maandag 21 november 2011

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool

Glen Johnson stuns former club with late solo goal as Reds triumph at Stamford Bridge again

Former Blue Johnson comes back to Stamford Bridge to shock his former employers with a late strike to hand Chelsea its second home defeat in a row for over nine years.

A late strike from former Chelsea fullback Glen Johnson helped Liverpool claim all three points with a 2-1 victory and give the Stamford Bridge side is second home defeat in row for the first time in over nine years on Sunday.

The Anfield side had gone into a deserved first-half lead with Maxi Rodriguez opening the scoring before substitute Daniel Sturridge got Andre Villas-Boas side level.

The victory puts the Reds level with the hosts, who lost further ground on the two Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League. 

Chelsea started the game with former Liverpool pair Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres being forced to start on the bench, while Kenny Dalglish handed surprise starts to both Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez.

Within the first two minutes of the game, the visitors were claiming for a free kick and for Chelsea skipper John Terry to be sent off, as Luis Suarez played a through ball towards Rodriguez, with the Argentinean seeming to be blocked by Terry. But the referee waved play on. 

With 10 minutes gone in the half the home side got its first proper chance of the game, as a ball from the left-hand side by Florent Malouda found Juan Mata at the back post, but his ball across the face of goal was cleared by the Liverpool defense before Didier Drogba could get to it.

Both sides continued to press back and forth, with John Obi Mikel having a long-range effort for Chelsea that went just over the bar and then Liverpool going down the other end and 
forcing Petr Cech to smother the ball before Glen Johnson could get a cross in.

Midway through the half, the home end of Stamford Bridge rose to cheer what they believed to be a goal, as Drogba struck a free kick, with Pepe Reina looking like he was well beaten. But fortunately for the Liverpool keeper, the ball hit off the advertizing boards and went behind the goal.

The Reds continued to pressure their London hosts, with some incisive passing which led to them getting the first goal, as Mikel lost the ball from a Cech pass, giving Liverpool possession, which they capitalized on as Bellamy eventually found Rodriguez in space. He tucked the ball over the diving Chelsea stopper to open the scoring.

The visitors continued to press at Chelsea’s fragile defense, with David Luiz giving away a free kick just outside the box that allowed Suarez to try his luck with the set piece, but the Uruguayan frontman couldn’t find the target, as his strike went over the bar.

Luiz nearly cost his side again a minute later, as Suarez broke the offside trap and raced past the Blues center half, before attempting to cross the ball into the box. But it deflected off of the Brazilian and away for a corner, much to the relief of everyone in blue in Stamford Bridge as Villas-Boas side went in a break only trailing by a single goal. 
With his side being a goal down at the break, Chelsea boss Villas-Boas decided to make a change by bringing on Sturridge to replace the ineffective Mikel, as the home side looked to push forward a lot more in search of an equalizer.

They should have got level only minutes into the half as Frank Lampard found Drogba on the edge of the area and the forward aided by a deflection from a Liverpool defender on the ground, got the ball into the box, but his shot went well wide of Reina’s goal.

Chelsea finally got its equalizer 10 minutes into the half as Terry made a forward run with the ball, before finding Malouda, who raced forward before hitting a mishit shot from the edge of the area that was eventually tapped in by Sturridge.

Villas-Boas side should have taken the lead a couple of minutes later as Drogba curled in a free kick from just outside the area that was knocked on by the onrushing Branislav Ivanovic, with Reina having to make a spectacular save in order to keep the sides level.

The momentum of the first 15 minutes of the half helped the Stamford Bridge crowd to find their voice, as their team continued to press forward, with Malouda racing to the by line before crossing for Drogba, who knocked the ball just wide of Reina’s right hand post.

Liverpool nearly suffered a calamitous error as Terry launched a ball long in search of Drogba and as the striker raced on the ball, but before he could get there Reina launched his head to the ball, just outside his own area and luckily for the Spaniard the ball broke to him at the second attempt to clear from danger.

The home side continued to create, with Ramires finding Mata, who then chipped the ball towards Malouda inside the area, but the French winger’s overhead kick went well wide of Reina’s goal.

Malouda, once again could have got his name on the scoresheet as he met a cross from Ivanovic at the back post, but as before he mishit the shot and fortunately for the Liverpool defense there was no player in blue waiting to pounce on the ball.

With less than ten minutes left on the clock, Villas-Boas decided to bring on his former Anfield pair of Meireles and Torres, as the club searched for that vital goal to give them all three points and close the gap on the top two.

Liverpool could have claimed all three points, as substitute Jordan Henderson skipped down the right wing, before crossing to fellow sub Stewart Downing, who laid the ball off to Dirk Kuyt, but his tame shot failed to trouble Cech.

But only a minute later they did get a second as Kuyt found Johnson free on the right wing and he cut inside and put the ball by the outstretched arms of Cech and into the back of the net, to the delight of the traveling band of Liverpool supporters.

The visitors hung on for the reminder of the game and claimed a vital three points that put them level with Chelsea in the league table.


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