Top teams will pick Reds off
Former Liverpool striker John Toshack warned the Reds
they have a long way to go to compete with the top
European clubs after he watched their 2-1 defeat to
Sky pundit Toshack, who has managed both Real Madrid and
Real Sociedad, believes Gerard Houllier's side did not
pass the ball well enough and rarely threatened the
And Toshack, a Liverpool striker himself in the 1970s,
criticised boss Houllier for playing too many players
out of position.
"It looked like a European side agaisnt a British side,"
he said. "The top European sides would have picked
Liverpool off on the counter-attack.
"Liverpool conceded a lot of possession. The two centre
backs and Igor Biscan lost an awful lot of balls.
"In the second half, I don't think Cudicini had a shot
to save. Liverpool had five players [Michael Owen, Milan
Baros, Emile Heskey, Harry Kewell and El-Hadji Diouf) in
attack, but they just got in each other's way. Liverpool
finished with so many square pegs in round holes.
"Liverpool are going to have a lot more matches like
that this season," he concluded.
Toshack felt Liverpool missed their two absent
midfielders. "Gerrard and Hamann weren't playing. They
link the defence and the attack - and without them, look
at the space [Juan Sebastian] Veron had for the goal."
He was more impressed with Chelsea, adding: "Geremi was
very disciplined and Lampard did well. Away from home,
they had three men in the centre of midfield [with
Veron] and that was the foundation of the victory."
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier demanded his team
improve their finishing after Chelsea's better touch in
front of goal ensured they departed Anfield with the
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's late goal proved decisive
after Juan Sebastian's first-half opener had been
cancelled out by Michael Owen's retaken penalty.
"We thought we deserved at least an equaliser," said
Houllier. "Chelsea were extremely clinical, they had two
chances in the first half, one was saved by Jerzy Dudek
and one we slipped and they scored.
"We could have done better after the equaliser in terms
of compactness, but this is Liverpool and we wanted a
"We played a good side. The finishing is not yet at the
level of the team performance and the production of
chances, but it will come.
"I told my staff that the first goal would be vital and
whoever scores will take control but because we needed
to take some risks, once we equalised we didn't feel
"We created chances, didn't finish them and it cost us
the game. We could have at least got a draw but we must
keep the mental stamina, the players showed qualities
which are very important for the future.
"We didn't finish well but we made openings and that is
a good position to move forward from."
Hasselbaink sinks Liverpool
BBC Sport Online
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's dramatic late winner gave
Claudio Ranieri's expensively-assembled Chelsea a
winning Premiership start at Liverpool.
Liverpool looked to have snatched a point thanks to a
controversial twice-taken late penalty from Michael
But Hasselbaink - on as a half-time substitute and
playing for his Chelsea future - struck with three
minutes left to give the Londoners a rare Anfield win.
It left billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich,
watching from the Anfield directors' box, celebrating at
the final whistle.
And it fired a warning to Chelsea's potential title
rivals that Abramovich's cheque book will make them a
force to be reckoned with this term.
Chelsea gave five of their summer signings a debut -
with Joe Cole left on the substitute's bench.
But it was one of the Stamford Bridge old guard,
goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who made a crucial
contribution in the opening seconds.
Emile Heskey set up Danny Murphy, who forced Cudicini
into a brilliant diving save.
Harry Kewell was heavily involved on his Liverpool
debut, but he wasted a glorious chance after 23 minutes,
firing across the face of the goal with Owen unmarked.
Chelsea had rarely threatened, but sprung out of defence
brilliantly to break the deadlock seconds later.
Jesper Gronkjaer's cross from the right was met by Veron
as Stephane Henchoz slipped, and the Argentine thundered
a finish past Jerzy Dudek.
And Eidur Gudjohnsen should have doubled Chelsea's
advantage after 32 minutes.
Veron was creator, sending the Icelander clear, but he
delayed and Dudek saved smartly.
Chelsea coach Ranieri made a change at the interval,
replacing Gudjohnsen with Hasselbaink.
Liverpool had more of the possession, but Chelsea
continued to pose the greater threat.
Kop boss Gerard Houllier made a double change with 20
minutes left, sending on Steve Finnan and Milan Baros
for Henchoz and Igor Biscan.
And Liverpool were level in controversial circumstances
after 76 minutes.
Chelsea bitterly disputed a Liverpool throw in - and
their disappointment deepened when Wayne Bridge hauled
down El-Hadji Diouf in the area.
Owen sent his first spot-kick hopelessly wide, but
referee Steve Bennett ordered it to be re-taken after
Cudicini encroached off his line.
Liverpool striker Owen slammed home his second attempt
to Chelsea's obvious disgust.
But Chelsea responded in style and were back in front
with only three minutes left, courtesy of a trademark
He pulled a Frank Lampard pass out of the air and
dragged a brilliant finish into Dudek's far corner to
take the points.