could take years to peg back Chelsea
By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
I can't see anyone catching Chelsea this season - and
I'm worried about the prospects of doing so for the next
They have so much strength and resources, it's going to
take a monumental effort for anyone to take their title
Every club, not just Liverpool, must be concerned about
how Chelsea can be stopped.
The only hope for the chasing pack this year is how Jose
Mourinho's side will react if they suffer a defeat.
Perhaps a jolt in confidence would trig-ger a slide in
Even then, I'm not sure they will endure a bad run. They
are such a formidable side with so much depth to their
squad, they would soon recover.
Liverpool, sadly, won't be able to catch them this
season, although I don't think that was ever top of the
I thought Rafa Benitez's team played as well as they
could in the Champions League fixture, whereas Chelsea
left plenty of room for improvement. I feared Mourinho's
side would up their game on Sunday, and so it proved.
In the Premiership game, Liverpool were punished for
You have to say Chelsea were just too good. They have a
lot of great players in each position. There comes a
time when you've got to give credit where it's due, as
much as it may hurt to do so.
If Liverpool had gone to a tough venue, dug in when they
had to and then broke to score four goals, we'd all be
At the highest level, you can't make the kind of
mistakes Liverpool were guilty of. Chelsea don't give
anyone a sniff, which is why they're so hard to play
I know there's little to be gained in looking at what
might have been, but I do look at some of Liverpool's
recent fixtures and think what would have happened if
Michael Owen had been signed.
It's my view the 0-0 in Europe would have been a 1-0 win
if Owen was on the pitch.
That's why it surprises me a little when I hear anyone
say there should be no regrets about not re-signing
You always have to look to the future and work with what
you've got, but when it's clear Liverpool need a
goalscorer I think the club could rue missing out on
Michael as the season progresses.
That's not the only area the side needs to improve, but
a defeat to Chelsea needs to be put into perspective.
I never felt Liverpool would be title contenders this
season anyway, and it's a bit unfair on the manager they
have been expected to catch Chelsea at all. He's still
in the process of building a side.
The realistic aim for Liverpool has always been the top
four. It's essential they get into the Champions League
spot, having missed out on instant qualification last
That's still within their capabilities and they
shouldn't allow their confidence to be affected by one
Now is a time for digging in and trying to be positive.
Liverpool have two games in hand on the rest. They are
tough fixtures, but if they had six more points, the
table wouldn't look as bad as it does today.
missing out on that knockout blow
Analysis by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
Rafa Benitez said it was like 'Seconds Out, round
two' heading into the second clash with Chelsea inside a
But instead of the two prize fighters we saw sparring on
Wednesday, yesterday's confrontation turned into a total
While this wasn't quite a knockout defeat for Benitez's
European champions, they were left staggering against
the ropes, short of a knockout punch once again and with
a cruelly exposed glass jaw.
Most frustrating is that the points for so long only
looked like ever staying at Anfield. Make no mistake,
this result could so easily have been reversed.
The Reds dominated for long periods and controlled most
of the ball, especially in the first half. But once
again their inability to finish opponents off in the
final third represented their lack of knockout punch and
again cost them maximum points.
Benitez, in his defence, reshuffled his pack opting for
John Arne Riise instead of Djibril Cisse in an effort to
get more width down the left, but with Luis Garcia again
constantly cutting inside on the opposite wing the same
lack of service that starved lone front-man Peter Crouch
on Wednesday was destined to see the Reds again fall
No doubt the plaudits will deservedly ring out once more
for Crouch as the beanpole forward caused Chelsea
problems in the air and on the ground. But the fact
remains that he is simply not adding the knockout punch.
The Reds ' 4- 5- 1 system, favoured right across the
Premiership this season, may work when you have an out
and out goalscorer leading the line - a Drogba, Reyes or
Van Nistelrooy - but Benitez must ask himself: Is Crouch
ever going to be that player?
His contributions in the seven games he's featured in so
far this campaign have made him quickly stand out and
become a favourite with fans, but the fact remains that
he is yet to score.
It's a point made all the more significant when you look
at the stats of the now completely out of favour Djibril
Cisse, who has scored seven goals in a red shirt despite
only starting six games since the summer.
There is no good grooming a prize fighter if he doesn't
have a knockout punch!
Meanwhile, at the other end the Reds' 'glass jaw' left
them wide open for punishment as first Djimi Traore,
then Sami Hyypia's schoolboy defending allowed Chelsea
to take hold of a game they were not even competing in.
With two weeks now to stew on this humiliation, Benitez
needs to come back with some strong answers when
Blackburn arrive at Anfield on October 15 - or once
again it could well be the Champions League which holds
any hope of excitement for the Red half of the city.
Sami sick after Drogba show
Facing Didier Drogba at his Sunday best can be enough
to make any defender feel sick - and that is literally
how Liverpool's Sami Hyypia felt after his showdown with
the man from Ivory Coast.
