By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
I was really impressed with Liverpool's
performance against Chelsea at the weekend and the challenge
for them now is to repeat it week in, week out.
The work every player put in was fantastic to see and Iím
sure the Liverpool fans who made the trip to London for the
game, and those who were watching at home on TV, really
Dirk Kuytís work rate was absolutely incredible. He never
stopped running from the first minute to the last and when
you play alongside someone who is like that their commitment
I know that Dirk has come in for a bit of criticism this
season because he has not scored the goals he would have
liked, but you could never have a go at him for the effort
he puts in.
That says a lot about him as a person because it can be easy
to go and hide when things arenít going too well for you.
But Dirk never does that. He keeps showing for the ball and
fighting for the team.
Peter Crouch was also excellent. I know how hard it can be
when you play up front on your own and there were times in
the second half when he was a bit isolated. However, his
hold up play was superb and that allowed the midfield
runners to get forward into attack.
But what I would say is that Liverpool have to use this
performance as the benchmark for the rest of their season.
Thereís no point going to Chelsea, being the better side and
getting a good result if you donít reproduce that kind of
effort and determination in the games to come.
In recent weeks, Liverpool have started far too slowly in
games at Anfield against lesser opponents and that has given
them a chance to settle. But if Liverpool get at them like
they got at Chelsea then there are few sides who can live
The way they played at Chelsea showed everyone just what
they can do and now they have to do it in every game.
Carra influence rubs off on new boy Skrtel
Martin Skrtel was one of Liverpoolís star performers at
Chelsea, but I think a lot of the credit for that must go to
When you are new in a team, particularly if you have come in
from abroad, it can be difficult to settle so you need
plenty of help.
Skrtel is lucky to have Carragher alongside him because he
is such a good talker and that is exactly what he needs at
Iíve believed for a long time that Carragher is one of those
players who is worth his place in the side even if heís not
at his best because of his leadership qualities. The way he
helped Skrtel through the Chelsea game proved that.
From having a bit of a difficult debut against Havant &
Waterlooville in the FA Cup, Skrtel has really improved over
the last couple of weeks and he definitely looked the part
Chelsea played with just Nicolas Anelka up front but, as
everyone at Anfield knows, he is a handful on his own and
Skrtel handled him really well.
And even when they put Alex up front in the dying minutes it
didnít faze Skrtel at all and he just kept on doing the
simple things and defending properly.
Hopefully, this was the sign of things to come because on
the basis of this performance Skrtel looks like a good
Mark Lawrenson: Draw is
a step in the right direction
By Richard Williamson - Liverpool Daily Post
Liverpool were decent value for their
at Stamford Bridge.
As always when the two sides meet, there was little in it
but Rafael Benitezís side created their share of chances to
have taken more than a point off Chelsea.
Although Liverpoolís season has been undermined by a number
of draws this year, the point picked up against a fellow top
four side represents a step in the right direction.
However the fact that Liverpool are still so far off the
pace when it comes to winning the Premier League side
illustrates how much work remains to be done at Anfield.
On the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Sunderland, not
losing to Chelsea is a good result and the fate of the race
for a place in next yearís Champions League remains in their
However it is the lack of quality in depth in the Liverpool
squad that remains a cause for concern. Clearly Benitez
still needs new faces Ė but the uncertainty surrounding the
club during the last transfer window has not helped.
There now needs to be a clear strategy and positive support
for the manager to enable him to plan properly for the
summer transfer market so he can continue to build a team of
winning Liverpoolís first league title since 1990.
The likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Fernando
Torres would walk into any of the top four sides Ė but can
you say the same of many of their colleagues?
Liverpool cannot afford to let doubts over the future
ownership of the club, the new stadium or the manager
himself unhinge their summer spending plans.
hails Reds display
By Lewis Rutledge - Sky Sports
Jose Reina believes Liverpool found the
right balance between attack and defence in the goalless
Reina was barely tested in a tight encounter at Stamford
Bridge as Liverpool contained Chelsea expertly to clinch a
The Reds could have emerged victorious as they created one
or two good opportunities, with Peter Crouch smashing a shot
just wide in the first half.
