After The Match 


Chelsea-Liverpool 2-0 (1-0)               05.02.06                  PL
Goals: Gallas (35), Crespo (68)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Warnock, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Riise, Kewell, Crouch
Subs: Garcia (Riise 61), Cisse (Sissoko 75), Dudek (Garcia 84)
Not used: Traore, Morientes
Yellow: Garcia (63), Alonso (90)       Essien (47)
Red: Reina (82)
Referee: A Wiley
Attendance: 42,316
Shots on target: 5-1
Shots off target: 4-10
Possession: 46.9-53.1
Fouls conceded: 16-17
Corners: 5-5
Offsides: 9-2
Yellow: 1-2


HEADLINES "...I must go
to the hospital to see how Robben is..."
     Rafael Benitez

0702: Time for clubs to act on the antics
0702: Reina: Arjen deserves Oscar
0602: Alan Hansen's column
0502: Mourinho avoids war of words
0502: Rafa: Is Robben in hospital?
0502: Gallas and Crespo see off Liverpool

Time for clubs to act on the antics

By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo

When I was a player, we used to consider diving and cheating to be a foreign disease.

We took pride in our league being different to those abroad. We knew what to expect when we played in Europe, but there was an unofficial code of conduct in this country.

The events at Stamford Bridge on Sunday underlined how things have changed and the cynical behaviour we used to associate with European clubs has crept into English football.

Arjen Robben's conduct should prove a watershed.

It would be easy for me to call on the FA to throw the book at the Dutchman and make an example of him, but I'd prefer to go down another route first.

The first thing I'd say is Pepe Reina has only himself to blame for the red card. As Rafa Benitez said, his goalkeeper made a mistake. When you raise your hands, you're always vulnerable to a dismissal. Personally, I wouldn't appeal against the decision.

But I'd like to see fellow professionals and managers condemn Robben's role in the red card.

There's no question he reacted in order to get Reina sent off. With his side 2-0 up and the game won, that's nothing short of disgraceful. In this case, I don't see how any word other than 'cheat' is appropriate for what he did.

Football has a duty to become self-policing on such an issue. When a player dives, I'd like to see his own team-mates yelling at him to get up and stop acting. I know there will be people in his own dressing room disgusted as much as the rest of us.

I'd like to hear a manager criticise the actions of his player when he's blatantly over-reacting. This is the real solution. Let's embarrass the culprits so much, they're reluctant to ever do the same again.

If the clubs and players can't sort themselves out, the FA should intervene.

If Chelsea aren't prepared to criticise Robben, the FA would be entitled to look at the incident again.

The so-called compliance unit looks at matters of indiscipline, and surely Robben's behaviour comes under that category?

If deliberately getting a player sent off isn't bringing the game into disrepute, what is?

Reina is banned for three games, but if Robben was suspended for one, you might see him think twice before pulling off a stunt like that again.

There were countless examples of players raising their arms to opponents on Sunday. Both Reina and Kewell took slight blows to their face, but neither reacted like Robben.

The referee saw the contact but had no idea of its force. He had to make his judgement based on the player's reaction.

When he looks at the replay, he'll conclude his decision to send Reina off was understandable, but he'll also know he was conned.

Either the players must sort themselves out to stamp such incidents out, or the FA must do it for them.

Reina: Arjen deserves Oscar


Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina has branded Chelsea winger Arjen Robben an actor who deserves an Oscar for his performance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

But Robben has hit back, claiming: "I wasn't the one who lost control."

Spaniard Reina was shown the red card for pushing Dutchman Robben in the face nine minutes from time in Chelsea's 2-0 league win.

Liverpool decided not to appeal against referee Alan Wiley's decision, which caused a storm of controversy because of Robben's theatrical reaction to the goalkeeper's tame push.

It means Reina will serve an automatic three-match suspension, starting with Wednesday's Premiership encounter with Charlton at The Valley. The ban will also include Saturday's early afternoon kick-off against Wigan at the JJB Stadium, and the Anfield showdown with Arsenal on February 14.

"I am furious with Robben for what happened. My red card was unjust, which makes it so sad for me," Reina told the Daily Star.