Hyypia had spent 24 hours in his sickbed and had not
eaten all weekend before having to step out against
Drogba and his unbeaten Chelsea team-mates at Anfield on
The outcome was not one Reds fans will care to remember.
Drogba produced his best display in a Chelsea shirt and
was named man of the match after helping set up all the
Londoners' goals in a ruthless 4-1 Premiership win.
Hyypia lasted until the 71st minute before being spared
more pain, and revealed: "When I came off the pitch, I
went straight to the toilet to throw up, I had been
unwell for a couple of days. My whole family had been
"It wasn't the best preparation for a game like this, it
made it more difficult for me. I was low on energy
because I hadn't eaten anything for a couple of days.
"But I don't make excuses, if I go onto the pitch I try
100% and this day wasn't up to my standards."
There were plenty more glum faces around Anfield as
Chelsea sent Liverpool spinning to their worst home
league defeat since Manchester United produced an
identical scoreline in 1969.
And Drogba's awesome display for a club who are not yet
convinced about his quality, ensured an eighth
successive league win for the champions, putting them 17
points clear of Liverpool already.
And Hyypia was left wondering why there are such
contrasts in Drogba's play.
He said: "Drogba is a good player. I remember facing him
when he was at Marseille in the Uefa Cup a couple of
years ago and he was a good player then but in England
he hasn't really shown what he can do, but against us
this time he was in good form.
"I don't know about Drogba, it's up to him. If he wants
to play like this every week, he'll be fine but
sometimes you see him playing and he isn't doing the
things that are his strengths.
"It's up to him, if he wants to be that good every week
then he can be. I don't know the guy at all so I can't
answer why there's a difference, maybe it depends on
what mood he's in.
"He's a strong man and it's difficult to to play against
him like that."
Hyypia, who admitted he "had to get his stomach sorted
out before the international break" still insisted that
Liverpool's overall display was not as bad as the
He said: "You might have seen the next champions. They
played well and won but there are still a few other good
teams around. But they will be top or near, no doubt.
"But nobody here is slicing their wrists open because of
this result, if you make mistakes against a good team
like Chelsea, this can happen.
"This has been a missed opportunity, everyone else in
the country wanted us to win so we've let them all down
a little bit.
"But we must not forget how well we started the game, it
was just a pity that we let them score too easily. Their
second goal didn't help when it came just before the
He added: "If you go a goal down against Chelsea, it's
always difficult, but when it happens twice and after
you have equalised, it's even harder. We came out after
the break and gave it everything and they had to fight
but once they got their third, it was all over.
"Of course we're disappointed with the result, but we
can bounce back. If we didn't do that we might as well
stop playing football. We will look ahead, regain our
confidence and start playing well again.
"Chelsea are always difficult opponents but they scored
their goals from our mistakes.
"They are ruthless and a good team, and this time we
made too many mistakes and they punished us for that.
"We produced too many mistakes but we have to be
positive now and look forward now to the next one."
Gerrard refusing to throw
in the title towel
By Mark Platt - LFC Official Website
Steven Gerrard is refusing to concede the title,
despite Liverpool's emphatic 4-1 defeat at home to
Chelsea on Sunday.
Gerrard netted his first Premiership goal of the season
but goals from Lampard, Duff, Drogba and Geremi
consigned the Reds to their worst home loss in 36 years.
The skipper admits it will now be very difficult to
overhaul the reigning champions and current runaway
league leaders buts insists the shattering scoreline at
Anfield was not a true reflection of the game.
"We're a long way behind but I'm not going to concede
any title in October," says a deeply disappointed
Gerrard. "I'm the captain of the club and it's my job to
drive the lads on. I don't think there's a massive gap
between the teams and I don't think the gap is 4-1.
"We played really well and the scoreline does not give a
true reflection of the game. We were disappointed to
come in 2-1 down. We were still in it but we were
punished twice when we were chasing the game.
"Every team in Europe has weaknesses but they have very
few and they are hard to find. They don't leave much
space and they are a great side."
know we must improve
By Rob Lancaster - Sky Sports
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes his side have
performed better than their results suggest after they
slipped to a disappointing 4-1 defeat at home to
The Blues became the first side to score four past
Liverpool at Anfield in The Premier League to leave The
Reds with just seven points from their first six games.
However, the former Valencia coach is unconcerned by the
club's worst start to a season in 13 years as he feels
missed opportunities have cost them points this term.
"The most important thing is we lost three points," the
Spaniard stated. "We conceded goals but we tried until
the end and that is the most important thing.
"We have had good games but the difference between a win
and a draw is sometimes one opportunity.
"We know we need to improve, but we are playing much
better than our results say."
Benitez felt some late mistakes meant his players were
on the wrong end of a one-sided scoreline after getting
off to a good start in the opening half.
"We must be disappointed because in the first half we
started really well," said the former Valencia coach.