Reina insists he was not disappointed with the result but
rather buoyed by the performance of his team-mates.
The Spanish goalkeeper feels if Liverpool carry on in the
same manner for the rest of the season they will start to
collect more wins at home.
"We played really well and created some chances, and a draw
is always a good result at Stamford Bridge," he told the
club's official website.
"It's always difficult to beat them at home - I think it's
been four years since we did that.
"They are a really top side so we have to be really happy
about the score and some of the things we did during the
"No we have to get victories and results as good as this at
"We have to keep playing like this, with a solid defence and
creating chances in attack."
Gerrard: We rocked Bridge
By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo
Steven Gerrard today hailed his Liverpool
team-mates for producing a performance which could have seen
them become the first away side to win at Stamford Bridge in
the league for four years.
The Reds had to settle for a point against Chelsea after a
0-0 draw despite being the better side for long spells.
Although disappointed with Liverpool's failure to turn
dominance into goals, Gerrard was delighted with a display
which was a vast improvement on recent outings.
He said: "It was definitely a big improvement on how we've
played of late.
"We looked more solid defensively and I thought we were the
better side over the 90 minutes and if anyone was going to
win it was us.
"Certain players who have had a bit of criticism of late
performed really well and I think it was a good team
performance against a side that have been playing very well
"There are definitely a lot of positives to take out of this
"I've been here before and we've been dominated for large
periods of the game but I think we controlled the majority
of this game and it felt as if we could have snatched it."
With Man City, Everton and Aston Villa all winning at the
weekend, the single point they picked up meant Liverpool
lost ground on their rivals for fourth spot.
And Gerrard believes everyone at Anfield now has to
recognise they are in a battle for fourth and must meet the
challenge head on.
He said: "We realise now that we're facing a big challenge
to finish in the top four and we've got to forget about the
title and focus on fighting for fourth place.
"There are a lot of teams around us who are in good form and
playing well so it's important that we don't let our
Yesterday's draw means Liverpool are still to win away
against any of the other three members of the big four under
But the Reds captain believes that long sought -after
victory could come this season at either Old Trafford or The
Emirates Ė if Liverpool play like they did at Stamford
Bridge and show a more ruthless streak in front of goal.
He said: "When we do go to those places we've got to perform
like we did yesterday and maybe an extra five or ten per
cent could see us nick a win.
"I just thought we lacked that cutting edge in the final
third but I can't fault many other things because it was a
"I don't think you could fault any player. In interviews a
couple of days before the game I said you need every player
performing close to the maximum and I think we got that."
Martin Skrtel picked up a sprained wrist during yesterday's
game but the injury is not expected to keep him out of
Saturday's FA Cup tie at home to Barnsley.
We could have won
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez praised his team for their
performance in the goalless draw against Chelsea at Stamford
Bridge but admitted the Reds could perhaps have won the
Liverpool moved back into fifth place in the Barclays
Premier League table with the point gained in London.
Benitez's side are now three points behind Everton with a
game in hand.
Taking into account his side's recent away record at
Chelsea, Benitez felt there was a lot of encouragement for
the Reds to gain from this display.
"Normally to get a point away at Chelsea is a good situation
but in the first half we had some good chances to win the
game," said Benitez.
"In the second half we had to defend more but we did that
well and also had some half chances close to their box. We
could have taken three points but it's not easy when you
play against a good team.
"I was pleased with the team, especially the first half
performance because we created some really clear
opportunities. Crouch had some good chances but as team we
showed character and the commitment of every player was very
"Chelsea are a very good team with very good players
starting with their goalkeeper. To create the chances we did
was very positive for me. If you cannot take your chances
you know that is the difference between winning and drawing
"Overall I would say to get a point here is not bad but when
you have chances like we did to win here today you must be
"The plan as always was to win the game and we didn't play
for a draw. We were attacking and did almost everything
that's needed for winning."
