattling the back of the net.
This was Can’s first goal for the Reds since his transfer from Bayer Leverkusen. It can be argued that the home side were the hungrier team as they hadn’t scored a single goal in their last two Premier League games and last four matches overall. Prior to this noteworthy clash, Jose Mourinho had publicly described Steven Gerrard’s slip against his side last season as the moment that cost Liverpool the league title, perhaps in a bid to mentally rattle the home side captain.
Having unwittingly deflected Liverpool’s first goal, it was Cahill who managed to equalise for the Blues. Eden Hazard had a few shots at goal which were on target, but couldn’t get it past the goalkeeper for the visitors. Cahill created more drama in the penalty box in the 21st minute when he defended a ball with his shoulder, causing every player in red to scream for a penalty, which the referee correctly did not award.
It was a Mario Balotelli goal that sent the sea of red spectators into a volcanic eruption ten minutes before half-time, until they realised that the flag had been raised for his offside infringement. Raheem Sterling earned himself a yellow card as well as a bloody lower lip with an over-eager block on away midfielder Ramires. Only seconds into the second half Sterling was pulled to ground by Branislav Ivanovic who earned a yellow card.
Ccontinuous attacking football was rewarded with a Diego Costa goal which was set up by a seemingly controversial Cesar Azpilicueta pass from the side line, which looked (to Liverpool fans) to have been out, but on review was an excellent call from the referee’s assistant. Two consecutive Gerrard corner kicks were unfruitful as the Reds failed to make use of their set pieces. It appeared as though Mourinho’s men were now content with the score line as their attacking play quickly turned into very defensive football and they hardly sent the ball forward.
Only Brendan Rodgers’ men would’ve been pleased with the five minutes of added time which gave them hope for an equaliser. But alas, Emre Can’s goal would walk alone.