"Robben is a big actor and he did well enough to win an Oscar. I would never hit out at another player and hurt them in the way Robben suggested by collapsing.

"Robben is an excellent player but he was deceitful with the way he behaved.

"He exaggerated what happened and therefore forced the referee to send me off. If we had been at Anfield, I would never have got a red card.

"There was also a lot of pressure from the crowd. My team-mates feel the same and are very angry.

"This has now harmed the team in the championship because at the moment we need all our players available and I will now be banned for three games."

But Robben is stunned he is being blamed and, according to the Daily Mail, told Dutch television: "Reina was the one who got carried away, not me. He made a crazy challenge on Eidur (Gudjohnsen) over by the touchline and I told him so when he ran past on his way back to the goal.

"I can't remember the exact words I used, but it was something along the lines of 'That was a stupid thing to do, wasn't it?'

"The next thing I know, he swings round and reacts with his hands.

"I don't see how I can be blamed for that. I wasn't the one who lost control.

"I don't think people from Liverpool should be talking about me, either. They should be having a look at themselves."

Alan Hansen's column

By Alan Hansen - Match of the Day pundit and BBC Sport columnist

Arjen Robben has been heavily condemned for his over-reaction to the push which saw Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina sent off in their defeat at Chelsea - and rightly so.

I am a great believer in the rule that says if you raise your hands in a game you are in serious trouble, so I am not mounting any defence for Reina.

But this wouldn't be the first time Robben has done something like this, so we can hardly say it is out of character.

This is a continental trait. The foreign imports have brought many great things to our game, with their skill and technical ability, but they have also brought bad things.

One of those is going down as if you have been shot when no-one has actually touched you.

In a time when a debate is raging about bung culture in football, this is another seedy side of the game and now is the time for referees and football authorities to act.

I would be in favour of retrospective punishment for players who are guilty of clearly feigning, or deliberately attempting to get another player into trouble.

We can all watch incidents we regard as 50-50, but in an open and shut case then I would be comfortable with disciplinary action being taken.

In front of a big crowd and the television cameras, Robben's reaction was disgraceful.

If he stays on his feet or has a laugh and a joke with Reina about the incident, who knows what would have happened?

This was the worst possible reaction.

Sadly, I am afraid it is the result of the growing continental influence on our game.

If you played in European competition 20 or 30 years ago, you always had to be wary. I'm not talking about raising hands, I'm talking about tackling. The slightest push or contact and they would go tumbling to the ground.

In the last 10 years it has escalated in this country. It has certainly caught on and the penalties and rewards for success and failure are so great that more people are doing it.

It is time the authorities got a grip on it, and if you have players going down clutching their throat when they have hardly been touched, then I would advocate bringing in some sort of system to combat it.

This behaviour is bad for everybody, players and supporters - and anything that reduces it, or eradicates it has got to be good.

As for the game itself, Liverpool dominated large portions as they did in their defeat at Manchester United, but still lost.

The goals return from Liverpool's three strikers, Djibril Cisse, Fernando Morientes and Peter Crouch, has just not been good enough.

Liverpool have scored 30 goals in 23 Premiership games, and if you are team with designs on the Premiership you can forget it with that strike rate.

The moment that summed up Liverpool came early in the second half when Steven Gerrard delivered the most invititing of crosses into the six-yard area and no striker was in close attendance.

It wasn't as if Gerrard had broken clear and the strikers could not reach it - they just didn't react.

Rest assured if Hernan Crespo had been playing for Liverpool that would have been a goal.

This is why Liverpool have signed Robbie Fowler. When all debates about his fitness are over one thing is certain - he will always find the net.

Last season I often suggested the one thing Chelsea lacked was a natural goalscorer, with Crespo out on loan at AC Milan, now he is back and providing that cutting edge.

Sadly, on a day when Chelsea showed they will be champions again, it is the actions of Arjen Robben that have claimed the headlines.

Mourinho avoids war of words


Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho refused to become embroiled in a war of words with Rafael Benitez after the Liverpool manager accused Dutch winger Arjen Robben of deliberately diving to get goalkeeper Jose Reina sent off.