"We now need to think about trying to take three points in
every game we play. We now have two important games in the
FA Cup and Champions League coming up and we need to think
"In terms of our position in the table we need to keep
working hard and play as we did today if it's possible. If
we can do that against the other teams then I'm sure we will
"Every game is important for us and it doesn't matter what
competition it is. We want to finish in the top four and we
need to think about the next three points at home against
The boss also had words of encouragement for Martin Skrtel
who gave an accomplished display at centre half alongside
"Martin did well," said Benitez. "His fitness was good and I
think he will get even better because he is learning
English, and tactically he will also improve the
understanding with his teammates."
Grant: We're still in title hunt
Avram Grant insisted Chelsea are still in
the race for the Premier League title after their 0-0 draw
with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues missed the chance to close the gap on
second-placed Manchester United, who slipped up against
Manchester City earlier in the day, while Arsenal could
extend their lead at the top of table when they face
Blackburn at home on Monday.
But Grant claimed his side are capable of mounting a serious
"We can still win the title, it will not be easy, but we can
do it and we will challenge to the end," Grant told Sky
"Every player coming back for us will make us stronger and
we need them back. Players coming back from the African
Nations Cup will help us. Frank Lampard also returned and I
thought he played well.
"Of course every game which we don't win we are
disappointed, especially when it is a home match.
"We created some chances against Liverpool but it was not a
game that was high on quality and was very tactical.
"We had chances to win the game but were unable to get the
goal. We changed with subs and tried to win the game but it
was not such a good game."
Stalemate at the Bridge
By James Dall - Sky Sports
Chelsea failed to capitalise on Manchester
United's slip up as an uninspiring encounter against
Liverpool at Stamford Bridge ended 0-0.
United's shock 2-1 defeat to Manchester City earlier on
Sunday presented Avram Grant's side with an opportunity of
move within one point of the Premier League champions.
But in a game of few chances, neither side managed to break
down their opponent's disciplined defence.
Peter Crouch was guilty of missing the fixture's best chance
when he smashed just wide after Ryan Babel had teed him up
12 yards out from goal.
The game's main talking point came on 25 minutes, with Mike
Riley waving away penalty appeals after Javier Mascherano
clumsily collided with Joe Cole in the box.
Liverpool began brightly and Steve Finnan's cross in the
14th minute did allowed the giant frame of Peter Crouch to
head wide of the target from six yards.
Crouch, once more, should have put the visitors in front on
17 minutes when he combined cleverly with Babel before
driving a low left-footed drive wide of Petr Cech's upright.
Two minutes later a run down the right flank by Steven
Gerrard saw his cross find Crouch unmarked on the edge of
the six-yard box, but the England striker could not direct
his free header wide of Cech.
Chelsea thought they should have been awarded a penalty in
the 26th minute when Cole was up-ended in the area but
referee Riley waved away their appeals.
A cross from Liverpool's Gerrard in the 33rd minute was only
half-cleared by Ricardo Carvalho and Chelsea were lucky to
see a follow-up shot from Lucas deflected to safety.
The visitors were now enjoying a greater share of possession
but were finding it difficult to engineer a clear-cut
Crouch was a continual threat in the air and he should have
at least hit the target when he got on the end of a cross
from Dirk Kuyt in the 37th minute.
The move was again sparked by a pass from Gerrard who was
now beginning to stamp his authority on the midfield.
Chelsea were still a threat on the break, though, and
Nicolas Anelka won a corner when a speculative 20-yard
effort was deflected wide by John Arne Riise.
Chelsea were much better after the restart and Claude
Makelele, not known for his goalscoring prowess, was
predictably well off-target with a long-range effort in the
But The Blues were finding it difficult to break down a
Liverpool defence that steadfastly refused to buckle and it
required more than the energetic enthusiasm of the lone
Anelka to unlock
It was clear Anelka required some help if Chelsea were to
break the deadlock and Grant, in keeping with his penchant
for attacking football, opted to introduce Florent Malouda
into the fray in place of Shaun Wright-Phillips two minutes
A mistake by Gerrard, who was caught in possession by
Makelele, almost allowed Cole to punish the Reds but his
cross was headed away for a corner by Finnan.
Moments later it was the visitors who caused problems for
the home side but a quick break ended with Crouch's
inability to finish off a cross from Babel.
Michael Ballack almost snatched a late winner 10 minutes
from the end but his volley fell just inches wide of Jose
Reina's left-hand upright.