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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
6 February 2011
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 41829
Raul Meireles 69'
90' + 4'
FULL TIME! All over at Stamford Bridge and Raul Meireles' goal gives Liverpool victory! Excellent result for the Reds who do a league double over Chelsea; huge disappointment for the Blues whose titles hopes are hanging by a thread now. That's all from me but stay with Goal.com for our match report, ratings and all the reaction from the game.
90' + 2'
Chelsea want a penalty! Ivanovic is nudged by Johnson which sends the defender flying! The referee waves the appeals away, Ivanovic shakes his head and Johnson breathes a sigh of relief.
The hosts continue to pass the ball in front of the Liverpool defence. David Luiz then tries to pick out Malouda but the ball is overhit and out for another goal kick as we head into FOUR minutes of added time.
Malouda attacks Kelly down the left. He manages to hook a high cross into Ivanovic at the far post but the defender can only head weakly towards goal but out for a goal kick.
Chelsea still failing to create any chances. If the scoreline stays like this they will remain 10 points behind Manchester United. Liverpool will go sixth, and perhaps more intriguingly, just six points behind the Blues.
Meireles departs to warm applause and with good reason. The midfielder's fourth goal in five games has Liverpool in the lead and looking good with a little over five minutes of normal time remaining.
Lots of frowns on the Chelsea bench as Liverpool continue to frustrate the Blues' attack. Meanwhile, Poulsen is stripped and ready to enter the fray for the visitors.
Good save Cech! Substitute Aurelio stings the Chelsea 'keeper's palms after turning inside John Terry. Seconds earlier Chelsea had a penalty appeal turned down after Lucas appeared to handle in the box.
Kalou gives the ball away to Lucas and he races foward before being denied by Terry who makes a good challenge. Still, time is ticking away for Chelsea, who have used all their substitutes now.
Free-kick outside the box after Meireles is penalised for handball. Drogba steps up...and chips it looking for Luiz at the far post but it doesn't get that far and Liverpool escape.
Let's check in with Wayne Veysey at Stamford Bridge: "It's all kicking off at an overheated Stamford Bridge. Minutes after Torres was subbed following an ineffective debut to taunts of 'You should have stayed at a big club', Meireles deservedly put the visitors in front. A whipped-in Gerrard cross from the right flank caused chaos in the Chelsea box, where a hesitant Cech was a caught in two minds and Liverpool's new goal machine hooked in his fourth in five games."
Yellow Card Lucas Leiva
The substitute Luiz is straight into the action, blocking a Meireles shot after he is picked out by Kuyt. Chelsea then charge upfield but are stopped in their tracks, illegally, by Lucas who is booked.
Anelka finds Malouda inside the box and he smashes a shot at the near post but Reina blocks. Meanwhile, a final change for Chelsea, David Luiz on Jose Bosingwa off.
John Obi Mikel
Chelsea try for an instant response but Bosingwa's cross lands safely in Reina's arms. Meanwhile, the hosts make another change and Malouda is on for Mikel.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Raúl Meireles
GOAL! Liverpool lead and it's Meireles who scores again! Gerrard does well down the right, crosses, there is a massive mix-up in the Chelsea defence; Cech leaves it for Ivanovic and Meireles steals in to slot home!
Great effort by Essien! The midfielder wanders forward, bypasses Lucas before hitting a super effort left-footed which flies narrowly over the bar! He's hurt himself in the process, mind you, and will need some treatment.
Fernando Torres' debut is over! The Spaniard is cheered off by the home fans, booed off by the Liverpool fans and Kalou is on in his place!
Good effort by Anelka! Lampard picks out the Frenchman in acres of space. He fires low and has Reina scrambling but it's just wide.
Activity on the Liverpool bench where Christian Poulsen looks like he may be about to enter the fray. Suarez is also warming up but the new signing may have to wait for his introduction.
Chance for Liverpool after Johnson is fouled and Meireles has a free-kick which he can whip into the box. He makes a mess of it though and sends it high into the air and a grateful Cech rises highest to claim.
Chelsea just starting to exert a bit of pressure but Liverpool are defending well and despite pinning the visitors back into the box for a few minutes the best the Blues can muster is an Ashley Cole shot that flies well wide.
Now it's Anelka's turn to shoot. He picks up possession and goes for goal but again it flies out for a corner. Drogba takes and yet again finds Ivanovic, that must be three times now, but the defender can only head over the bar.
Lampard feeds Cole in the box, he goes down under the challenge of Carragher, but Chelsea play on and find Drogba whose shot is deflected out for a corner.
Meireles drifts a lovely ball into Kuyt in the box. He manages to control it and lay it back for Johnson who has a pop but can't find the target.
