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Chelsea v Liverpool: Battle of the Number 8’s

October 3, 2009

Fans of Chelsea and Liverpool would have been scowering through the 2009/2010 fixtures list in mid-July, with the aim of pinpointing arguably their biggest games of the season. This contest certainly falls into that category.

In years gone by, matches between Chelsea and Liverpool have been displays of technical class, wonderful ability, and plenty of goals. One gets the feeling that this tussle will fail to disappoint.

There’s a lot at stake for both sides on Sunday. Chelsea lost their first League game of the season last weekend at the hands of a plucky Wigan, whilst Liverpool travelled to Italy in mid-week only to be outplayed by a very impressive Fiorentina side. Remarkably, that defeat at the DW Stadium prompted some people to start casting doubts over the future of Carlo Ancelotti. Now we know that in this day and age managers seldom get the rub of the green when results aren’t going their way, and usually it’s 10/15 matches into a season when they get the boot, but talk of Ancelotti going after just one defeat this season is completely ludicrous.

Many have touted the Italian as being the ‘next Scolari’, but so far there’s very little evidence of that. Yes, Chelsea lost to Wigan, and yes they can’t afford to be losing those kind of matches on a regular basis, but it’s just one blip out of 38 Premier League matches. I’m sure they’ll bounce back sooner or later.

As for Liverpool, Rafael Benitez is a manager under far more pressure than his Chelsea counterpart. A poor start to the season in all competitions has already dispelled some fans’ hopes of winning the League, or Champions League come next summer. The depth of the squad at Anfield, as well as the quality of players has constantly come under scrutiny, and there is no doubt that Sunday will be the Reds’ biggest test yet. Should they come through that with 3 points I’m sure all those doubts will disappear, for a day or two at least. However, should Liverpool fail to bag at least 1 point, more question marks, and more pressure will build on the Spaniard.

The key battles haven’t really changed from previous clashes. The main talking point will be the two no.8’s in the middle of the park. Messrs Lampard and Gerrard. Many say they can’t play together, but the spotlight will now be on the two battling against each other as they sought to regain some Premier League momentum for their teams.

Lampard is renowned for his ability to find space and pop up in the box unmarked, therefore scoring his fair share of goals. I would hope Javier Mascherano would be given the job of marking Lamps out the game, and therefore dispelling Chelsea’s main midfield threat. Gerrard on the other hand loves running with the ball, making those darting runs forward, and of course supplying Torres with pinpoint precision. Goals from Gerrard are guaranteed throughout a season, and he very often pops up at vital times. Michael Essien will probably be given the job of keeping Stevie quiet. A difficult task nonetheless.

The Torres – Terry contest also throws up some interesting talking points too. Torres has been in great form in the early season, and been rewarded with the Player of the Month for September. John Terry, England captain and one of the World’s best centre-halfs, will have his work cut out, but he’ll more than be up to the prospect of keeping Torres quiet.

Finally, Didier Drogba and the whole of the Liverpool backline will be a very interesting watch. Drogba’s physical, bullying presence will keep Jamie Carragher and the likes on their toes, and with Drogba’s reputation for going down a little too easily, they’ll have to be careful not to concede any silly free-kicks close to goal. Especially with the likes of Lampard and Ballack, two first-class free-kick specialists, amongst the Chelsea ranks.

Whenever Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge Rafael Benitez always seems keen on employing a cautious, counter-attacking setup. This time however, having already conceded too many points for my liking this season, a more aggressive, ‘in-your-face’ approach would be very refreshing to see. Yes, we may concede a goal or two, but with Torres, Gerrard, Benayoun, and Kuyt all finding the net with consummate ease at the moment, the likelihood is we’d score a few too.

Chelsea play attacking Football wherever they go. They have great ability in the final third, as well as a solid defensive unit that deals with the counter-attacking threat. Where they are perhaps vulnerable is with a big striker up against Terry and Carvalho, something Liverpool don’t really possess although Torres does put himself about a bit, and down the wings. Bosingwa and Cole’s defensive ability leaves something to be desired.

For me, the team that wins will be the team that gambles the most. Risks will have to be taken, but calculated risks. Sitting back and waiting to counter is a dangerous tactic and probably one that should be abandoned for this match. Aggressive, attacking, inventive play will be the winner on Sunday.

A fascinating contest lies ahead then. I’d be very interested to hear some predictions from readers – Preferably in Liverpool’s favour.

My Prediction: 2-3

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2009 1:08 pm

    i think it will be 2-1

    whatever happens i will be happy with a 3-3 draw with both Lamps and Gerrard scoring hat tricks…for fantasy league purposes

  2. October 3, 2009 1:49 pm

    2-0 win to Liverpool..

  3. George permalink
    October 3, 2009 1:51 pm

    Thank you :-).

  4. October 3, 2009 1:56 pm

    2-1 win to Liverpool

  5. October 3, 2009 3:35 pm

    It’s the best chance for Torres to win his personal clash with Terry. I can’t see a clear victory, but what if Liverpool wins? Oh yeah, that would kill all rumours and all those opinions from the media which worship Chelsea and complain on Rafa’s work.

