Chelsea 2 Liverpool 1 FA Cup Final Review.
Luck deserts Dalglish one more time.
In this season of woodwork hitting and chance missing to be denied what seemed like a clear goal in such a fashion in such circumstances was a fitting finale to this cup final.
Liverpool, so often instrumental in the making of their own luck were undone by not making enough of it in this game and they can have no complaints about being beaten by a committed Chelsea team.
The early exchanges were a tense nervy affair and after ten minutes or so nothing had happened.
Both teams passed the ball sideways and backwards and neither team wanted to commit men forward.
For Liverpool Suarez hardly had a touch and was isolated whilst the ball was pinged around midfield and won lost and regained by both teams.
With eleven minutes gone Spearing tried an ambitious flick to no one in particular and Chelsea quickly broke through midfield passing the ball to a rampaging Ramires down the right and with his pace he easily out sprinted Enrique.
Enrique was feted as one of the buys of the season but strangely over the past couple of months his form has deteriorated and he tried to intercept the ball before quickly realising that he would never get there and it was too late.
Ramires was through for a shot on goal and he fired to the near post wrong footing Reina.
A catalogue of errors for the first goal.
Liverpool briefly rallied but were undone again when Lampard bamboozled Spearing and fizzed to Drogba on the edge of the area.
Normally his shot would have been blocked by Skrtel and nine times out of ten it would have failed to dissect his legs, but it nestled neatly in the side netting and was precision striking at its best.
Drogba had an excellent game and it was a fantastic goal. When he brings his A game to the table Drogba is unplayable and an absolute menace. He always seems to produce against us.
Spearing then is the villain of the match.
I’m sure the lad will be inconsolable at being hooked after 55 minutes but the truth is that he does not have enough about him to shine on the top table.
Reds fans will do well to remember their criticism of Lucas who was perceived to be the root cause of Liverpool’s problems in the early Benitez years.
Lucas persisted and yesterday he was the most missed player on the park in a red shirt.
Besides he is being thrust into the heart of a Liverpool engine room bereft of genuine inventiveness.
Spearing and Henderson both struggled to overcome the experienced composure and passing of Lampard and Mata and for the Reds Gerrard had to sacrifice going forward to help shore up the midfield.
The introduction of Carroll for Spearing with about thirty minutes to go totally changed the dynamic and all of a sudden the red tide swept forward.
But before we come to that…
Dalglish has always said:
“we do our thing and it’s up to them to try and stop us”.
But here it didn’t feel that way. It felt like we were trying to stifle the game.
For what reason?
Chelsea are getting good at playing on the break. Ramires has pace and Drogba has accuracy.
Trying to suffocate them by matching them man for man in midfield did not seem right.
Having to match Chelsea’s experienced players in midfield with young talent is where the match was won and lost.
But the cupboard is bare.
With Lucas and Adam out injured Liverpool are short of options and it shows.
People will point to Newcastle and say how well they have done but look at their injury record.
Now look at Aston Villa and see how close they have come to being relegated.
And so to the big question:
Will Andy Carroll come good?
On this performance – undoubtably. He was man of the match.
He turned John Terry inside out for his first goal and that is some feat.
He could have scored the equaliser although Cech had a say in that.
Did it cross the line or didn’t it?
Its history and we have had enough say on goal line technology to last until it happens.
Carroll was a man possessed and that is exactly the type of player everyone knows he can be.
Out jumping, out muscling, out thinking, Don’t know about the last one but we need a player in the Mcmahon Mould, the Souness mould.
A 35 million price tag has to be a cross to bear. It has to play on your mind and affect your performance.
In your head you must ask yourself if you justify the price tag.
Am I worth it? Am I worthy of the support and adulation?
Am I worthy of myself?
On this performance he has come to terms with it and more. He took the game by force and was only on the losing side because Cech was his equal.
An amazing save and one that Reina would probably not have made.
For Liverpool the rebuilding starts now and it would have whatever the result.
Will FSG stick with Dalglish? The fans think they should and these fickle times they are to be commended.
Roy Hodgson got his marching orders not because of results but because of performances.
This was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Liverpool and Dalglish knows what has to be done to kill the Jekyll and free the Hyde.
Or free the Hyde and Murder the Jekyll
For Chelsea their conundrums start with keeping a manager who has morphed a team of underachievers into a team of winners.