"For the first 25 minutes we played very well, and for
the first half I saw a very good Liverpool. It is a pity
at the end because some mistakes changed the game.
"We conceded a goal before the end of the first half and
then it was difficult to score against them, we tried
but when we conceded the third goal it was impossible.
Jose: We deserve
By Rob Lancaster - Sky Sports
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes it is time his
team got the respect they deserved after they dismantled
Liverpool at Anfield.
The Blues thumped the home side 4-1 in The Premier
League clash, just four days after the two teams fought
out a 0-0 draw in Europe.
The reigning league champions came in for some harsh
criticism after a disappointing display in midweek and
they showed their true colours with an awesome team
performance on Sunday.
"Eight matches, eight victories and 18 goals, I think it
is time to respect my players a little bit more, and
Chelsea Football Club and it's supporters," stated
Mourinho after the victory.
"I'm saying that we are a very good football team with
everything a club should have; big ambition, big
mentality, team spirit, organisation, defensive quality
and individual players."
"We're not the perfect team and I'm not saying we are
the best team in the world, but I think we deserve a
little bit more respect."
On Manchester United and Arsenal's title challenge, the
former Porto boss added: "We're in front and they have
to chase us, but they have the quality to do that. They
will try everything to catch us.
The heavy home defeat leaves Liverpool 17 points back of
the current leaders, although Mourinho feels The Reds
are still tough opponents and are not a bad side based
on just one result.
"Just because they lost does not make them a bad team,"
he commented. "They are a very good team, very difficult
to beat and I think nobody enjoys playing against them.
"The result was a consequence of what happened in the
second half, they lost legs and position."
Reds Kop a
hiding as Blues run riot
By Rob Lancaster - Sky Sports
Chelsea moved nine points clear at the top of The
Premiership as Didier Drogba inspired them to a
resounding 4-1 win over Liverpool.
The reigning champions made it eight wins from eight
this season with a hard-fought win to record their third
straight league success at Anfield.
Damien Duff's goal just before the end of the first half
put The Blues back in front after Steven Gerrard had
cancelled out Frank Lampard's penalty.
Tap-in from Joe Cole, who struck the winner in the
corresponding fixture last season, and substitute Geremi
wrapped up the three points as Jose Mourinho's men
responded to criticism after their midweek display in
After a disappointing 0-0 draw in their UEFA Champions
League clash on Wednesday, the second meeting of the two
teams in the space of four days turned out to be a much
The opening exchanges gave little insight into what was
to follow and it appeared a second stalemate could be on
the cards until Djimi Traore slammed a clearance
straight at Drogba and hauled down the forward in the
area in an attempt to atone for his error.
Jose Reina developed a reputation for saving penalties
in La Liga, but the Spaniard shot stopper was unluckily
beaten by Lampard's spot kick as the ball slipped
underneath his body.
The goal, the first Liverpool had conceded at home in
The Premiership this season, broke the game open as the
midweek stalemate quickly became a distant memory.
It came as no surprise that the Reds' equaliser came
from a set-piece of their own as John Arne Riise's
left-wing corner found a way through to Gerrard, via a
flick off Jamie Carragher's head.
Despite the tight angle, the hosts' skipper managed to
find the bottom corner of the net to draw his team level
and bring the Kop back to life.
However, a moment of magic from Drogba silenced the home
fans just before the break as Chelsea went back in
The Ivory Coast front-man escaped the attention of Sami
Hyypia on the left flank with a neat turn and then laid
the ball into Duff, who slid the ball into the net after
nearly making a mess of the chance with a heavy first
Chasing the game for a second time, Liverpool rushed out
of the blocks at the start of the second half.
Riise's reluctance to use his right foot when presented
with a great opportunity to level matters straight after
the break meant a great chance went begging, while there
were shouts for a penalty from the Kop when Ricardo
Carvalho appeared to nudge Peter Crouch in the air.
Yet Chelsea managed to weather the storm and grabbed a
goal of their own just after the hour mark, albeit in
somewhat fortunate circumstances.
Drogba, who had blazed a great chance wide just after
the interval, was again at the fore as his mis-hit shot
rolled invitingly into the path of Cole, who couldn't
miss from close range.
With a two-goal advantage and time running out, Chelsea
were content to sit back and soak up pressure for the
rest of the match, confident in the thought that they
had not conceded two goals in a single game since April.
Peter Crouch spurned an excellent chance of grabbing his
first goal in a Reds' shirt when he blazed over under
pressure, but Liverpool failed to create much and their
misery was complete when they were cut open again in the
Drogba caught out a sleeping Steve Finnan at right back
to cross into the middle for Geremi to ram home into the
top of the net after Arjen Robben had failed to connect
at the front post.
The fourth goal gave Chelsea their best win at Anfield
in 98 years and means Liverpool's hopes of challenging
for the title appear to already be over at the start of