Drogba and Essien almost combine well but the midfielder's pass is just overhit and runs harmlessly out of play. Essien has not been at his best so far this afternoon.
Ivanovic fouls Kuyt on the halfway line and Liverpool have a free-kick. It's launched towards Kelly, high up on the right up against Cole, but it's out for a Chelsea throw.
A clearance from Ivanovic suddenly becomes a good ball forward, finding Drogba on the edge of the box, battling with Carragher. The defender does enough as even though Drogba manages an overhead kick it's weak and easy for Reina.
Welcome back! No changes for either side at the break as Chelsea get this second half underway.
45' + 2'
Let's go back to Wayne Veysey for his half-time thoughts: "Half-time from Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea appear to be struggling more with their new shape than Liverpool, who also have an unfamiliar tactical pattern. Torres, who was greeted with a mixture of jeers, cheers and witty banners, has come to life twice but Liverpool have been defiant and their gameplan has worked well. They have also been a threat on the break, with Maxi missing the chance of the match - indeed, any match - when he blasted a sitter on to the bar from no more than three yards."
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME! No goals at the break but Liverpool really ought to be ahead with Maxi guilty of one of the misses of the season! Torres has had a few sights of goal but is yet to test Reina in a fairly even first half at Stamford Bridge.
Cech and Ivanovic are furious with each other! Kelly's cross causes confusion in the Chelsea box with defender and goalkeeper both going for the same ball. Cech eventually claims and the pair then indulge in a heated exchange!
Free-kick to Chelsea which Drogba squares for Lampard but it's a poor lay-off which Liverpool intercept before breaking but Maxi's final ball, is yet again, poor and out for a goal kick.
Gerrard and Johnson combine well down the left again. This time, however, Johnson's cross isn't the best and Terry can clear.
Anelka and Essien nick the ball off Maxi and roar forwards. Anelka feeds Essien but again the cross can't find a team-mate and Liverpool can clear. Maxi, meanwhile, is down and will need some treatment before continuing.
Both sides guilty of being caught in possession in the last few minutes as promising attacks break down. Heading towards half-time and still very little to chose between the two teams.
Back to our man Wayne Veysey at Stamford Bridge: "The game is opening up now. Both sides have wasted gilt-edged chances to break the deadlock. Jamie Carragher, Liverpool's returning red rock, firstly denied Chelsea's new man in blue with a superlative tackle that brought a few knowing smiles from the Merseyside contingent in the press box. Seconds later, a great Gerrard left-footed pass into the six-yard box was unbelievably diverted on to the crossbar by Maxi from just three yards."
Lovely stuff from Bosingwa down the right but he can't find a cross to match and Agger can put it out for a corner. Drogba takes the kick and finds Ivanovic but again his header is off target.
MAXI HITS THE BAR! HOW DID HE MISS? Liverpool really should be in the lead! Johnson tees up Gerrard in the box he crosses for Maxi at the far post. Rodriguez is all alone and simply has to tap home from a matter of yards but hits the woodwork! What a miss!
The visitors then race down the other end of the pitch with the move culminated in Meireles firing a low shot straight at Cech. Two chances in two minutes, is this game finally starting to come to life?
So close to a goal for Torres! Drogba is the creator, feeding the Spaniard who looks set to score but brilliant defending by Carragher denies the striker!
A great ball finds Gerrard in space on the left, he cuts into the box but his cross is deflected out for a corner. The skipper takes the kick but Drogba gets a touch before it's hoofed clear.
Drogba whips the ball in, Lucas gets a head on it and Chelsea have a corner. Lampard hits the corner towards Ivanovic who gets a head on it but can't direct his header on target.
Torres goes down holding his face after being blocked by Agger. It's a free-kick to Chelsea and the Blues have a chance to get the ball into the box.
After a bit of treatment Skrtel returns and looks like he will be OK. Kyrgiakos is warming up on the touchline but it doesn't look like the Greek will be needed.
A super diagonal ball from Lampard finds Cole surging into the box. He sends the ball back towards Drogba but a stretching Skrtel hooks clear, although the Slovakian looks to have injured himself in the process.
Torres tries to break into the Liverpool box but he's quickly surrounded by red shirts and there's no way through, which, predictably delights the away fans.
Gerrard and Meireles combine in midfield, the Liverpool skipper then tries to pick out Kuyt but he's overhit the pass and Cech can collect.
Kuyt times a run brilliantly to beat the offside flag after Terry gives the ball away. He tries to send a low cross into Meireles but it's deflected out for a corner.
