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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
20 November 2011
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 41820
D. Sturridge 55'
M. Rodríguez 34'
G. Johnson 87'
One final word from Wayne Veysey: "A few jeers at the final whistle from Chelsea's fans after watching their team suffer back-to-back home defeats for the first time in a decade and the fourth in just 12 league games under Villas-Boas. Despite a second-half revival engineered by the manager's half-time tactical tweak, the lack of pace in the home team's defence was ruthlessly exposed by the sparkiness and movement of Liverpool's forwards, brilliantly supported by matchwinner Johnson. Chelsea have some fuindamental problems that must be addressed."
And that's it! The referee blows for full-time. Liverpool go level on points with Chelsea as condeming the home side to their first back-to-back home defeats in over nine years. I think we can all agree that was a fantastic game. Thanks for joining me today. Over and out.
90' + 3'
Into the final few seconds as Meireles has a dig from 30 yards and it actually goes into the second tier of the stand behind the goal. Not a good performance from the ex-Liverpool players today, the same cannot be said for that ex-Chelsea player though.
90' + 1'
There is his first touch and it's poor. He tries to cut inside and shoot, his trademark, but opts for a pass and it ends up being neither and Reina collects with ease.
As we enter stoppage time, I don't think Torres has had a touch yet. Three minutes remaining.
Assist Charlie Adam
Goal Glen Johnson
GOAL! Johnson was a super run puts Liverpool in front with only a few minutes to spare! The talk was about the ex-Liverpool men playing for Chelsea but the ex-Chelsea man looks to have condemed his former side to yet another defeat at home as he picked up the ball on the wide right, skipped past Terry and then Cole to slot into the far corner.
So close by Kuyt! Henderson does brilliant down the right, literally skipping over Terry at one point, he drives it low into Suarez who tips it to Kuyt and the Dutchman's effort whistles wide. Head in hands moment all round for the away side then.
Here it is then. Villas-Boas decides to bring on both ex-Liverpool players Torres and Meireles for the final six minutes. Can they have a decisive impact?
Yellow Card Branislav Ivanovic
That was better from Adam. Not quite a £10m corner, maybe £5-6m one. Even so, Cech punches clear.
Adam takes it and stays true to his set-piece form today and it easily headed out for a corner. Liverpool still threaten though...
Point proven as Suarez breaks and tries to wriggle his way into the area but settles for a freekick on the edge. Adam and Henderson standing over it...
15 minutes or so to go and it's fair to say there is a winner still in this, namely for Chelsea but Liverpool are always a threat on the counter.
Oooooh, again Chelsea should be 2-1 up. Malouda sneaks into the area undetected to get onto the end of Drogba's deep cross and mis-hits his shot and sees it fly across the goal, with Reina rooted to the spot, and out for a goal kick. How he didn't get that on target I don't know.
More shots of Torres warming up but Drogba is trying his best to show his worth with a tasty looking backheel inside the Liverpool box to find Sturridge, but the goalscorer cannot control the ball quick enough and Liverpool clear.
Our man at the ground, Wayne Veysey, again: "Torres has been the victim of some merciless and sustained stick from the Liverpool fans. He was lustily booed after he began warming up on the touchline in front of them and has variously been serenaed with 'You should have stayed at a big club' and 'Are you happy on the bench?'"
That would have been quite something from Malouda! Mata tries to find a pass on the edge of the Liverpool box, and opts for a chipped effort over the top to Malouda. With Johnson pressuring the Frenchman, he takes controls on his chest and bicycle kicks an effort just wide of the right-hand post. Villas-Boas is shown groaning on the sidelines, and I don't blame him. That was close.
Whereas Liverpool were getting in behind Chelsea's defence in the first half, Chelsea are doing exactly that to Liverpool now as, this time, Mata skips past Enrique, but the ex-Newcastle man does brilliantly to get the better of the forward in the strength stakes and clears.
Sub for Liverpool though, for the time being. Bellamy, who has had a very good game, is being replaced for Henderson.
Yellow Card Dirk Kuyt
Torres has started warming up on the sidelines. I wouldn't be surprised to see him come on, Drogba hasn't been at the races at all today.
Yellow Card Ramires
Here is Mr Veysey again: "The temperature has risen at the Bridge following Sturridge's equaliser and the Ivanovic header that would have put Chelsea ahead bar an astounding save from Reina. Bereft of ideas and tempo in the first half, Villa-Boas' half-time tweak, replacing Mikel with Sturridge and switching to 4-2-3-1 has transformed the home side. What a game we now have."