Reina was dismissed nine minutes from time for pushing Robben in the face and now faces a three-match ban.

Liverpool have already confirmed they are to appeal against referee Alan Wiley's decision but Mourinho, who watched his side win 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, was not interested in replying to Benitez's accusations.

Instead he preferred to dwell on a game that has taken his side one giant step closer to their second successive title.

"I am not interested in what Benitez has said," declared Mourinho.

"I have just finished a big game, a game that we won and played very well. A game that we should have won three or four to zero.

"A game where we scored one of the most beautiful goals in the Premiership this season and the referee didn't allow it. A game that leaves us in the countdown to be champions.

"We need eight victories and when we get the next one, we go back to seven and to six and to five. A game that gave us the 50th victory in the Premiership in the last one and a half years.

"A game that out of nine against Liverpool in this period, we lost one. A game that proved we are the best team in the country and so I am happy with all things.

"Why should I comment on Rafa's words? He can say what he wants but sometimes we say things without thinking, especially after we lose.

Rafa: Is Robben in hospital?

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez has launched a scathing attack on the theatrics of Chelsea winger Arjen Robben for the incident that saw Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina sent-off during the Reds' 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Benitez did not condone Reina's reaction when he touched Robben, but felt Chelsea's Dutch international made a meal out of the situation.

"I'm in a hurry and I must go to the hospital to see how Robben is, he could be in hospital for a week," commented Benitez.

"It's a crazy situation. Reina made a mistake when he was provoked and touched Robben on the face, but has he broken his neck? I don't understand why you can kick everyone in a game then you touch one player and you are sent-off.

"What sort of professional would do that to another professional knowing he could make him miss three matches?"

Liverpool are likely to appeal against the decision which is set to rule Reina out of the coming matches against Charlton, Wigan and Arsenal.

"On the game itself we created chances in the first half but we made a mistake from a corner and we paid the price for it. Chelsea are a good team and played good counter attacks," added the manager.

"What we need to do is score more goals from the chances we create. In the first half we played well but as soon as we made the mistake Chelsea could play the game as they wanted. They're a good side."

Gallas and Crespo see off Liverpool

BBC Sport Online

Chelsea's quality of finishing proved the difference as they beat rivals Liverpool to move 15 points clear at the top of
the Premiership.

William Gallas put Chelsea ahead when he diverted in a close range shot after Ricardo Carvalho's brave header.

Liverpool created some promising openings but failed to take them.

Hernan Crespo drove in an angled shot to seal Chelsea's win before Reds keeper Jose Reina was red-carded for shoving Arjen Robben in the face.

The two teams were meeting for the fourth time this season and predictably the familiarity resulted in the usual cagey start.

But it was Liverpool who wrestled the early superiority of the game after creating the first chance.

Steven Gerrard whipped in a corner to the near post where the unmarked Jamie Carragher failed to catch his header properly from six yards and the home defence cleared.

Liverpool were troubling the Chelsea defence with their balls into the box and Sami Hyypia headed wide from another corner while Peter Crouch nodded over from a John Arne Riise cross.

And, after Crouch again headed over again when Hyypia nodded a free-kick across goal, Chelsea took advantage of their visitors' generosity.

Ironically, the goal came from their first corner with Gallas swivelling to turn Carvalho's header into the Reds goal.

Joe Cole should have done better than put an angled rive into the side-netting after dispossessing Stephen Warnock.

Liverpool were once more left breathing a sigh of relief after Reina spilled John Terry's header with Crespo being ruled offside after sliding in the loose ball.

The visitors pressed for an equaliser with Gerrard seeing his well-struck drive parried by keeper Petr Cech.

But any hopes the Reds had of levelling were all but ended when Crespo was played on side by Warnock and lashed in an angled drive.

Liverpool's misery was compounded when Reina was sent-off for a push on Robben.

Robben seemed to make more of the incident than appeared necessary as he fell to the ground before a stormy clash between both sets of players.

But it did not affect Chelsea as they eased to their 50th Premiership win under manager Jose Mourinho.

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Thor Zakariassen