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Premier League

  • 6 February 2011
  • • 16:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 41829

Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Raul Meireles strike hands Blues crucial defeat as Fernando Torres makes disappointing debut

Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Raul Meireles strike hands Blues crucial defeat as Fernando Torres makes disappointing debut

Reds go five games unbeaten

Liverpool produced a stunning defensive display to record only their second victory in seven years at Stamford Bridge courtesy of a Raul Merieles strike midway through the second half.

The Reds were dogged and determined - they were certainly not going to let Fernando Torres steal all the limelight - Jamie Carragher made sure of that. Their performance was epitomised when the striker was substituted on 69 minutes.

Moments later Merieles, who is on a great run himself, scored with a strike from close range giving Dalglish's men an unlikely victory.

This match was eagerly anticipated with all the focus on one man in particular. Torres started for the Blues after his £50 million English transfer record breaking move from Liverpool.

The Spaniard had perhaps burnt bridges with Liverpool fans after announcing he had moved to a bigger club but promised that he would not celebrate if he scored maybe as a way of appeasing his former fans - but they would not have to worry about it.

Chelsea made their intentions very clear from the beginning with a very attacking line-up that would make any defence quiver, but a strikeforce that promised so much produced so very little.

Didier Drogba, Torres and Nicholas Anelka failed to force Pepe Reina into any real save of note the whole game but it was largely thanks to the back three of Martin Skrtel, Carragher and Daniel Agger.

Luis Suarez who came on and scored on his debut for the Reds against Stoke City had to remain content with starting on the bench as Dalglish kept faith with his winning formula which has seen Liverpool creep up the table into seventh, with three consecutive wins and clean sheets to boot, before this game.

But if history was anything to go by, a Reds victory at Stamford Bridge seemed unlikely with only one win since 2004.

Inevitably the first chance fell to Torres. Maxi Rodriguez clearly had not heard the news that he had moved to Stamford Bridge as he slipped a pass into his former teammate's path.

However the finish from the World Cup winner uncharacteristically lacked composure but was an early scare for the visitors.

If this was an indicator that chances in this match were going to come thick and fast the next twenty minutes put pay to that notion.

Liverpool were happy to contain Chelsea and counter attack when possible. If Dirk Kuyt’s pass had been more accurate into Raul Meireles, the away side might have created their first real opportunity.

Torres was struggling to find any joy through the middle and drifted out onto the wing where Daniel Agger unceremoniously blocked his run, much to the delight of the travelling away support, and gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position.

But the opportunity came to nothing, which summed up a disappointing opening half hour.

The game was screaming out for a goal and it nearly came for Torres after Drogba threaded a lovely through ball to him - it was first time the Blues had managed to penetrate the Reds defence but Jamie Carragher was there to put in an excellent block.

Debut to forget | Stuttering start to life at the Bridge for Torres
Liverpool should have been ahead moments later as the game suddenly sparked into the life.

Perhaps it was fortuitous that the ball kindly fell to Steven Gerrard in the box but the captain took advantage of the good fortune and drilled a low ball across goal; Rodriguez will still be wondering how he managed to hit the bar from a few yards out with the goal gaping.

The first half was brought to a close but not before Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech displayed the kind of tension which was surging through the game.

A lovely cross by Martin Kelly on the right caused confusion between the pair as they went for the same ball resulting in the defender and goalkeeper squaring up to each other in a heated debate.

After the interval Chelsea had a flurry of half chances as they tried to find that elusive opener. Anelka had a couple of pot shots at goal and a Ivanovic header failed to test Reina.

The visitors looked reasonably comfortable as the Blues struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities. Torres’s face cut a frustrated figure as he was marshalled out of the game by Carragher, who was outstanding at the back for Liverpool.

It signalled the end for Torres who was replaced by Salomon Kalou on 65 minutes.

Anelka sitting slightly deeper found some space and his twenty yard shot was fired agonisingly wide but it told the story of the match for the Blues having failed to register a shot in target in 67 minutes of play.

And inevitably they were made to pay as Liverpool took the lead on 69 minutes. Gerrard ran down the wing and put in a brilliant cross which again caused confusion in the Chelsea box and Meireles was on hand to fire home from close range grabbing his fourth goal in five games.

Torres off and a goal behind: not an image many had envisioned before the game.

Florent Malouda nearly found a equaliser moments later but he was foiled by Reina who was forced into his first real save of the match.

Liverpool looked threatening on the counter attack and with 10 minutes to go they nearly doubled their lead.

Substitute Fabio Aurelio orchestrated some space in the Chelsea box he jinked onto his right foot and fired a powerful shot at Cech but the Blues shot stopper was on hand to make the save.

A Frank Lampard strike with just a few minutes to go summed up Chelsea's day as he blazed high and wide leaving Stamford Bridge disappointed and subdued.

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