Chelsea are a completely different team now. Jekyll and Hyde stuff since grabbing the equaliser. Waves and waves of Chelsea attack but, so far, no second goal. My prediction is bang on so far though!
Wow. What a save! It should be a second goal in two minutes for Chelsea, but only an outstanding save from Reina stops Ivanovic's flick on from Drogba's freekick from giving the home side the lead. Brilliant save.
Assist Florent Malouda
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL! Sturridge puts Chelsea right back into this game! Moments after annoying the Chelsea support he is in the right place at the right time to get on the end of Malouda's mis-hit shot across the face of goal to finish with his heel back across Reina. 1-1!
He's only been on a short while but the Chelsea fans are not happy with Sturridge as firstly he shows no sign of moving on the play but strolling around the centre circle with the ball and then making no attempt to challenge for the ball inside the Liverpool area.
Liverpool still putting pressure on that weak Chelsea defence as Luiz is forced into an error that allows Suarez to skip forward and win a corner, but Bellamy's delivery is poor and Chelsea clear.
Is the curse of the mis-firing Chelsea striker spreading? Drogba shows his strength to evade a couple of challenges and stride into the box but, with pressure on him, he spoons it high and wide from 15 yards. You would have put your house on him hitting the target.
Early freekick for Liverpool but Adam hoofs it well wide from around 30 yards.
John Obi Mikel
We are back underway where it's Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool.
Interesting substition from Villas-Boas here. Chelsea are bringing on another striker and it's not Torres. Sturridge is coming on for Mikel (who was partly at fault for Liverpool's goal).
Here is Wayne Veysey with his halftime thoughts: "Cheers from the Liverpool fans and mostly silence from the Chelsea supporters as both sets of players return to the dressing room at the end of a first half completely dominated by the visitors. The concentration lapses of Mikel and Luiz were exposed time and again by the pace, slickness and fluency of Liverpool's forwards. For regular Bridge watchers, it has been amazing how vulnerable Chelsea look. That Arsenal defeat is looking less and less like an aberration."
45' + 1'
No, is the answer. The freekick is drilled in but Liverpool are happy to concede the corner. Luiz heads the following delivery wide and the referee blows for half-time.
A final chance for Chelsea before half-time? Malouda is fouled on the left-hand side of the area...
This high line of Chelsea's really isn't doing themselves any favours. Again a simple lack of concentration allows Suarez is storm forward into space, and only the great work of Cole stops the striker finding Maxi in space infront of goal.
Yellow Card David Luiz
Dear, dear me Mr Luiz, what are you doing?! The central defender is near the edge of his own area with three Liverpool players around him and he tries to dribble his way out of trouble. Why doesn't he just hoof it clear? Anyways, he ends up conceding a freekick that Suarez curls over.
Mr Veysey with his two cents once more: "LIVE! The Chelsea fans have been silenced by Liverpool's brilliantly worked opener after they took full advantage of Mikel's dawdling. No-one can say it was not coming. Chelsea have been as pedestrian as Liverpool have been slick and lively. It seems that the home side are struggling to get to grips with AVB's high defensive line."
Chelsea are rattled and it's misplaced passes, poor control all over the shop as this time Lampard loses the ball to let Suarez in. Ivanovic bundles the striker over and concedes the freekick 40 yards out, that Chelsea finally deal with.
Chelsea look to hit back straight away as Malouda whips in a dangerous ball from the left, but Skrtel heads it out for a corner. Malouda drives it in but Ivanovic cannot get over it and heads up over.
Assist Craig Bellamy
Goal Maxi Rodríguez
GOAL! Maxi puts Liverpool in front! If the fine movement a minute or so ago wasn't a big enough hint that Chelsea needed to get their defense sorted, this should do it. Adam easily takes the ball off Mikel around 30 yards out and tees it up for Bellamy to share a one-two with Suarez that takes him into the box. With everyone expecting him to shoot he plays a fine pass to Maxi who, in acres of space 10 yards out, just dinks it over Cech to give the away side the lead. Great goal.
Some really great Liverpool pressure there as, it seems, almost every member of the squad gets a touch as they play it in and around the Chelsea area as Bellamy, Suarez and Enrique all go close. Eventually Ramires clears for a throw that Chelsea end up clearing.
Yellow Card Lucas Leiva
Liverpool suddenly break and it's Suarez making the diagonal run towards the quickly backtracking Chelsea defence. Maxi and Bellamy give him options either side but he chooses Lucas, and ends up passing behind him. Very unlike the striker and he's obviously frustrated.
Here is Wayne Veysey again: "Liverppol fans have found the perfect venue to air their ode to Luis Garcia, scorer of the so-called 'ghost' goal in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea six years ago. We had a ghost goal here a few minutes ago, when Drogba's free kick hit the side netting with Reina stranded and bobbled along the advertising board behind the goal. Half the crowd thought it was in."