    • October 3, 2009 3:42 pm

      i think the uk media love Liverpool in comparison to Chelsea…The Scousers are always the media darlings

      • October 3, 2009 3:43 pm

        Come on Rob! haha. What about that other team we both are thinking about? :P

  6. October 3, 2009 4:05 pm

    Diego..over here Steven Gerrard walks on water according to the press, whereas Frank Lampard is fat! go figure. The press hate United as well. No one likes us ;-p

  7. George permalink
    October 3, 2009 4:16 pm

    For good reason.

    • October 3, 2009 4:40 pm

      yeah plenty. how many times you won the premier league? less than Blackburn (note: this is a joke!)

  8. George permalink
    October 3, 2009 4:49 pm

    Has that got anything to do with this post?

  9. George permalink
    October 3, 2009 5:04 pm

    Dude, all I’m doing is writing a subjective post – nothing about United. That’s your job.

    • October 3, 2009 5:15 pm

      as a united fan i reserve the right to have a go at all scousers at any given opportunity. No offence meant. None taken. Chill your boots

  10. October 3, 2009 9:28 pm

    Guys, as contributors to WDKF, I expect a certain level of professionalism in comments posted. Having a go at an opposing team is fine and dandy but we are a football site, and not specifically a Man Utd or Liverpool fan site. That should be left on your on personal site where you can dedicate it as your shrine to your favourite team, and bash as much mancunian or scousers as you wish.

    And I certainly don’t expect to see none of this “he started it first” nonsense. Let’s keep this straight and leave that for the kids.

    • October 4, 2009 12:25 am

      Copisco, Don Diss.
      What I refuse to leave to the kids however, is spray painting penises on pitches.
      That’s going to be my new thing.

      Anyway, I think I said 2-3 to Liverpool in my Y-K-T-S predictions.
      And I rate Gerard over Lampard although both are world class in their own right.

      And Liverpool or United, I think everyone supports England to some degree (sorry, Grandpa O’Connor)….both number 8s really do have the capacity to make or break England as we’ve seen time and time again.
      We can put differences aside when we need to. And no matter what, I think we’re all going to be treated to a cracking game of football tomorrow.

      Old Firm too. Come on you Hoops!

      • October 4, 2009 12:27 am

        And I don’t care that he’s Liverpool. I really like Dirk Kuyt.

  11. maserati4200 permalink
    October 4, 2009 9:25 am

    I’ve been thinking for some time that this site is in danger of becoming a fanzine for one or two clubs.

    There are plenty of forums and blogs for club-specific stuff if that’s what people want. Personally, I don’t. I like to read a mixture of stuff and not necessarily confined to a few clubs in Premier League.

    • October 4, 2009 4:16 pm

      The thing is- we’re not paid. We’re a group of writers who love football but are also full time employees or students who put in a lot of extra time and effort to keep this site up and running.
      Sometimes writing about something for which you feel passion comes easier when there isn’t some other gain to be made.
      It’s fair to say we’re all people who truly love the game but inspiration to put the amount of time we do into WDKF has to come from within. That may be a reason why at times things may appear one or two club heavy.
      We’re aware of the situation and we’re sorting it out internally.
      In the meantime, we appreciate continued readership as sharing our thoughts, opinions, and personalities with the people who read is- at this time, the only motivation we have to put together articles after working 8 hour days and dealing with families and other things we all have going on in our lives.
      The fact that you read it is what makes us write. So thank you and your comments are most certainly being taken into account.

      • maserati4200 permalink
        October 4, 2009 4:54 pm

        I meant it as constructive critisism.

        I really enjoy this site. Let’s not lose it through partisan nonsense.

      • October 4, 2009 6:28 pm

        Great comments! I agree its hard for me to continuously write up posts with my busy schedule. But yes it is the love of the game and the continued readership that drives me. Hopefully WDKF goes on to become something big and we can all say we’re professional football journalists =)

        Not to worry maserati, constructive criticism is always a good thing. I always believe that no matter how good you are at something, there is always room for improvement.

  12. October 4, 2009 9:31 pm

    Firstly, Maserati your comments are welcome..all constructive comments are used positively.

    Secondly, glamourdiss i do not get this link with comments and professionalism. The professionalism comes from the pieces we write, not the comments. Personally i have no interest in the comments of an article, but add my weight to add a bit of post match flavour. If you dont like a comment, you are always allowed to retort with another comment, and so on…this is the internet.

    Thirdly, Myself and Katie have done a bit of slaving keeping the site running after the difficulty YJ has had of late. Yes its unpaid, but i do it for the enjoyment, not the cash, or the hits, or whatever motivates anyones egos. The likes of United, Liverpool, etc get written about alot because they are some of the biggest clubs in the world, hence why we have tried to recruit writers like diego for his angle on Spain and Italy.

    Lastly i dont think anyone need ever explain themselves on this site. If people dont like what they are reading, think its partisan, etc then thats too bad. Stop reading, the hits will fall and the site will die. Im a bit hardline i know. All im interested in is reading interesting articles by football fans, and not people spitting the proverbial dummy out. My articles are not written to please the masses, just as my comments are not either.

  13. George permalink
    October 4, 2009 9:36 pm

    Back to the Football please people! :)

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