Time to check in with our man Wayne Veysey: "A scrappy start to events at Stamford Bridge, where the only real opportunity fell fortuitously at the feet of Torres following a shocking pass from Maxi. Chelsea's new signing, inspiration for an entertaining chant-off between the two sets of supporters, blasted the opportunity well over Reina's goal."
Bosingwa tries to find Torres but he's bundled off it by Carragher to huge cheers. However, the ball falls kindly for Chelsea who attack with Drogba but the Ivorian scuffs a shot wide.
Bit better from Liverpool who try to dink a ball over the Chelsea defence to Kuyt but he's just offside and the Blues regain possession.
Torres is caught offside which gives the visiting fans something to jeer. A close call from the assistant referee, but a correct one.
Chelsea still stroking the ball around but without getting anywhere near Pepe Reina's goal. Both sides still eyeing each other up at the moment.
Chelsea enjoying plenty of possession in these early exchanges but without really getting anywhere. A few boos roll around the ground whenever Torres takes a touch but they are quickly drowned out.
Kuyt gives the ball away which allows Anelka to bring the ball forward. He tries to find an overlapping Cole down the left but Carragher just does enough to put the ball out of play.
Kelly does well to intercept a Chelsea pass, before swapping passes with Gerrard and roaring forward. He tries to cross but can't pick out Meireles and Ashley Cole brings the ball clear.
Back to Wayne Veysey for some early thoughts: "A real cracking atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Some tasty banners have been unveiled by the visiting Liverpool fans, directed towards you-know-who. One reads 'He who betrays will always walk alone', another says 'Torres: a pawn on our chess board but the King remains', while perhaps the best of the lot is '18 Titles 5 European Cups. Chelsea is the bigger club?'. Chants of 'Fernando, Fernando' from the home fans. If the game anything like matches the fever pitch in the stands, we should be in for something special today."
First chance for Torres! Maxi passes the ball straight to the Spaniard, perhaps forgetting they are no longer team-mates! He has options, but decides to go for goal and curls the ball over the bar!
Yellow Card John Obi Mikel
Here we go! Gerrard and Kuyt kick off for Liverpool and we are underway at Stamford Bridge. Thirty seconds in and Mikel goes in the book for a foul on Gerrard. A sign of things to come?
Today's game also sees Steve Clarke return to Stamford Bridge, and our man Wayne Veysey has watched him receive a warm welcome from Blues' fans: "Some big receptions all round - for 3 recent big signings with Chelsea connections - Torres, Luiz.... and recently appointed Liverpool first-team coach Steve Clarke, once of this parish. A nice hand for Clarke, warm applause for Luiz and boos from the away end drowned out by cheers from the hosts for Torres. Liverpool chants of 'Chelsea rent boy' were drown out by 'Torres, Torres' songs from the home supporters."
Of course Torres is the main talking point ahead of the game, and Wayne Veysey is keeping a close eye on the Spaniard: "Chelsea's players have just ambled out for their warm-ups ( a good five minutes after the visitors) and Fernando Tores , followed by a cameraman all the way on to the pitch, has been given a warm hand by a ground which is only around about a fifth full. He returned the home fans' applause with a clap while running through some short sprints and warm-up exercises. He looks odd in blue shorts (he is wearing a white tracksuit top at the moment), it has to be said. Will take some time to get used to..."
Goal.com's Wayne Veysey is at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, so let's get his pre-match thoughts: "Good afternoon from a soon-to-be-packed Stamford Bridge, where we await Fernando Torres' Chelsea debut after swapping the red of Liverpool for the blue of last season's double winners. John Terry has given his thoughts on Chelsea's deadline day in his programme notes for today's mouthwatering clash. "It was exciting for us to make two huge signings on transfer deadline day," he writes. "Fernando Torres has been one of the best strikers in the world for some times, alongside Didier and Nico, and to have all three of them at the club is going to make a lot of people take serious notice. David Luiz is someone who has attracted a lot of attention with his form at Benfica and it's going to be exciting to see him playing in a Chelsea shirt. We've got great strength in defensive positions, with genuinely world-class players competing for every slot in the back four."
So the big teams news is that Fernando Torres does start for Chelsea. However, there is no room for David Luiz who has to settle for a place on the bench. For Liverpool, Luis Suarez is also on the bench but Jamie Carragher does return.
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson; Lucas, Meireles, Gerrard, Maxi; Kuyt.Subs: Gulacsi, Aurelio, Suarez, Jovanovic, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Poulsen.
Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Essien, Mikel, Lampard; Drogba, Anelka, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Luiz, McEachran, Sala, Malouda, Kalou.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com as we bring you live coverage of Chelsea versus Liverpool! This game needs little introduction, so without any further ado let's take a check on today's teams...
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