This match is all being played in midfield at the moment, and you might aswell include the Chelsea defence in there considering they are playing so high up, with Villas-Boas taking his usual crouching stance on the sidelines assessing the action.
Well, not quite. But it was mighty close! The Chelsea striker strolls up and chips the ball over the wall and it skims past the post, with Reina rooted. Cheers go up around the ground as many think it's gone in but, alas, it's still 0-0. Great effort by Drogba though.
This could be interesting. Drogba, with his first real run at the Liverpool goal, is bundled over 25 yards out and the referee blows for a freekick. Is a Drogba special on the cards?
Just over a quarter of an hour in and it's a fairly even game so far. Chelsea have come to closest through Mata so far but Chelsea's defense, and the exposed Luiz in particular, is threatening to allow Liverpool in time after time.
Boos from the away support for Luiz as the Brazilian tries to clip Kuyt around the back of the head for daring to challenge him for the ball. The referee gives him a talking too but no card. He can possibly count himself a little lucky there.
Here is our man at the ground Wayne Veysey on his take on the proceedings so far: "There is a fantastic atmosphere here, with both sets of fans on their feet and provided noisy support. The conditions are chilly and misty, a precursor to the English winter. Liverpool have controlled the early proceedings and went close through Johnson but Mata had an even better best chance on his less favoured right foot, which he shot across the face of the goal."
Liverpool come straight back at Chelsea as Maxi and Bellamy combine well on the right-hand side of the area to allow the latter to try and find Suarez inside six-yard box but Ivanovic clears for the corner. Charle "£10m corners" Adam takes it, and it fails to beat the first man.
This time is Malouda down the left for Chelsea and he does brilliantly to find space and float his own cross in, this time Mata is in the right place and sets himself up for a great low volleyed cross/shot effort across the face of Reina's goal but Drogba isn't on the same wavelength and Liverpool hack it clear. The home side have woken up now.
Ouch, that looked painful. Ramires has just been sandwiched between Lucas and Adam of Liverpool (not fun). The Chelsea man isn't happy but he's up on his feet.
The first sign of any Chelsea attack as Mata does well down the left and floats in a good ball into the area but absolutely no-one with a blue shirt is there. Wasted.
Another brief moment on panic in the Chelsea defence as Luiz looks comfortable in possession near the half-way line but Suarez is onto him quick as a flash and a quick tussle ends with the defender hacking it away. Liverpool are jumping onto everything here.
Cries of a foul from the Liverpools players and fans as Suarez releases Maxi through the centre and the Argentinian appears to be getting the better of Terry as he runs through on goal but goes down under an assertive challenge from Terry just outside the area. The referee waves away any protests.
And off we go! Chelsea get us underway and immediately make tracks down the right through Ivanovic but Liverpool clear.
One final scene-setter before kick-off: A win for Liverpool will see them go level on points with Chelsea, whereas a win for the home side will take them up one place to third. Spurs play tomorrow night, and could go up to third themselves depending on today's result.
Prediction time. I am going to go for a 1-1 draw, which Torres to come on on the hour mark and do absolutely nothing. (NOTE: I have never got a single one of my predictions right)
I think that will do for now. So, we are just a few minutes away from kick-off as the teams line-up in the tunnel, waiting to walk onto the pitch. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech looks like Bane (from the upcoming Batman film for those not in the know) as he now has to wear a protective mask due to his broken nose, along with the usual headwear.
Liverpool have only allowed their opposition 38 shots on target this season, the lowest in the league.
Chelsea lost their last home game 5-3 vs Arsenal. They have never lost two home games in a row since Roman Abramovich took control back in the summer of 2003.
A few facts to get you lot in the mood: Liverpool did the double over Chelsea last season so are now looking for a third win in a row against the west London side for the first time in nearly 40 years.
So then, £50m ex-Liverpool striker Fernando Torres starts on the bench for Chelsea, with Didier Drogba recovers after a minor arm operation to lead the line. Torres' replacement at Anfield, Andy Carroll, also starts on the bench with Luis Suarez chosen to attack the home side's high defensive line.
Liverpool: Reina, Enrique, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Lucas, Adam, Kuyt, Maxi, Bellamy, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carragher, Kelly, Henderson, Downing, Spearing, Carroll
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Mata, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Romeu, Meireles, Torres, Sturridge, Anelka
Right then, first things first, those all important line-ups:
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between title contenders Chelsea and Liverpool. My name is Alex Young and I will be taking you through the game.
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