Chelsea Vs Liverpool Match Report 03/03/20
Chelsea Naturally Started The Game In Fear Of Liverpool, But Managed To Execute An Important 2-0 Victory Over The Reds
As the sun set over Stamford Bridge ahead of a magical FA cup night, Frank Lampard was seen in the tunnel rallying his troops for a tough game ahead, masked by Liverpool's youthful looking side with 7 changes made to Jurgen Klopp's starting 11 that lost 3-0 to Watford on Saturday.
The game started shakily for Chelsea, as after a spell of possession, Kurt Zouma was dispossessed by Sadio Mane in his own penalty area. Shaking heads and sighs were prominent in the Shed End within the first five minutes from the Chelsea fans. But attitudes were soon changed when Antonio Rüdiger narrowly slid short of scoring a priceless goal from an eager Azpilicueta flick on from a corner. Chelsea's worries were completely alleviated on the 13 minute mark when Willian's shot from outside the box was fluffed by Adrian as the ball bounced off him and ended up in the corner of the Liverpool net - Chelsea were moving up the gears.
Liverpool's young side looked unprepared to deal with Chelsea's attack, especially Neco Williams. The Right Back looked ill prepared, constantly letting Pedro slip past him in the first half, creating a multitude of space along the Chelsea left flank. As the first half drew to a close, Chelsea looked comfortable as their experience prevailed over the reds in the first 45. Seemingly, when Klopp makes a lot of changes to the starting line up like he had tonight, his team struggle to gel due to not playing with each other regularly.
The second half begun and low and behold Chelsea were expectedly levels above Liverpool, who have been seemingly lost their footing having lost club captain Jordan Henderson to injury. It was a quiet first 10 second half minutes, but Chelsea's possession reigned supreme. 18 year old prospect Billy Gilmour dominated the midfield. For a youthful lad his professionalism was unquestionable, staying calm on the ball and opening up Chelsea's formation with a singular pass. The Blues started to turn up the heat once again as Mason Mount was fouled by Fabinho on the edge of the area, only for him to smack the crossbar with a whipping free kick that sparked noise to once again build at the bridge, Chelsea knew their 1-0 lead needed building on.
The Chelsea heat proved too much for Liverpool as Ross Barkley, who has been scrutinised by fans recently, carried the ball a good 40yards and unexpectedly smashed the ball low and hard, across Adrian into the far corner of the net from about 20 yards out. Chelsea were cruising and it was clear to most that it would be Lampard's boys that would be progressing into the next round. Chelsea were the protagonists in this drama and Liverpool the pantomime villains due to Klopp's recent "disrespect" of the cup as he sent out the under 23's to play their Shrewsbury replay in the previous round. The blues could have made it 3-0 had Adrian not made an impressive save to deny Pedro one on one, who was clear in on goal due to repeated poor scouse defending.
In a desperate attempt to salvage the game, Klopp threw on Milner and Firmino for Origi and Jones in order to steady Liverpool's shape with experienced players. This seemed flawed however as Giroud was allowed to stampede through Liverpool's backline with confidence and a Chelsea shot connected with the bar for the second time that evening. It started appearing like Liverpool had gone to cloud cuckoo land for their holidays, as they have been caught lacking since the first ever premier league winter break.
As the final minutes wound down, Liverpool had failed to render a shot on target in the game for a whole hour. As a final throw of the dice, Jurgen Klopp brought Mo Salah onto the field, only for him to helplessly chase the ball around as Chelsea moved the ball effortlessly across the park. Following the game drawing to a close it was evident that Billy Gilmour had been the obvious man of the match - a crucial appearance in a Chelsea shirt for him and there's no doubt we will see him again be it in the cup or the league. The game ends 2-0 to the blues and Chelsea should feel prepared to squash the threat of Richarlison as they host Everton this weekend, whilst Liverpool should hope to put their horrific spell in the Capital behind them as they have a seemingly easy matchup against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth.