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Liverpool facing test of strength

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Phil McNulty | 10:07 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008

Liverpool fans have seen vital signs that this could actually be the season when a serious Premier League title challenge materialises out of Anfield.

Rafael Benitez has what is widely accepted to be the strongest squad he has assembled since arriving at Anfield from Valencia in 2004.

This increased strength is augmented by the presence of two genuine world-class match winners in Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

And, perhaps more importantly, Liverpool are demonstrating a grinding resilience that is enabling them to get wins from games they may have drawn - or even lost - in previous seasons.

Middlesbrough. Manchester United. Marseille. Manchester City. Wigan Athletic. All teams beaten despite taking the lead.

So far so good. But if there is a game that will enable us to deliver a more defining verdict on the seriousness of Liverpool's title aspirations, it comes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

If Liverpool can go to Chelsea and match a side playing wonderfully fluent attacking football, married to their time-honoured defensive steel, then they might really start to believe they will last the course.

The Liverpool camp is buoyant and understandably so. Former manager Roy Evans has joined midfield man Xabi Alonso in exuding an air of confidence about a trip to a ground which has brought little other than disappointment for Benitez.

And it would provide an almost incalculable level of confidence if Liverpool actually ended Chelsea's 86-game unbeaten sequence at home in the Premier League.

Easier said than done though - and more difficult if, as expected, the talismanic Torres' is missing from the starting line-up.

I said in a previous blog that I had doubts about whether Liverpool's all-round squad strength was good enough to match Manchester United's or Chelsea's.

This judgement still stands, but we will have a better idea after Sunday and it must be said that Liverpool have done almost everything asked of them so far this season.

They outplayed Manchester United at Anfield, cruised past Everton at Goodison Park and recovered spectacularly to beat Manchester City at Eastlands.

The optimists will suggests this shows the new resilience - the cynics will suggest their luck will run out sooner or later.

Liverpool will need to show more to convince me they can win the title, but this season has shown more promise than others, even last term when they made another good start.

They have yet to really hit top form and keep winning - a good title indicator - while Benitez has seemingly accepted he needs Torres and Gerrard playing in every game to win the title.

Liverpool may have got by without them in the starting team against Manchester United, but they will not win the title if either is sidelined for a serious period of time.

Chelsea, on the other hand, will see this as an opportunity to puncture the growing and justified optimism inside Anfield.

Jose Mourinho's work at Chelsea (and I make no apologies for being a huge fan of The Special One) was a masterclass in coaching. He is sorely missed in the Premier League.

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But under Luiz Felipe Scolari they have discovered an extra dimension that has made them easy on the eye as well as serial winners.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill was glowing in his praise for Chelsea after they were beaten at Stamford Bridge.

And an allegedly under-strength Chelsea could have racked up double figures in the 5-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Deco has added fluency to their play and the passing and movement fostered under Scolari has been spectacular to watch at times - and just in case we forget the Champions League win against Roma showed they can still be hard-nosed when required.

And Scolari's charisma is winning friends for a club that lost a few thanks to Mourinho's own particular brand of gunboat diplomacy - although I never had a problem with the added excitement he provided.

The Brazilian has walked into Chelsea's dressing room and commanded instant respect. He has grasped the language and it was refreshing to hear him regard an apparent injury crisis as a test of his abilities as a coach rather than a cue for excuses.

It is unlikely we will discover anything we did not already know about Chelsea on Sunday, but it is an opportunity for Liverpool to prove much about how strong they can be this season.

Liverpool's confidence levels are high. And they will need to be if they are to come through their most thorough examination of the season so far.

If they emerge unscathed from Stamford Bridge on Sunday, then there is every reason for Liverpool fans to feel their excellent start this season is not simply another false dawn.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:39pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bebe Face wrote:

    I'd like a draw out of this one but I can't see anything but a Chelsea win. The way they are playing and with their awesome home record, they will sneak it i feel.

    Skrtel being out for Liverpool is a big blow as Agger is vastly overrated and makes Carra have to do twice as much covering to make up for Aggers bad positioning.

    I know Liverpool have come on this yr but they are shipping goals which they haven't done in previous seasons. And I honestly believe that if United had played them 3 weeks later they would have at least got a draw out of it....not that i'm bias or anything....

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  • 2. At 12:40pm on 24 Oct 2008, LuigiGLFC wrote:

    The scene is set for Sunday's game to be a great spectacular - if not spectacularly great!

    Liverpool have the confidence to take on Chelsea and the steel to not panic if they go a goal behind.

    Both teams would probably settle for a draw, which given recent history has got to be the most likely result.

    There is, though, a danger that too much emphasis will be placed on the result. If Liverpool win, it will still be far too early to name them as serious contenders; similarly if they lose they will not be out of the race.

    If nothing else, Sunday's game should be exciting a highly competitive. Can't wait!

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  • 3. At 12:41pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil

    I think you've made the point that Liverpool keep going for the full 90 minutes but, and maybe crucially, their opponents have not always had 11 men for 90 minutes.

    Whilst Liverpool are doing very well it was only 2 seasons ago that Liverpool lost to a Chelsea side that had Ballack sent off just in the second half.

    Overall though, I agree that for Liverpool to win on Sunday would really add some flesh to the bones of being taken very seriously this season.

    Prediction? A draw or a Chelsea win. Can't see Terry, Carvalho & Cech being out done.

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  • 4. At 12:42pm on 24 Oct 2008, BarnsleyGriffin wrote:

    Liverpool have ground out several results this season that in recent seasons would have seen them drop points.

    Torres and Gerrard are the heartbeat of Liverpool and without Torres cutting edge Liverpool are just another average team.

    I predict Liverpool with frustrate the Chelski and hold out for a 0-0 or a 1-1.

    Without Torres Liverpool simply cannot beat Chelsea.

    If Torres and Gerrard are fit for the majority of the season and one, perhaps two quality players are added in the transfer window then Liverpool will compete this year.

    PS Skrtel's injury may prove a massive blow to the title credentials. He was looking rock solid.

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  • 5. At 12:44pm on 24 Oct 2008, RubberNutz wrote:

    I want to believe that this sunday will answer the 'Can they/Can't they?' question for Liverpool this season.

    I suspect the reality is that the match will be dull as dishwater, and answer no questions whatsoever.

    A teams title aspirations are better judged on whether you can grind out 3 points at a stubborn Mid-table team when things aren't going well and no-one really fancies it.

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  • 6. At 12:46pm on 24 Oct 2008, nefariousnilbog wrote:

    Pretty good article their Phil, not always your biggest fan but this was nicely even handed. It's going to be really tough and I have an awful feeling Chelsea will win this, but I believe we have it in us to get at least a draw.

    I think many Liverpool fans would agree when I say that even if we lose and even if we don't win the title this season we'd be happy with at least a title challenge.

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  • 7. At 12:47pm on 24 Oct 2008, Alan Dazely wrote:

    Good post Phil although I have to agrre to disagree over Mourinho. A good coach, yes but, no he didnt make thing more exciting for me. He didnt annoy me like he did some other people, I just thought he was tiresome to be honest and so unnecessary. Him and Wenger have to be the most appalling losers in the history of the PL!
    Anyway the game on Sunday. As you can see, a Liverpool fan! Yes it will be a real test for us on Sunday, one I would have hoped we could go for with the likes of Torres fit. If all others are fit I think we'll give them a good game and i can forsee a 1-1 or 2-2.
    I dont see us winning at SB. However if it goes pear shaped -ill-discipline, lack of concentration in defence, it could be embarassing -3-1 or more to the blues.
    I do think it will be a good game, better than recent lge encounters at the bridge.

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  • 8. At 12:50pm on 24 Oct 2008, gracey1031 wrote:

    great blog. sundays game will be the defining moment of liverpools season. win or draw they are genuine title contenders. lose: and they are back to square one, and out of the title race by christmas.

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  • 9. At 12:53pm on 24 Oct 2008, nefariousnilbog wrote:

    I think saying out the title race based on our first loss away against a team undefeated in 4 years is a wee bit premature considering how many the mancs lost last year and still won.

    We lost less but threw away points in games we are now winning this season.

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  • 10. At 12:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    They way I see it there are 2 possibilities to Liverpool's season.

    1. They progress from being fortunate winners, to a side whose performances improve and the points keep rolling in. If they're still near the top in January, they can begin to think about a title challenge.

    2. Benitez will make a horrendous, jaw dropping decision; that everyone sees as folly except the man himself. This one decision will begin the downturn of fortune and the likelihood of being near the top in Januray extremely low.

    Last year, Liverpools season fell apart when Liverpool drew in the league with Pompey. Rafa then rested Torres in a league game away at Birmingham (resulted in a draw), played him 4 days later in the Carling Cup against Reading (he scored a hat trick) and then rested him again the following weekend for the league.

    Liverpool dropped points and didn't recover. This was their turning point of the season.

    On November 8th Liverpool have West Brom in the league (home), November 12th Spurs in the Carling Cup (Away), then November 15th Bolton in the league (Away).

    At this point Rafa will make his one terrible decision of the season (he'll rest big players in league games to play in cup games) and any chance of a league title this year will come crashing down.

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  • 11. At 12:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, Jay wrote:

    Liverpool title contenders????? They are lacking in squad strength although the first 11 look ok. Jamie Cara 'I retiring from the national team because I feel that I am better then I really am' is a definate weak link in their team which Anelka's pace will expose.
    As for Benitez, if I spent the amount of money that he has then I would expect to be in with a shout. The only thing he is in with a shout with is being the biggest whinger of the season for 5th consecutive time.
    It's time for these overrated northerners to shut up and play up, then, 20 games in if they are still there, start the talking.

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  • 12. At 12:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, vjazz906 wrote:

    im not too optimistic about a win. fair enough we scalped Man U without Torres/Gerrard but that was at home and when united hadnt got into gear yet. sunday we're playing a team that is most definitely THE team to beat.

    they havent lost at the bridge in almost 5 years and if we are to end that run then it has to be a very disciplined game we play. the last 3 games have not been disciplined. leaking goals like the titanic.

    if we keep her steady at the back, mascherano needs to do a job on deco and then i think we can stiffle chelsea. but without torres the only way i can see us scoring is from set pieces.

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  • 13. At 12:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    MY BET IS THAT THE GAME WILL BE A DRAW,THEN HULL WILL BEAT CHELSEA ON WEDS NITE AND GO TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!

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  • 14. At 12:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    vjazz906

    'if we keep her steady at the back, mascherano needs to do a job on deco and then i think we can stiffle chelsea. but without torres the only way i can see us scoring is from set pieces.'
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Mascherano tying up Deco is perhaps not as key as all that.

    Deco hasn't played in our recent league wins (and excellent performances) and Lampard has been the man making things tick.

    However, if you are right, then likewise Mikel will need to keep a good eye on Gerrard.

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  • 15. At 1:00pm on 24 Oct 2008, k_na01 wrote:

    The title will not be decided at this game.

    It will however have a huge impact psychologically on the winner.
    For Chelsea to win, it will be a confirmation that Liverpool are not at their level.
    For Liverpool to win, it will be a self belief that we can win the title, especially with Arsenal yet to travel to stamford bridge and Man U getting a draw.



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  • 16. At 1:02pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    When considering the finance raised from player sales; Rafa's transfer budget for the summer was around 15 mil.

    When looking at the sums of money Man Utd, Chelsea, Sunderland and Spurs had available. I don't think anyone can go on about Rafa having loads of money to spend; it simply isn't true.

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  • 17. At 1:02pm on 24 Oct 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    AND I WOULDNT HAVE SAID LIVERPOOL OUTPLAYED MAN U AT ANFIELD,IT WAS AN OFF DAY FOR UNITED. WE EVEN SCORED FOR THEM

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  • 18. At 1:02pm on 24 Oct 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    The fact is all the teams that have been beaten after taking the lead, only Manchester United stand out as a good result, the rest are teams that Liverpool should be beating, and frankly the way the season has progressed it's probably fair to say they caught United on a bad day and they still needed a comedy own goal to win it. They were awful against Villa and Stoke.

    The worry is that away to a big team that is in form (ie Chelsea) if you let them go ahead especially if you let them go ahead by 2, in all likelyhood they will stay ahead, and given the rate that Liverpool have been conceding goals you can't see them keeping Chelsea out.

    It'll still be either Chelsea or United as champions at the end of the season. I'd bet my mortgage on that.

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  • 19. At 1:03pm on 24 Oct 2008, Chippelsea wrote:

    Being a Chelsea fan, I have always been pleased with whatever points we get out of Liverpool 'cos we seem to have more trouble beating them than we do beating Man U. I believe it will be a 0-0 draw and both sides will be happy. I don't think Sunday will prove anything and a loss either way, won't either.

    The standard has been set over the last couple of seasons, it is consistent winning that will bring the title home (to Chelsea) and Liverpool / Arsenal's problem tends to be they draw too often. That is the tactical mistake that Benitez keeps making, going away from home and getting a draw. Has he learnt that lesson?

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  • 20. At 1:04pm on 24 Oct 2008, SyKop wrote:

    Chelsea are THE team to beat if we want to even contend for the title - even if we won the PL, I would be upset if that didn't involve beating them at least once.

    Anyone who is not a Chelsea fan is desperate to see this fantastic home record stopped in it's tracks, but it will be very difficult to achieve - but what an achievement it would be!

    They are rock solid, and have improved under Scolari even more so. Rightly so people go on about Gerrard and Torres, but there are players that, on the day, can produce some excellent displays.

    Predicting the result like Lawro is as good a guess as anyone, that's all it is. I would love us to win, but even with our best XI it will not be easy.

    It's these games I'm worried sick who Rafa will pick for kick-off...

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  • 21. At 1:05pm on 24 Oct 2008, highthief wrote:

    It'll be an interesting match - I hope Rafa sets out with the aim to win (and a win is certainly possible), but being pragmatic, a draw would be an acceptable result.

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  • 22. At 1:06pm on 24 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    Sundays result won't win or lose the title. For example, Chelsea beat Utd there last season and Utd beat Chelsea at Old Trafford. I suspect this will be the same with Liverpool/Chelsea and also when we play Utd at Old Trafford.

    It's the results against those outside the top 4 which let us down last season (11 points, dropped at home vs Wigan, Birmingham, Villa, away at Birmingham.. etc).. And we have seen already this season (Stoke aside) that we may have addressed this issue.

    Of course i'd love a draw or a win on Sunday, a draw more likely of course, but a defeat would certainly not be the end of any title challenge.

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  • 23. At 1:10pm on 24 Oct 2008, LFChampions69 wrote:

    if Liverpool played men utd 3 weeks later than we would have had gerrard and torres fit and in good form and would have routed Man utd

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  • 24. At 1:12pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bebe Face wrote:

    "Bring the title home (to Chelsea)" Its home is either Manchester (premier league anyway) or Liverpool (18 titles) it certainly isn't the Bridge. We just loaned it out to u for a couple of yrs! ;o)

    This game won't be the crunch game for Liverpool that some are making out. It'll be games they should win, that they don't that will hinder them.

    I'm just glad we've got Anfield and the Bridge outta the way. Roll on the returns at Old Trafford!

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  • 25. At 1:14pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bebe Face wrote:

    Champs69

    Gerrard hasn't done anything against United for about 5 yrs so what makes you think it was have caused a routing?? And Torres was in Rio's pocket last season....

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  • 26. At 1:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, Jay wrote:

    Lets face it, the title will be between Arsenal and Chelsea this season. Both have top class players in all positions and great managers.

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  • 27. At 1:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bebe Face wrote:

    ihatenorwich,

    behave! Arsenal have already lost twice and haven't played anyone decent yet!

    It'll be between United and Chelsea as per with Liverpool making them both sweat closely behind. Arsenal have slipped up too much already!

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  • 28. At 1:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Word is that Torres is definitely out. A big blow - at the back of my mind I had visions of Benitez pulling a fast one and at least having him on the bench.

    Sadly, risk a hamstring injury too soon and it becomes weeks rather than days.

    Chelsea, no matter how good they are defensively, will be relieved.

    With Robbie Keane also a doubt, where do Liverpool fans think they can cause problems for Chelsea?

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  • 29. At 1:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, barnseysleftpeg wrote:

    I cant believe there are so many people on here that think if Liverpool lose this weekend that proves they have no title credentials? If they lose they are three points off the top and will have one of their toughest games out of the way? Chelsea will have to come to Anfield during the second half of the season. Its only one game.

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  • 30. At 1:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, happy_red wrote:

    It's funny, first ManU was our 'defining game', then Stoke, then Everton, then City followed by Wigan. Now it's Chelsea.

    It's only October! This game has very little bearing on Liverpool (or Chelsea's) title aspirations. Surely, Phil, you can come up with a better topic than this?

    Traditionally Liverpool have been strong in the second half of the season under Rafa but have lacked the ability to 'win dirty' as Man Utd have done during the early months. This has left us too far behind by Xmas to be able to catch up. This season we have managed to stay with the other big teams and we're still not out of second gear. This has been a characteristic of Man Utd and Chelsea for the last several years and if we can emulate their Premiership record, it bodes well.

    If Liverpool lose I'll be gutted, but in no way can we 'deliver a defining verdict' based on this game so early in the season.

    Chelsea are in outstanding form and have quality all over the field. They are playing at home where they haven't been beaten in years. Personally, I believe this one will be the usual cagey affair and both teams would accept a draw.

    I'd be ecstatic with a win, happy with a draw and would accept losing as long as we pick up in our next games and go on to make a strong challenge.

    Chelsea games have always been very tight with just the odd goal determining the outcome and very little to determine which team was the better. This one will probably be the same. Neither team will panic should they lose. Also neither team will be guaranteed the title should they win.

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  • 31. At 1:21pm on 24 Oct 2008, fillerywhereru wrote:

    As said above though a win for either will be a shot in the arm mentally it's a long road to the title yet. For chelsea they have consistently put the run of the mill fixtures to bed over the season and previously Liverpool have not always done this.

    Given there recent energy sapping comeback wins Liverpool have to move up to another gear to stay where they are currently. A hard call I think but not impossible. Sunday? 2-1 to Chelsea is most likely Stamford Bridge has not been a happy ground for Liverpool over the years.

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  • 32. At 1:22pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I'm not sure people think if Liverpool lose they will have no title credentials.

    My take on it is that if they win, or draw giving Chelsea a real run for their money, then this will demonstrate they have serious title credentials.

    There is a subtle difference there...I think!

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  • 33. At 1:23pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bebe Face wrote:

    I honestly believe Liverpool have the best chance of anyone of breaking Chelseas home record.

    Even when we went 1-0 there a few weeks back i just knew, unless we got a second, we wouldn't win. Liverpool under Benitez have shown in the past they can defend when their lives depend on it whereas United, altho havin a decent defence, are best on the offense.

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  • 34. At 1:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    The only time Liverpool have ever won a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge was in 2004, 1 - 0. The goal scorer was Bruno Cheyrou, lets get "The New Zidane" back if Torres and Keane are out!

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  • 35. At 1:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, Kromkamp David wrote:

    Unlike the simpering giggling journalists who blushed through the special one's press conferences, football fans are in the privileged position of judging a football coach by a single criteria, his coaching ability. Most of Mourinho's best performers were signed by the time he arrived at the club, Lampard, Terry, Robben, Cech. He signed a fair few average Portuguese who have either left or can't get in Chelsea's starting XI, Carvalho being the obvious exception. A bargain at only about 20 million. Mourinho spent vast amounts of money, even after Ranieri had invested the first batch of Abramovich's astonishing wealth very wisely anyway and Jose produced a side which played dull, functional football. They won two titles when United were in transition and the moment they got sorted Mourinho started to lose, picked his ball up and went home.

    If you invest as much as Mourinho was allowed to then you are almost guaranteed success. Portsmouth's former director of football, Avram Grant, largely accepted as being a pretty substandard coach managed to not only propel Chelsea very very close to the title, closer than Mourinho managed the season before, but also managed to combine it with being a single kick away from European cup glory. The Mourinho myth has been dispelled over the last two years in my opinion and I think it will continue to be in Italy and in Europe with his time at Inter.

    He's a decent coach tactically who creates a good team spirit amongst his players but his teams play dour, dull football, cheat and are bad losers. I have very little love for Chelsea but I enjoy watching them this season and have total respect for the way they play. The accusation the reason people were largely against Chelsea was because they were winning is ludicrous. Of course people hate winners, they hated my team, Liverpool, they hated United and they hated Chelsea too, Liverpool in the 70s and 80s were respected, people enjoyed watching those sides play (it's a pity the current side isn't such a joy to watch - pass and stop!), United, as much as I am loathed to admit it, have played excellent football over the years. I wouldn't go as far to say I enjoy watching them, but I respect the team in a sporting sense. Chelsea have begun to earn the respect of neutrals and that will remain even with the Russians wealth and even with any success they have.

    As for the game, 0-2 Redmen Kuyt, Keane.

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  • 36. At 1:25pm on 24 Oct 2008, gay fish wrote:

    I think the comments about Agger are a little bit harsh having watched all of the recent liverpool games....Arbeloa however has been coming inside and making the defence narrow and this I think has been causing Carra a headache not Agger. Also on Wednesday night pass of the night was by Agger which almost led to us scoring. I think the game will be very tight on Sunday and I think Chelsea will have a bit of a surprise as they have played relatively easy opposition in the premiership so far and have only managed to score 1 in a couple of games in the CL. Will be very interesting to watch the game but I would obviously be happy with a draw if Liverpool can't get the victory. I don't think however that if Liverpool did score first they will close down and try and hold on for a 1-0 victory as our whole team defending this season has not been quite as good as last year.

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  • 37. At 1:25pm on 24 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    I'm afraid you liverpool fans will be dissapointed yet again this season. Yes, you may well have had a good start but deep down, everyone nows you STILL aren't as good as Chelsea, Arsenal and Man U. When all four of those teams are on top of their game, Liverpool are still a long way off the kind of performances the other 3 are capable of producing.

    Apart from Gerrard, Torres, Carragher and Mascherano, you still don't have any other truely world class palyers, not Keane, not Kuyt, not Alonso, not Babel or any of the others.

    Also in relation to Dave Walnut, Rafa has spent more money than Ferguson and Wenger in terms of the money he has recouped and paid! That is a fact and not an opinion!

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  • 38. At 1:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    By reading my comment accurately you will realise I was discussing this summer and had not included Wenger in the debate as it is well known how little he spends.

    Did Rafa spend more than Ferguson in the summer? I think not.

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  • 39. At 1:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Post 35 is barely believable. If the media had brushed aside the feats of a coach who brought Chelsea their first title in 50 years, and then retained it, we would be rightly pilloried.

    Mourinho is an acquired taste (and plenty found it sour I admit) but let's not have people questioning his record.

    And he did not have a huge budget when he won the Champions League with Porto.

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  • 40. At 1:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, nellybarnstormer wrote:

    DaveWalnut I can see the point you're trying to make about Benitez but he's rotating far less this season. Look how he took key players off on Wednesday against Athletico Madrid, he wants the PL this season no doubt.

    Having said that and it hurts me to say as a liverpool fan Chelski look very good and a draw will be an excellent result for us on Sunday.

    To all the other doubters Liverpool have the best record of any of the big four since last March loseing only one game. The CL semi against you guessed it Chelski. They are on a great run and will be in there till the end, don't underestimate Benitez

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  • 41. At 1:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, Ricicles-te-red wrote:

    well done Phil - an inbiased article, usually i hate the drivel you write

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  • 42. At 1:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, happy_red wrote:

    "My take on it is that if they win, or draw giving Chelsea a real run for their money, then this will demonstrate they have serious title credentials."

    Liverpool over the last few years have pretty much always given Chelsea a run for their money and not deserved to lose the game. It had very little bearing on Liverpool's title credentials.

    As so many have already mentioned, it has been the lesser games, where Liverpool have been expected to win but have drawn, that have cost us any chance for the title. This includes games like Man City and Wigan. It has been our lack of cutting edge against weaker opposition and lack of belief when we are at 0-0 to go on and win.

    None of the big four will see the games against each other as crucial to the title. It is the ability of Man Utd and Chelsea to go and beat Wigan or Sunderland on a cold Saturday lunchtime that has ensured they stay on top.

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  • 43. At 1:34pm on 24 Oct 2008, fillerywhereru wrote:

    I don't think that how much they have spent matters. I think for Liverpool to sustain a title push Benitez has to abandon his cautious nature (something Mourinho should have done more also) as he sets up his teams at Old trafford,Stamford Bridge, the Emirates not to lose rather than to try and win other than perhaps nicking a goal and stinking the place out. At the moment they are scraping games and last season Chelsea did this but it eventually caught up with them and backfired.

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  • 44. At 1:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, manucastle wrote:

    3. At 12:41pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil

    I think you've made the point that Liverpool keep going for the full 90 minutes but, and maybe crucially, their opponents have not always had 11 men for 90 minutes.
    --------------------------------------------------
    My point exactly!!!

    But I haven't heard us united supporters crying foul or "Ref.s favour Looserpool".

    We leave that to deluded ppl.

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  • 45. At 1:36pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    nellybarnstormer

    Clearly Rafa hasn't rotated much yet, but the fact is that, by his standards, he hasn't had to. How many League Cup games have Liverpool played? How many FA Cup?

    Rafa doesn't know how to manage the squad in the same way Wenger does for these lesser competitions. That will be the downfall of Liverpool, the squad isn't strong enough throughout to compete on four fronts; and Rafa refuses to not compete on all four fronts as Wenger does.

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  • 46. At 1:37pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Liverpool may have given Chelsea a run for their money at Stamford Bridge - but still have a record of one win in 16 Premier League games with only six goals.

    I believe the manner of Liverpool's performance on Sunday will say a lot about how much they have progressed this season.

    Those who think otherwise - if they won would that not make you believe they have a better chance of winning the title than for many years?

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  • 47. At 1:44pm on 24 Oct 2008, happy_red wrote:

    DominicLove - "Rafa has spent more money than Ferguson and Wenger in terms of the money he has recouped and paid! That is a fact and not an opinion!"

    What utter drivel. Rafa has recouped huge sums and has started from a weaker position than either of those managers by inheriting a waning team full of mediocrity. As a non Liverpool fan you clearly have no idea how much we have spent and, more importantly, how much we have recouped. Don't base your assumptions on the fact we signed Torres for £23ish million sa couple of years ago. That summer we were touted as the big spenders. Man Utd the same summer spent over £50 million on Nani, Anderson and Hargreaves. They have still to pay out for Tevez.

    Wengers measly reputation stems mostly from the Anelka thing years ago, but he too has spent huge sums over the years and not always recouped the costs.

    All the big four spend big. Man Utd and Chelsea more than anyone else.

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  • 48. At 1:44pm on 24 Oct 2008, gay fish wrote:

    I think that all us liverpool fans are very cautious and the younger ones won't remember liverpools last title. We won't think we can win it until we actually have done it!! :) If we win lose or draw against Chelsea it will just be part of the journey in a very long season.

    On how Arsenal are going to challenge for the title well their team has hardly changed since we got 2 draws and knocked them out of the Champions League last season and our squad has actually improved. You don't find many Arsenal fans talking about how they are going to win the title either.....proably with good reason. They deserved to lose at Hull and I don't see any reason for this not happening again in the premiership this season. Stoke was our blip so far but we had about 20 shots in that game. Man City by rights should have beaten us last weekend but a combination of our determination and there inability to close the game down when they were ahead let us back in. If we play every game like this one I am positive we can acheive something.

    If we get some luck (and some old trafford refereeing) we could do very well this season indeed but we don't go counting chickens in the kop.:)

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  • 49. At 1:44pm on 24 Oct 2008, fillerywhereru wrote:

    Liverpool give Chelsea a run for their money as they are able to pump themselves up against the better teams (but not at old trafford for some reason). It's the games against the other teams where things don't quite to plan but if you look at their squad there is just something missing (perhaps a real quality right winger and full back) and Benitez has in the past held on to aging /inconsistant players a bit too long.

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  • 50. At 1:46pm on 24 Oct 2008, harbin91 wrote:

    I think it is about time that the unbeaten home run at Stamford comes to an end.

    Liverpool were the last team to beat them on their own ground, and it should be them that ends the run.

    Liverpool have seemed to have shown that unbeatable 'never say die' attitude that they inherited in Istanbul in 2005, but they do have to show that they don't have to rely on comebacks to win... especially when they have the squad to do so.

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  • 51. At 1:46pm on 24 Oct 2008, happy_red wrote:

    DaveWalnut - "the squad isn't strong enough throughout to compete on four fronts"

    Good, because, let's face it, no one takes the league cup seriously anyway.

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  • 52. At 1:49pm on 24 Oct 2008, fillerywhereru wrote:

    actually it was Arsenal that last won at stamford bridge. At least in the past couple of season Liverpool have made a game of it prior to that it was a gimme that they would freeze at chelsea. even when we were rubbish in the late 70s-mid 90s we normally won this fixture.

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  • 53. At 1:52pm on 24 Oct 2008, basetech wrote:

    Aren't games between these two complete borefests usually? I don't see that changing on Sunday. Without Torres and possibly Keane I don't see Liverpool poaching a goal at the bridge, so they'll just defend it out, as I'm sure Rafa's selection will bear out. Another vintage nil all, I reckon.

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  • 54. At 1:52pm on 24 Oct 2008, jamminben13 wrote:

    To answer your question Phil, Liverpool will cause problems for Chelsea through Gerrard. With Makelele put out to stud, Chelsea will struggle to deal with the way Gerrard plays. Mikel isn't quite the player Makelele was and will struggle in that hole in front of the back 4. All Liverpool need is a big burly Target man to act as a foil -- Whats Heskey doing nowadays?

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  • 55. At 1:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, Northern_Dancer wrote:

    "Outplayed Man Utd at Anfield"??

    You mean – were going nowhere for 35 mins before a freak own goal got them back into the game

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  • 56. At 1:56pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    jamminben13 wrote:

    To answer your question Phil, Liverpool will cause problems for Chelsea through Gerrard. With Makelele put out to stud, Chelsea will struggle to deal with the way Gerrard plays. Mikel isn't quite the player Makelele was and will struggle in that hole in front of the back 4. All Liverpool need is a big burly Target man to act as a foil -- Whats Heskey doing nowadays?
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    I think I speak for many Chelsea fans when I say Mikel has very much impressed this season. His performances and consistency are excellent.

    I'm not saying he is Makelele but he is big, strong and quick and his tackling has been much, much improved.

    I agree it is a key area though.

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  • 57. At 1:57pm on 24 Oct 2008, nickbasan wrote:

    Why do the BBC, and this inane 'blogger' in particular, focus only on small clubs like Chelsea and current also-rans like England and Liverpool? The difference between Chelsea and Liverpool and Manchester United is that the first two talk about winning all the time whereas Manchester United actually win. Between them Liverpool and Chelsea have won one FA Cup and one League Cup in the last two seasons. 0-0 on Sunday, with Gerrard to give a masterclass in his zealous use of the optimistic 'Hollywood' ball.

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  • 58. At 1:57pm on 24 Oct 2008, ghostofbrunocheyrou wrote:

    At the end of the day, the majority of you have us beaten. Fair enough, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But there would be no point in playing the game if everyone is assuming Chelsea will win or draw.

    In regards to the title, it's anyone's game at this point. I don't understand why the title is won in one game earlier and earlier every season. It's like advent calendars and easter eggs getting into Asda earlier and earlier every year. it's just plain annoying.

    Everyone battering on about Gerrard and Torres about being our match winners is true. But the last winner for Liverpool in the league at the bridge...Bruno Cheyrou. And I'm sure Liverpool fans don't need a reminder of how potent a finisher John O'shea or Mikel Silvestre are... My point being that in these types of games, any one of the players can win the game. It's why we watch the game in the first place.

    I hope to God we win. I'm not bothered whether it's a tight 1-0 or an end to end goal fest. But I'm gonna go for Liverpool 2-1 with someone like Andrea Dossena scoring the winner for Liverpool.

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  • 59. At 1:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, nellybarnstormer wrote:

    DaveWalnut

    In previous seasons Rafa has set his stall out to win the CL mainly cos he didn't feel he had a good enough team to compete well enough for a season to win the PL.
    This season I reckon he wants the PL first then the CL, his rotation will come in the lesser cups cos I don't think he has ever really been that bothered with them.

    Barring a disaster we are as good as qualified for the knockout stages of the CL so as long as everyone stays fit rotation will be limited until the new year, if were still in contention after Christmas there's no way he will mess with the team.

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  • 60. At 1:59pm on 24 Oct 2008, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Last season this corresponding fixture was the worst game of premiership football I have ever seen. Hopefully, it will be better on Sunday, but I think Mark Lawrenson has called it right, Benitez will set Liverpool up to cope well with Chelsea's full backs, and without the threat of Drogba, I think Chelsea will struggle to score, so I feel another bore draw, not fully answering the question on Liverpool's title credentials, but unfortunately allowing United to close the gap.

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  • 61. At 2:00pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    I honestly cant see anything but a Chelsea win because Liverpool are conceding too many goals. If you look at the teams who win the league its quite simple, they defend brillianty (Man U and Chelsea as winners over the last 4 yrs) and score goals for fun!
    Arsenal were also brilliant the last time they won the league.
    Granted Chelsea didnt play free flowing fooyball under Mourinho but they mugged so many teams on the break and from corners/set pieces that their goal tally was still high and they never gave anything away at the back!
    Now look at this season. Chelsea have blended Mourinhos defence with Scolaris attack and look awesome.
    United havent conceded in 5 games and are ominously returning to their old selves. Unfortunately Arsenal are really missing Hleb and Flamini (who was fantastic last season which really let Fabregas shine) and will come up short again.
    My point is that Liverpool have never scored as many goals as the other three. Their success has been based primarily on sound defence but their defence is all over the place this season.
    Liverpool fans will point to the run of victories in the league as if evidence of goals, and if these had been secured 'convincingly' with sound defence i would find it hard to discount their title challenge but the facts at the moment are saying their defence is simply not good enough.
    'IF' their defence can get it together to match Ferdinand/Vidic/Evra and Terry/Cole/Bosingwa (all among the very BEST defenders in the world) and Keane Gerrard Torres knock in the goals every week they may well finish the season above europes current two best teams (Chelsea and Utd) but this is a really big if.
    Prediction: United and Chelsea to slug it out for top spot in a fantastic down to the wire finish. Liverpool and Arsenal to impress but just fall short of matching two of the best teams I've ever seen!

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  • 62. At 2:02pm on 24 Oct 2008, James Dunmore wrote:

    I love this "if liverpool win won't they have a better chance of winning the title than in previous season"

    Considering they have had NO CHANCE of winning the premiership (ever), then yes, winning at stamford bridge would give them a small chance.

    Liverpool always do well until around Christmas, then they crumble. Arsenal showed last season that a great start is one thing, but keeping that going throughout jan->march is something else. More often than not, the team top at Christmas doesn't win the league - and I've always maintained, it is better to be chasing (and only 2 or 3 points behind) come Christmas, than to be chased - then you have the momentum to go and an win it.

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  • 63. At 2:02pm on 24 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    Torres was rested twice (yes, that's right people, 2 times) last season when he was fit and whilst our season was still ongoing (ie, when we were either chasing the title or securing CL qualification).

    This myth that Rafa dropped Torres every other game last season and that his continued presence in the team this season is the reason we're doing well is highly, highly annoying.

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  • 64. At 2:04pm on 24 Oct 2008, seanyd81 wrote:

    Sorry Phil much as I like you blog for you to say that Chelsea are "a side playing wonderfully fluent attacking football" is folly... Spurs (bottom of league) were unlucky not to beat them... Man Utd played them off the park first half and Chelsea didn't play flowing football to get back in it either... A couple of decent results, performances even, against Villa and Boro is nothing to write home about!.. Cast your mind back to Jose Mourinho's first season when Chelsea crushed teams home and away playing great football at the same time while setting the points record in the Premier League... Granted Chelsea did become more defensive as the seasons went on but who's to say Big Phil won't go the same way?.. I say this as a through and through Liverpool fan also... As for this Sunday's match I think its got draw written all over it

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  • 65. At 2:05pm on 24 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    ginger_gooner

    You should stay quiet since your lot capitulated spectacularly as well.

    We went through our slump mid season, you went through yours a bit later.

    Congratulations.

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  • 66. At 2:07pm on 24 Oct 2008, Nessy wrote:

    Apart from repeating the "rotation myth" yet again (Torres was rested for less competitive matches than Rooney last season, and those decisions cost United more points than Liverpool, so why is Rafa a "tinkerer" while Ferguson makes "tactical selections"?) there's something else that hasn't been mentioned.

    Last season Liverpool beat Arsenal without Torres. This year we've already beaten Utd without him.

    Can Liverpool complete the set?
    I don't honestly know, but one thing about Liverpool so far this year, you can never count them out of it.

    Chelsea could also be missing some key players, Drogba's presence is vital to them.

    Anelka never signed for Liverpool because he didn't seem to know the off-side rule, that hasn't changed.

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  • 67. At 2:08pm on 24 Oct 2008, dafonk wrote:

    Ok stuff, this. Bit more straightforward than many here seem to think,though.I agree that a draw is the most likely result.This outcome benefits Man Utd,more than any other team. With home games against L'pool and Chelsea to come at the 'business' end of the season,it's hard not to see the Premier League trophy staying exactly where it is.May seem early to say this but it's vital that one team or the other win this game,get 3 points and keep the gap open at the top.Otherwise all you L'Pool and Chelsea fans could see this as being the weekend when Utd caught up..despite not beating either of these 2 teams! Funny how it works,isn't it?

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  • 68. At 2:10pm on 24 Oct 2008, kEITH wrote:

    Liverpool facing test of strength, AGAIN!!
    How many times do we need these tests of strenght? We have beaten Man U, we haven't lost a game this season. What more do people want? If other teams come back and win it's down to thier determination not to give up. However if it's Liverpool it's luck!

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  • 69. At 2:11pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 70. At 2:11pm on 24 Oct 2008, GyroRob wrote:

    Liverpool are simply not good, or consistent enough to win the league. They have got out of jail in recent weeks when opposition red cards have allowed them back into games they had no right to win. Plaudits to them for continuing to fight however. Also, they are dependant on Gerrard and Torres- giev them Chelsea's injury worries and the results will fall away. Like Arsenal last year, they're squad will fall away as it's not strong enough.

    With regard to Sunday, I will be very suprised if Liverpool do anything but 'park the bus' in front of the goal. In the past, they have never been adventurous beyong trying to sneak 1-0 wins through solid defenisve displays at S Bridge. I hope they get what they deserve- nothing- as I hope any side that comes solely looking for a draw away from home gets.

    Come on Liverpool, if you really think you can do it this year, prove it to us by outplaying a desperately weakened Chelsea side at the Bridge.

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  • 71. At 2:12pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Phil,

    So if Liverpool have an off day and get beaten, that will define how much Liverpool have progressed will it? Dear me! You write some bum articles, does that define your future career as a journo?

    In addition, why do the media suck up to Mourinho? You all say the same thing, "He was a breath of fresh air." It's like you were all afraid to think for yourselves. He wasn't a breath of fresh air, yes he was something different from Wenger/SAF but he was obnoxious and arrogant! And, he managed the biggest team of divers ever, Porto!

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  • 72. At 2:13pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    seandy81

    Folly? Perhaps you should look at Chelsea's performances this season. I think Phil is right on this point.

    dafonk

    Chelsea have a pretty good record at Old Trafford one way or another. Even if Sunday is a draw and Man U catch up slightly, they are both capable of getting a result (draw or win) at Old Trafford.

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  • 73. At 2:14pm on 24 Oct 2008, Gerrardistheman wrote:

    As has been the case for the past few seasons, Chelsea will struggle against the Reds. You can't judge teams until they play against their peers, and Chelsea has struggled against the pool, no question. Liverpool has beaten Man U already and will beat Chelsea away this weekend. Title credentials? Nuff said

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  • 74. At 2:14pm on 24 Oct 2008, True Blue wrote:

    It is a forgone conclusion: Benitez will flood the midfield to prevent Chelsea from playing football because he knows that if his side try and play: Chelsea will pick them apart, especially considering the injury of Torres and several others

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  • 75. At 2:16pm on 24 Oct 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    firstly, i am most definately in with the cynics - Liverpool either have to start winning comfortably or they will stop rescuing the desperate points they've 'stolen' up to now. i think it will be the latter, until the pressure is off around March time as usual.

    but even if it is the former, they still don't have enough to compete with Chelsea, and especially United imo.

    i would quite like to see them hold (or even beat) Chelsea this weekend. then again, i'd be more than happy for Chelsea to completely dismantle them physically and psychologically just as United did at Old Trafford last season.

    i only wish it was United playing Liverpool this weekend.

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  • 76. At 2:16pm on 24 Oct 2008, jemthered wrote:

    If Liverpool can get in front then the defence have the capabilities to hold off Chelsea. Although holding out for a 1-0 will be a tough task.

    I think a key player could be Ryan Babel who seems to play well in the big games. The Gerrard and Keane combination showed signs of promise in midweek.

    Chelsea do look very strong and the likely result will be a draw. Liverpool need to shackle Lampard to get anything out of the game. Win, lose or draw this will define nothing for either team. If somehow Liverpool could win then the confidence boost would be massive.

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  • 77. At 2:16pm on 24 Oct 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    "Middlesbrough. Manchester United. Marseille. Manchester City. Wigan Athletic. All teams beaten despite taking the lead."

    Phil, do you think that Liverpool can push for the title if they have to continuously come from behind to beat opponents? I'm sure this will take it's toll after a while.

    Compare this to Chelsea who seem to be making light work of most opponents they face.

    Do you think Liverpool need to cut this out of their game if they are to seriously push for the title?

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  • 78. At 2:17pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Let me ask the question again of those Liverpool fans who do not believe this game will be a good indicator of their title ambitions.

    If Liverpool win, will you be more optimistic about their title chances than you were before?

    I bet you will be.

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  • 79. At 2:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, nellybarnstormer wrote:

    GyroRob If you read my previous post you will see we have been the most consistent team since March.

    And as for ginger_gooner Liverpool are always better after Christmas the annoying thing is we are usually too far behind by then, this season its Arsenal who will be too far behind.

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  • 80. At 2:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, gay fish wrote:

    re:comment 69 thats actually quite funny considering it comes from an everton supporter. Shame that someone is going to have it moderated off the board. Needless to say if something is scabbed over it doesn't excrete anything..basic clotting and skin repair principles.

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  • 81. At 2:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, tarquin wrote:

    This game isn't vital - a win would be fantastic for liverpool, but any outcome at the bridge is nothing to be ashamed of - it's probably the toughest test you'll face this season

    If Liverpool are stronger than previous years and they usually draw with Chelsea then this should be a banker for a stalemate - and yes it means united get a look in, but it's too early to say it's that beneficial - you don't get your points from the other big 3, you get them from the boltons, boros and wigans

    Liverpool may well carry on winning after this, but I feel that Chelsea have the far superior squad and at the end of the season we'll be seeing the trophy back at the bridge

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  • 82. At 2:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, Emmnues wrote:

    The match between L'pool and Chelsea would probably end up a draw as both managers would play to avoid defeat. Scolari can play attacking football but he is also a very pragmatic coach who knows how to 'do' defence (unlike Wenger).

    On Mourinho - yes he is an acquired taste for people like McNulty for whom football is war not art, for whom winning is everything no matter how it comes about. I strongly dislike Mourinho's tactics (I make no apologies) from Porto to Inter-Milan.

    I want to be pleasantly entertained when I watch football so I'd watch Arsenal, occassionally ManU and or Aston Villa. I don't watch Liverpool, ignored Chelsea under Mourinho though Scolari is now bringing me back to the fold.

    Life is not about winning at all cost...

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  • 83. At 2:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 84. At 2:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 85. At 2:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, DukeOfSpuds wrote:

    It's too early to say that this game is the title decider, but regardless of who you support it is a tad important.

    Without Torres, yes, Liverpool lose something up front, it doesn't take a genius to work that one out, but they still have the quality to create chances. I do fear, however, we will sit back and hold for the draw. GyroRob is right, Liverpool have to prove they can outplay top sides. Although I'd hardly call the Chelsea side desperately weakened.

    With regards to the title challenge, without injuries we have a sniff of a chance, but seriously, we don't have the quality to match the depth of Man U and Chelsea. I think 3rd is the best we can get this year. I think someone posted earlier that challenging for the title would be an improvment we would be happy with.

    Prediction for the game on Sunday; 1-0 Chelsea.

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  • 86. At 2:22pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    In answer to Cov 1985 - I agree with you that Liverpool cannot keep coming from behind to win games all season. It wouldn't happen every time for a start.

    What I do think is that it shows a real level of self-belief, and there have been plenty of occasions in the last few season when they have drawn games like those they won against Middlesbrough and Wigan in particular.

    As for Chelsea, they have been the outstanding team in the Premier League so far this season, but Liverpool will be a big test for them also.

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  • 87. At 2:23pm on 24 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    McNulty, our performances against the other top 4 aren't what worried me last season (we deserved 4 points at the very least off Chelsea, for instance), it was the fact that we couldn't grind out results against lesser teams and we were a bit mentally fragile, two things that have looked better this season.

    Once again, I'd like to point out that the Torres being dropped myth is complete horse crap, because he was only rested twice before our season became a formality.

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  • 88. At 2:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 2:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    No i didn't read you comment completely - it got boring.

    There isn't any point in only talking about the deals he did this summer. The squad he has built was done so over the last 3/4 years, and apart from the signing of Keane, he was pretty inactive this summer.

    Benitez has wasted a lot of cash on some pretty average players and only judging it from a 'this summer' point of view is hiding behind the facts.

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  • 90. At 2:25pm on 24 Oct 2008, kEITH wrote:

    regaleverton666
    Go back to school child!

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  • 91. At 2:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, jemthered wrote:

    BBC moderation team please remove regaleverton666 he obviously fancies Steven Gerrard but I can reliably inform him that he is happily married with children

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  • 92. At 2:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, Rasta_Pub_Phuket wrote:

    If Chelsea score first, Chelsea will win. No comeback this time.

    If Liverpool scores first, then its likely to be a draw.

    The chance of a Liverpool win? Very slim but those uncertainties are what makes the game so appealing!

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  • 93. At 2:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil

    You never did respond to the point I made in post #3.

    How many of Liverpool's wins have come against teams with 11 men on the pitch for the entire match?

    Thanks

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  • 94. At 2:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!! Come on Everton!!!

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  • 95. At 2:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    firstly, i am most definately in with the cynics - Liverpool either have to start winning comfortably or they will stop rescuing the desperate points they've 'stolen' up to now. i think it will be the latter, until the pressure is off around March time as usual.
    ------------------------------------------
    What a crock or garbage!

    At the games were you? Apart from Boro, all the wins were deserved.

    ----------------------------
    Let me ask the question again of those Liverpool fans who do not believe this game will be a good indicator of their title ambitions.

    If Liverpool win, will you be more optimistic about their title chances than you were before?

    I bet you will be.

    ---------------------------------
    Phil,

    Most sensible-minded Liverpool fans will realise even if we win there's a long way to go and a lot can go wrong. just like if we lose, things can quickly get back on track!

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  • 96. At 2:27pm on 24 Oct 2008, GyroRob wrote:

    its suprising that all those with "Gerrard" or "scouser" or some other liverpool related name think that Liverpool have a chance this weekend and this year!

    Everyone else thinks they'll be negative and won't be strong enough to win.

    There's nothing like good old unbiased, logical, well-reasoned opinion ;)

    ps. and before somone has a go I know its every supporters right to do so. It's just funny to read the contrasts as an outsider lol!

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  • 97. At 2:27pm on 24 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    ps happy red, i'm sure that if you look at the stats you will see that Benitez has spent more than Fergie and the fact that you're comparing his spending to Wenger is laughable!

    Also, i think you will find when he walked in Liverpool were in pretty good condition. They had not too long before won the UEFA cup, the FA cup and the league cup in the same season, as well as finishing 2nd in the league!

    I may not be a Liverpool fan but i clearly know more about the club than you mate

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  • 98. At 2:28pm on 24 Oct 2008, nickbasan wrote:

    Liverpool have won six league games this season. The opposition has had a man sent off in four of them.

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  • 99. At 2:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, jemthered wrote:

    regaleverton666 please read this

    EVERTON 0 - 2 LIVERPOOL

    now go and enjoy your relegation battle little boy

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  • 100. At 2:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 101. At 2:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, justsaying wrote:

    Intertesting read.

    Sundays game has no relevance in terms of the title, its still 3pts for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. There are still 30 games to play and 90 points at stake and 3 cups to play.

    The pressure is at the minimum for most teams at this stage (unless you are Spurs / NUFC) - the expectation will come when the other cups start and we begin to have 3 games in 7 days.,... this is where CFC will prosper and other fail.

    Chelsea have a 20 odd man first team, whereby they can have 8 'first' team players out and yet looking at the team sheet a lot of the players who are of Interantional level and highly experienced.

    I predict a draw for Sunday game but i have good vibes that we could spring a result. Beating CFC at home would be immense, but will have no bearing on hte following weeks results let alone the title.

    Good luck to the Pool!

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  • 102. At 2:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Also, i think you will find when he walked in Liverpool were in pretty good condition. They had not too long before won the UEFA cup, the FA cup and the league cup in the same season, as well as finishing 2nd in the league!
    -----------------------------
    OMG, you say you know more about Liverpool than the fans?

    so you're saying first team players like Traore, Biscam, Le tallac, Baros, are anywhere near the level of Aurelio, Alonso, Masch and Torres or their counterparts at Utd Chesea and Arsenal are you?

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  • 103. At 2:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, sankara101 wrote:

    The weak link is JT without RC and DD they can be beaten and i am confident we can get a result at SB.

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  • 104. At 2:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    nickbasan

    Thanks for the stat. I would have preferred it if Phil had dealt with it though because I think it is key to the Liverpool he has highlighted, amongst others.

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  • 105. At 2:34pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    re #104

    'key to the Liverpool results he has highlighted'.

    Whoops!

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  • 106. At 2:34pm on 24 Oct 2008, Bob Taylor wrote:

    I believe under big Fil Chelsea will will go for it and be very fast out of the blocks. It is just a case of whether Liverpool are going to the Bridge to play for a draw or to play attacking football. Both teams are much stronger this season but Chelsea have changed tactics completely whereas Liverpool are Liverpool! It is interesting that CFC have not named their squad, maybe a few surprise returns are on way.

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  • 107. At 2:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    #51 happy_red

    Benitez seems to! He rested Torres in a league game last year to play him in a league cup game! He refuses to play a second team in the league cup, that will be the downfall.

    #59 nellybarnstormer

    With the new owners Liverpool have two minimums every season.
    1. To reach reach the knockout stages of the CL.
    2. Finish 4th in the league (CL qualification).

    If they do this every year the owners will be happy. This combined with a decent Carling Cup or FA Cup run, or the possibility of a title push for a few months keeps them a bit happier.

    The Liverpool owners are not trying to win the league as they don't financially support a title push. Rafa does his best, but it will take a miracle season for Liverpool to win the league nowadays.

    The fans wan't the league, that is clear. But when are their thoughts taken into any kind of consideration.

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  • 108. At 2:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, welshrarebit73 wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan I would love to say that we will win at chelsea on sunday, but I am living in the real world. To be honest a win would be a fantastic result, but I would take any draw now if it were offered. At least Keane, Gerrard and Alonso look as though they are going to play and that can only be good news. I would think that we will play 4-2-3-1, with kuyt and riera on the wings and gerrard supporting keane through the middle. A draw would be a good result as it would mean that the status quo would remain at the top of the table, however if we do get beaten heavily, I am afraid that it might be the start of a struggle, which would be a shame after the start to the season we have made and the promise that is currently being shown.

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  • 109. At 2:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, regaleverton666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 110. At 2:37pm on 24 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    Everton and United had already been soundly played off the park before their players got sent off in frustration. We'd created a hatful of chances at Eastlands as well, so Zabaleta's sending off didn't exactly end a robust City resistance did it?

    The only game you could argue was affected by a decision is the Wigan one and even then you're forgetting that we had other chances in that game.

    Another excuse for bitter little Liverpool haters to peddle.

    Next.

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  • 111. At 2:38pm on 24 Oct 2008, marklee22 wrote:

    dafonk - This could also be the weekend that Utd fell futher behind . A draw for Utd at Everton , something which dosen't even seem to occur to you as a possibilty , and a victory either way on Sunday will see Utd eight points off the pace.
    You see lots of possibilties can come up in hypothetical-land can't they ?
    I think the most likely outcome for Sunday is a draw but can't see Chelsea losing it. One thing for sure is this weekends games won't decide anything and Chelsea are just as capable of getting a draw or victory against Utd at OT as they are at SB.

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  • 112. At 2:40pm on 24 Oct 2008, gay fish wrote:

    Phil if you read my post I have already answered that question as well. I am cautiously optimistic about our chances this season but the Chelsea game will not have any effect on how I 'feel'. At the moment we are not playing great but are undefeated. The season is too long for one game to make a difference.

    Anyone who does say if we win on Sunday I am sure liverpool win the league should go down the bookies and put their house on it. If any supporter of the other teams in the big 4 has already done this well they probably don't have any GCSE's or come on the 606 blogs.

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  • 113. At 2:41pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    If anybody bothers to look at the FACTS, and put their heart to one side for a minute, they'd arrive at the conclusion that there is absolutely no chance Liverpool can win this one.
    But footballs not like that so anything can happen.
    Ultimately, even if Liverpool beat Chelsea this wknd their defence wont be strong enough to win the title for them.
    The best two teams in Europe last year are still the best two teams in the Premiership this year.
    End of

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  • 114. At 2:42pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Dr Steven Grater

    'We'd created a hatful of chances at Eastlands as well, so Zabaleta's sending off didn't exactly end a robust City resistance did it?'
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Zabaleta sent off on 67

    Liverpool equaliser 73

    Liverpool winner 90

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  • 115. At 2:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, SecretRedBennett wrote:

    It would be nice to see Liverpool end Chelsea's home record

    a) cos it's been far too long now and

    b) cos that'll be 3 points lost by Chelsea to a team that aren't going to win the league this year.

    It would be nice to see Liverpool challenge for the title, but I can't see them making it that far.

    And Liverpool didn't beat Man U because of any referee's decisions. It was because Man U played unbelievably bunk.

    A draw seems most plausible as Chelsea have at times been astounding (against the lesser oposition), but have grounded out the necessary results against the bigger teams, as we have come to expect Chelsea to do.

    Even if you do mount a serious title challenge this year, it won't be based on a result at stamford bridge.
    Chelsea are too good at home. Even when they're rubbish, they still make sure they don't lose.

    Nothing more annoying :P

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  • 116. At 2:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, BelfastBob wrote:

    Interesting article, but I don't really think it's fair to judge Liverpool's improvement when they're carrying 4 massive injuries into an away game at the current league leaders, who are in incredible form and haven't lost at their ground in 4 years.

    I think Liverpool can lose this game (heavily) and still be 'in the mix' come April.

    Truth is, if Liverpool can just stay within touching distance of the lead come 1 January 2009, it will be a massive improvement over previous years.

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  • 117. At 2:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:


    Zabaleta sent off on 67

    Liverpool equaliser 73

    Liverpool winner 90

    ___________________________________

    haha! excellent :-)
    Same story V Wigan
    and only for Van Der Sars unexplainable blunder and Vidic's sending off they wouldnt have beaten United

    yes, there's a pattern here

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  • 118. At 2:46pm on 24 Oct 2008, neova2 wrote:

    it's going to be a draw. Both teams know that there are still 30 games left to play and this game is more about "not losing" to give the other team a psychological advantage rather than gaining 3 points.

    The league will be won and lost more likely to be based how many points you drop against non-title contending teams, which outside of the top 4 there are 30 games to be played.

    Liverpool have had a very good start and Rafa knows that once the momentum is interrupted it will be hard to get back on track. Being behind and coming back is a great quality, but the other side of things will ask why Liverpool have shipped away so many goals to begin with? I'm not saying Liverpool won challenge for the title this year, I'm just saying that tight defense is required to win you the league, and only Chelsea and now Man Utd is demonstrating that right now.

    Liverpool has certainly got their attacking side of things sorted out, but defensively they're not as solid as Chelsea or Man Utd. You have to wonder how losing that lead at Madrid would affect the player's psyche.

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  • 119. At 2:49pm on 24 Oct 2008, snail1974 wrote:

    Liverpool should be taken more seriously this season that previously although their current league position has been made up of too many lucky performances. Although these are required to become champions they seem to be relied upon.

    I hope liverpool win this match as a MU fan to take 3 points from chelsea who appear very strong in every dept. I would expect Liverpool to start slipping up regularly in Jan, Feb, March when the going gets tough and the men serpate from the boys

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  • 120. At 2:50pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 121. At 2:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Picking up on the issue of the home record.

    My thoughts on this are:-

    1) I hope extending the home record is less of an concern to the players than pressing for a winner if it is all square with a few minutes to go.

    2) I wonder if Scolari is perhaps not as sentimental about the home record than some of the rest of us.

    3) If we are going to lose the home record I would prefer it to be against certain teams rather than teams, if you know what I mean, naming no names.

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  • 122. At 2:52pm on 24 Oct 2008, SecretRedBennett wrote:

    115. At 2:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, SecretRedBennett wrote:

    And Liverpool didn't beat Man U because of any referee's decisions. It was because Man U played unbelievably bunk.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Like I said.

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  • 123. At 2:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    ScottishScouser

    If you were at these games, you would have noticed that the teams in question were coming inder sustained pressure and may well have conceeded with 11 men on the pitch. If players put in dangerous tackles that's Liverpool's fault how exactly?
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    All my facts were saying were that in that game, regardless of pressure and chances created, the goals came after the sending off.

    We will never know what might have happened had they finished with 11 men but your 'may well have conceeded with 11 men' has as much credence to it as some of us saying they wouldn't have cracked with 11 men.

    Ok?

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  • 124. At 2:57pm on 24 Oct 2008, BelfastBob wrote:

    2 misconceptions are being repeated again and again here...

    1, Liverpool always slip up after the new year

    That's not true. Liverpool, for about 10 years now, have always slipped up before new year. In fact, they usually end up closer to top at the end of the season than they do are at xmas.
    i.e. Liverpool usually outperform their rivals after new year.

    2, Liverpool lose to small clubs

    This was definitely true once upon a time, but not over the last couple of seasons. Under Benitez, their problem has been matches against the big clubs, not the small ones.
    Last year, Liverpool finished 11 points from top, and lost twice to Man Utd- that's a 12 point swing right there. So if all other games were the same, and those 2 results were reversed (one already has been this season) then Liverpool would have finished above United last season.
    I repeat, Liverpool are strong against the smaller clubs- they drop fewer points than their rivals in these games. It's the big clubs they struggle against.

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  • 125. At 2:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    But if you actually READ my comment Scottie, i never said they scored after Vidic's sending off (whatever a burke is??) - i simply said VDS gifted ye a goal.
    Vidic's sending off killed the game by the way.
    The wigan and Man City points still stand up though
    And ye're defence is still not good enough

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  • 126. At 2:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    ScottishScouser,

    No, i'm obviously not trying to claim that those players are as good as the current crop as you are aware seeing as though you've completely twisted what i said in my comment.

    All I was trying to say was that Liverpool were in a decent state when he came in.

    Generally, you haven't finished any higher in the league ever since Benitez took over from Houllier have you, so who's to say there is any difference in the ability of those players you mentioned anyway?????? There is no evidence to say they are - certainly no evidence based on your league position at the end of each year.

    It's arguing about stupid points anyway, fact is mate you're guna have to get used to Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea's backsides cuz you're always guna be behind them! Get over it!

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  • 127. At 2:59pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    117. At 2:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    Zabaleta sent off on 67

    Liverpool equaliser 73

    Liverpool winner 90

    ___________________________________

    haha! excellent :-)
    Same story V Wigan
    and only for Van Der Sars unexplainable blunder and Vidic's sending off they wouldnt have beaten United

    yes, there's a pattern here

    ----------------------------------
    If you were at these games, you would have noticed that the teams in question were coming inder sustained pressure and may well have conceeded with 11 men on the pitch. If players put in dangerous tackles that's Liverpool's fault how exactly?

    And Utd were already 2-1 down and playing badly beofe Vidic went!

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  • 128. At 3:03pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    ScottishScouser

    Why has your previous post been removed?

    Either way, see my post #123.

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  • 129. At 3:06pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Dominic?

    Always behind them three sides???? try 2006 and 2007. You will find we were only just behind Utd in 2006 and were above arsenal both seasons. In addition, Utd and Chelsea both improved their teams with how many "0million plus pound players? Houllier's first 11 may not have been that bad compared to Chelsea at the time but was well inferior to Utd's.

    Rafa had to initially buy quantity rather than quality because we needed numbers to fill out our squad, so one or 2 quality players at 20mill each would have been useless to us,

    Yes we won the champs leahue but look where we finished in the league, how ,any points behind, 37. How many last season? 11. That's improvement mate!

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  • 130. At 3:06pm on 24 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    I must say there are a few similarities with this game and our last win at Stamford Bridge. Our two main front men injured.. Rafa will have to go with a strikeforce of Dirk Kuyt which doesn't exactly strike fear into the opposition.. A bit like our front line last time we won there!

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  • 131. At 3:10pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I don't think you can blame Liverpool for players being sent off against them.

    Cahill was somewhat contentious in the Merseyside derby, but Pablo Zabaleta and Antonio Valencia could not complain.

    All involved Xabi Alonso. What are we to make of that.

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  • 132. At 3:11pm on 24 Oct 2008, DaveWalnut wrote:

    That Xabi Alonso is brilliant.

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  • 133. At 3:13pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Mr Blue,

    that's exactly the point I was making! Wigan, City or whoever, may well have gone down to 10 men and put another 2 past us. The thing is we will never know how the game may have panned out with 11 men.

    Usually, we hear the cliche, it's harder to play against 10 men don't we. Apparently not in the case of Liverpool.

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  • 134. At 3:15pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    The post was removed because I wrote the c word that ends in p instead of rubbish.

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  • 135. At 3:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 136. At 3:20pm on 24 Oct 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    Liverpool traditionally have a poor November. Any predictions should wait until after next month.

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  • 137. At 3:22pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    Poor Alonso getting battered - he probably wishes he went to Juventus after all:-)

    Phil
    We obviously cant blame Liverpool for players getting sent off against them but its still a valid point that their victories were 'helped' by these occurences.

    Of course Liverpool could have gone on and won against 11, we'll never know but the fact is that conceding goals as they are and two fortunate comebacks V 10 men doesnt suggest Premierleague champions.
    That aint gonna happen until they can defend AND attack like United and Chelsea for 38 games consistently.

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  • 138. At 3:22pm on 24 Oct 2008, SecretRedBennett wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 139. At 3:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, Sciatika wrote:

    I think Valencia had reasonable grounds for complaint. The second challenge was a yellow, but the first yellow seemed over the top to me.

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  • 140. At 3:27pm on 24 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    Scottish Scouser,

    Come on mate, you all spend a ridiculous amount of money. You can't seriously point a finger at Man U or Chelsea! All you big clubs are the same!

    I'm not denying you have improved, you have and in all honesty I'd much rather you finish top rather than the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. I'm a Wolves fan so obviously I think the world of Keano and am grateful that he is playing in the Champions League like he deserves!

    I just don't see it happening, I still think you are some way behind. If Torres and Gerrard got injured you would be in serious trouble, a lot more so than if Rooney and Scholes were out for a long time for United, Drogba and Deco were out for Chelsea and Cesc and Adebayor were out for Arsenal.

    We have already seen that Chelsea and United can cope with injuries to big players this season (some of which i mentioned above). I worry for Liverpool that they won't be able to if it happened over a long period of time.

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  • 141. At 3:27pm on 24 Oct 2008, pierre51 wrote:

    Being a chelsea fan it is obvious that i would want chelsea to beat liverpool,however,they must continue to play with the confidence they are playing now and must not make any silly fouls with would give liverpool the upper hand

    This year will be chelsea year to win 3 out of the 4 cups

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  • 142. At 3:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, Liamjm wrote:

    ive been looking through these comments and so strange things on here seems to be alot of annoyed utd fans that liverpool are doing well.

    anyways comments number 11, that carragher is a weak link??? ok mate showing your knowledge then, and underneath that a bigger joke that anelka is gonna cause problems with his pace, ok if you say so, anelka is a lazy striker and his movement is static, he aint causing carragher any problems!!!

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  • 143. At 3:30pm on 24 Oct 2008, metalGranty77 wrote:

    I'd love it if Liverpool won, it would be great to end their record and put us clear at the top, however, if we lost then we would only be three points adrift without the huge pressure on our shoulders of being elevated to Premiership heirs apparent. Am I alone in seeing the longer term benefits of that and not peaking too soon like last season, if we had to suffer a defeat?

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  • 144. At 3:30pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    SecretRedBennett

    Classic, it lasted less than 10 minutes. Do the mods not realise how foolish they look and how they are making a mockery out of their own employer?

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  • 145. At 3:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Sciatika,

    at the risk of me losing my sanity, I will say this for the 1000th time. Valencia and the whole of the Wigan waal were messing around for a 'full' 4 minutes. The whole wall should have been booked. You probably saw the slanted version put forward y Keys and Gray or the slightly more fair MOTD coverage. It's not your fault you were not at the game so you couldn't know what went on. The only unfair thing about it was that he was singled out.

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  • 146. At 3:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, jw2034 wrote:

    chelsea will destroy liverpool. the side is no better than the one rafa inherited from houllier, the only difference is a bit more confidence and sheer sheer luck - late kuyt goals, dodgy backpass error against united, fortunate sendings off...

    luck will count for nothing against an awesome chelsea side (saying that as a united fan), i reckon this will be the turning point for liverpool's season, when they start to drop back into their traditional 4th.

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  • 147. At 3:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Chelsea have looked very good this season, and I know speaking to our BBC experts, and Mark Lawrenson in particular, they really fancy them to have a hugely successful campaign.

    But I know they have also been impressed with Liverpool as well.

    I will be at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and am really looking forward to it.

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  • 148. At 3:33pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Dominic,

    Fair point! I would also doubt our capability to sustain any type of challenge if we had long-term injuries.

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  • 149. At 3:34pm on 24 Oct 2008, SecretRedBennett wrote:

    MrBlueBurns

    Lol, alas, apparently not.

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  • 150. At 3:36pm on 24 Oct 2008, Mozzatechmo wrote:

    To those bleating on about Liverpool having to draw/win this game to prove they're a title contender - it's only one game and therefore worth 3 points to the victor.

    Hence, if you're suggesting we need to win it to contend for the title then you are also suggesting there will only be about 3-6 points between Liverpool and Chelsea at the end of the season. i.e. you think we will be title contenders - win or lose!

    I don't buy the 'confidence' argument either. Sure we will get confidence from a draw/win but it won't magically see us through the rest of the season, there will be plenty more ups-and-downs to come. The form boost can only ever be temporary. We'll probably then lose against Tottenham (sorry spurers) and the good work is then undone.

    For me this single game shows nothing definitive about our title chances. It is the consistency and ruthlessness we have shown of late that gives me hope, as this is what wins the title, and what we have been missing.

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  • 151. At 3:40pm on 24 Oct 2008, jw2034 wrote:

    'consistency and ruthlessness'? you mean lucky late goals against opposition that played you off the park at times.

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  • 152. At 3:42pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    I'd love someone to ask Mark Lawrenson what he's been impressed with?

    Their flowing football?
    Solid defence?
    The way they dictate games V lesser opposition?
    These three things are missing from Liverpool so its most likely their resilience and work rate.

    Resilience and work rate defines rafa benitez teams and always had. He prefers Kuyt over players like malouda / Nani and Keane over Berbatov.
    Fair enough.
    But Liverpool have had resilience and work rate since the day he took over.

    It wasnt enough in the past and wont be enough now!

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  • 153. At 3:44pm on 24 Oct 2008, Reddeviltunde wrote:

    Liverpool's title challenge (or the lack thereof) will hardly be decided by whatever result they come off Stamford Bridge with on Sunday.
    Their past records show they are perfectly able to beat chelsea 3-0 at away and lose 5-1 to Stoke City the next weekend! (Apologies all Stoke City fans)
    It has been proven many times that what u need to win the title is not excellent results against the top four - many forget that thgere are 16 other teams in the league that you have to play (each team twice).
    Far more importantly, it is your results against these teams that decide for the greatest part whether or not you end the season as champions.
    It is therefore awfully important to get the three points, whether you're are at Fratton Park, Upton park or St James' park (more recently - White Hart lane) - no matter how well or otherwise you're playing.
    What Liverpool need to do now as Rafa rightly pointed out is to keep focused and take each game as it comes and not even START to talk about titles or cups (even though he'd absolutely love to be the one to end the 86-match unbeaten run - who wouldn't?).
    They also need to urgently plug the Grand Canyon they call their defence - nobody wins the league by leaking goals - just ask Arsenal (no offence to the Gooners).
    Liverpool this season show a new balance, width and grit to their play but their fans should be under no illusions - they need to come to the party if they are to take anything away from Stamford Bridge.

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  • 154. At 3:46pm on 24 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    145. At 3:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, ScottishScouser wrote:

    Sciatika,

    at the risk of me losing my sanity, I will say this for the 1000th time. Valencia and the whole of the Wigan waal were messing around for a 'full' 4 minutes. The whole wall should have been booked. You probably saw the slanted version put forward y Keys and Gray or the slightly more fair MOTD coverage. It's not your fault you were not at the game so you couldn't know what went on. The only unfair thing about it was that he was singled out.

    ---

    I agree, even MotD only showed about 10 secs, Sky showed just the free kick which was ridiculous. Valencia refused to move back for about 2 minutes before the kick was taken and he could have booked about 4 more for doing the same. A fully deserved sending off.

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  • 155. At 3:47pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Reddeviltunde

    'Their past records show they are perfectly able to beat chelsea 3-0 at away'
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    When did THIS happen?

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  • 156. At 3:47pm on 24 Oct 2008, soccerlifer wrote:

    This is certainly going to be a test of Liverpool's creds, but let's remember that Stamford Bridge is every Prem club's toughest trip of the season - including champions Man U, who lost here last season.

    It would be a big shock if Liverpool win, especially without Torres, but a defeat at the Bridge won't mean the title challenge is over. Certainly didn't damage Man U last term.

    I get tired of all these comments about Liverpool being "just an average team" without Gerrard and Torres. Sure, they are very crucial to the cause, but Man U were beaten without those two and Torres has been missing for three games now (2 wins and a draw).

    It's interesting that Arsenal have now lost to Hull and Fulham but are still considered contenders. Yet some people are waiting to write off Liverpool if they lose at Stamford Bridge.

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  • 157. At 3:50pm on 24 Oct 2008, soccerlifer wrote:

    Mr Blueburns:

    interesting you didn't finish the quote - the part about losing 5-1 to Stoke City.

    When did that happen??? The guy's obviously trying to make a point about inconsistency and noit referring to actual results...

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  • 158. At 3:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, Burgers606 wrote:

    It is important not to under-estimate the calibre of Liverpool this season.

    They have adopted a new diet which includes burgers believe it or not.

    Chelski need to wake up and smell the cheese if they think they are going to walk all over Liverpool.

    And I'm a Horwich Albion Fan!

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  • 159. At 3:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    soccerlifer

    'It's interesting that Arsenal have now lost to Hull and Fulham but are still considered contenders. Yet some people are waiting to write off Liverpool if they lose at Stamford Bridge.'
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Excellent point.

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  • 160. At 3:52pm on 24 Oct 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    151. At 3:40pm on 24 Oct 2008, jw2034 wrote:
    'consistency and ruthlessness'? you mean lucky late goals against opposition that played you off the park at times.

    ------------------------------------
    Tell me JW, which teams played us off the Park? Wigan did well in the first half and deserved their lead. Boro, deserved their lead, City deserved their lead at half time. None of these teams played us off the park though. In all games, it was a totally different game in the 2nd jalf as far as Liverpool were concerned.

    How would you know this anyway, are you a closet Liverpool fan because you could only base your opinion on one televised game, ie City.

    Stoke were battered and only came out of their half once, we just couldn't score, it happens. Utd, no need to talk about that game, Everton didn't give us any problems, Villa, both teams were atrocious. Sunderland, first day of season, not good first half, better 2nd.

    Only one team has played us off the park and that was Leige.

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  • 161. At 3:53pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    It is important not to under-estimate the calibre of Liverpool this season.

    They have adopted a new diet which includes burgers believe it or not.

    Chelski need to wake up and smell the cheese if they think they are going to walk all over Liverpool.

    And I'm a Horwich Albion Fan!

    -------------------------------------------------
    LOL
    Burgers606 you're the funniest guy on this forum!!!

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  • 162. At 3:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    soccerlifer wrote:

    Mr Blueburns:

    interesting you didn't finish the quote - the part about losing 5-1 to Stoke City.

    When did that happen??? The guy's obviously trying to make a point about inconsistency and noit referring to actual results...
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    I didn't need to finish the quote. I take on board what you say about inconsistency but there is nothing at all (form, or recent history) that suggests that Liverpool could win 3-0 at Stamford Bridge therefore the example doesn't work.

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  • 163. At 3:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, alpeshcgujjar wrote:

    As a United fan i should not be supporing any of them but this time i think Liverpool will be the winner.that is my prediction.
    If you ask me to choose which one do you want to lose in this game i would go for Chelsea,what i feel is once Chelsea loses this game and its record other defeats at home will follow just like a striker finds confidence once he scores his first goals,he keeps on scoring ahead.
    That is what i will want if i want to see United winning again that is seeing Chelsea lose at home as well.
    But this game might end up being one of those boring slow moving game.
    Yet i feel Liverpool might go for it,they have all kind of aim and motivation.
    Break their record
    Tell the world they are one of the fevourites to win the title this season.
    They are equally good as their rivals.
    And for the confidence,it will be an important win.
    I personaly would wish for both to lose points but in this game,i will go for Liverpool to win.

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  • 164. At 3:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, Reddeviltunde wrote:

    Mr Blueburns - the statement was about their ability and inconsistency - not about whether or not they'd beaten Chelsea 3-0 and lost to Stoke 5-1.

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  • 165. At 3:55pm on 24 Oct 2008, soccerlifer wrote:

    @jw2034

    interesting how Liverpool's late goals are "lucky" while Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea's aren't - just the mark of champions.

    Lucky or not, it's the result that counts. Does anyone remember that Bayern dominated Man U and hit the post twice in Barcelona in 1999?

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  • 166. At 3:59pm on 24 Oct 2008, madeiraman57 wrote:

    I would prefer the result to be a draw but Liverpool will lose, but I hope that they kick lumps out of each other and clear the way for the best Team over the last 15 years or so to win yet another title.
    I t will again come down to 2 teams, Man United and Chelski and I know who will stay the course best .....
    Come on Manchester United.

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  • 167. At 4:00pm on 24 Oct 2008, LFCBOSTONKOP wrote:

    Phil,

    A good article. As a Liverpool fan I have to admit that my feelings right now are of cautious optimism. I'm optimistic because of the results, when all is said and done, we're second in the league on goal difference and coasting through the group stages of the CL. Results wise, you couldn't ask for much more.
    My caution however comes from the performances. We have clearly under-performed in some matches and when we've been on top we've struggled to put teams away. Unless the performances improve it's hard to see us being competitive in the title race, and that leads to the unanswered question that'll be answered over the coming months, are Liverpool 'over achieving' or 'underperforming'?
    My sense is that this team will only get better. The squad is definitley the strongest in Rafa's reign and I believe the depth of quality will come into play as the season wears on. I also think that a number of factors have effected the teams sluggish performances to date - players missing pre-season after Euro's, players missing due to Olympics, late transfers(Keane & Riera) and injuries. I'm not pointing these out as excuses but rather to say that this squad hasn't had sufficient time together and that they'll get stronger as they play, and train, more together.
    I also disagree with the people on here(mainly Chelski and Manc fans believe it or not) who claim Liverpool have been lucky so far. Liverpool have dominated most of their games and just failed to put teams away, yet shown the persistence to get the results. I think that these fans are getting a little nervous about Liverpool, they may be 'for real'. To use a Ferguson phrase, dirty trouser time may be coming early!

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  • 168. At 4:00pm on 24 Oct 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    If I remember correctly, Arsenal were repeatedly having to come from behind to beat teams last season (at the beginning at least), and eventually they slipped up.

    Whether you call it "ruthlessness" or "determination", Liverpool struggled to beat Middlesborough and Man City, whereas Chelsea have beaten both of them comprehensively this season, without conceding.

    I know, however, that this is much more complex than "Chelsea stuffed Middlesborough, Liverpool struggled, therefore Chelsea will beat Liverpool" (which appears to be alot of people's reasoning on 606).

    When Chelsea have an off day, they still tend to win 1-0 or 2-0. When Liverpool have an off day, they might win 3-2. The same thing can be said of Arsenal.

    That's why I can't see past Chelsea and Man Utd as the only serious title contenders this season.

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  • 169. At 4:01pm on 24 Oct 2008, bobbieflowers wrote:

    ok phil, we get the message, you like jose, jeez...

    big test for liverpool this one though, no torres is a worry, as others have mentioned will probably lead to rafa trying to grind out a result. Don't think robbie keane missing will be much of a factor as he may well have started on the bench anyway.

    i think it will be a four four one one with stevie g in behind kuyt by the looks of things. Don't know if pennant will be trusted with a right wing start at the bridge though, we shall see. whoever they play chelsea are definately the team to beat at the moment, if deco is fit then hopefully he light up this fixture which as others have already stated can be a bit of drab affair normally - least its not a champions league fixture for once eh!

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  • 170. At 4:01pm on 24 Oct 2008, captainferrari wrote:

    Arsenal fan here.
    Don't care how both teams play. Hope its a draw and Arsenal win to cut the gap. Can see Liverpool's luck running out sooner rather than later.
    Chelsea or Utd again to win the league.

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  • 171. At 4:09pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    cov1985

    Whether you call it "ruthlessness" or "determination", Liverpool struggled to beat Middlesborough and Man City, whereas Chelsea have beaten both of them comprehensively this season, without conceding.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Aside from Robinho's free kick which gave Man City the lead against Chelsea.

    RedDevilTunde

    Point taken. Perhaps I took it too literally (like Jamie Redknapp when he describes players as being 'literally skinned' on the pitch.)

    :-)

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  • 172. At 4:10pm on 24 Oct 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    #117

    "and only for Van Der Sars unexplainable blunder and Vidic's sending off they wouldnt have beaten United

    yes, there's a pattern here"

    ?To be honest, I find this arguement a bit ridiculous. This is what happens in football. If John Terry hadn't of slipped in the Champion's league, Manchester United wouldn't have won.

    The fact is these things did happen. That's football. Not all games are won because one team out performs the other, it often comes down blunders.

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  • 173. At 4:11pm on 24 Oct 2008, Liamjm wrote:

    the season is 38 games, liverpool have ground out a few wins when losing already, utd have never won the season playing amazing every game, all title winners win games when ur 1-0 down playing poor and win but g, that's what liverpool have done, and they havent played to there best yet, best everyone is banging on about chelsea playing there best, so why are liverpool level on points with them then??? if chelsea are playing there best are they gonna ground out the results when its not going for them???

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  • 174. At 4:12pm on 24 Oct 2008, davenorm wrote:

    liverpool fan here.... bring it on
    - i think we're all feeling optimistic about this one - especially as it's at stamford bridge - all the players will be relishing it i'm sure - should be a greta match i reckion

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  • 175. At 4:12pm on 24 Oct 2008, Sciatika wrote:

    I listened to the game and then watched the highlights on MOTD. so I am aware that there was a lot more time wasting than was shown. However, as they pointed out on MOTD, Valencia was only one of the people at fault and was approximately 8.5 yds away. Now, I know that is against the rules, but the rules have to be moderated by how the refs "normally" implement them (just as statute law is moderated by the way the judges interpret it). We need consistency. From Valencia's perspective, the decision would seem arbitrary because it is not normal behaviour of refs up and down the country and, hence, he has cause for complaint (but not sufficient to overturn because technically it was in the remit of the ref to book him for the offence).

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  • 176. At 4:12pm on 24 Oct 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    MrBlueBurns

    Point taken, my apologies!!!

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  • 177. At 4:13pm on 24 Oct 2008, ALondonDevil wrote:

    Liverpool have actually impressed me this year. They have been very resilient..and have actually played some good football.

    I do however doubt that they would have beat Wigan or City had they kept 11 men on the pitch for both games.

    I think they'll be closer this year then they have been for a long time..but the Chamopions will come from Chelsea or Utd. Both have World Class players in all positions and have a much higher standard of squads.

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  • 178. At 4:15pm on 24 Oct 2008, simsey33 wrote:

    @jw2034

    interesting how Liverpool's late goals are "lucky" while Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea's aren't - just the mark of champions.

    Lucky or not, it's the result that counts. Does anyone remember that Bayern dominated Man U and hit the post twice in Barcelona in 1999?

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Good point soccerlifer
    I think the difference here is Man U and Chelsea have already won things and for this reason people look at them and say'mark of champions' as you said

    If Liverpool do win the league this year things will change and peoples will look back and remember their comebacks in that light - the mark of champions.

    Until then......

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  • 179. At 4:17pm on 24 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    cov1985 wrote:

    MrBlueBurns

    Point taken, my apologies!!!
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    No worries, afterall, in falling behind only to come back and score 3 (away from home) it only goes to show how good Chelsea are looking this season. (And the third goal was a peach of a finish after a brilliant move.)

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  • 180. At 4:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, LIVERPOOLTHUG wrote:

    LIVERPOOL WILL CHALLENGE THIS YEAR..
    I BELEIVE THE CHELSEA WIL B A BIG TEST.. EVEN THO ITS EARLY IN THE SEASON..
    IT WILL SHOW BENETIZ MENTALITY.. I GOT A GUT FEELING THAT WE WILL BREAK THERE HOME RECORD..
    "REAL RECOGNIZE REAL"

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  • 181. At 4:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    MrBlueBurns.

    Yes, I agree. However, you pointing out that Chelsea came from behind somewhat invalidated my previous comment!!! I have been humbled!

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  • 182. At 4:21pm on 24 Oct 2008, ozzylfc wrote:

    How pathetic one ame will not decide the title. The games are tight between these 2 every year and that has not been a measure of the sides. And people are saying no chance without Torres. However we beat Man Utd without Torres at all and most of the game without Gerrard and still won and out played the so called countries best side.

    Also there is talk of how Martin O'Neil said chelsea were brilliant and that they could have had double figures against middlesborough:
    1. Of course M O'neil would say that his side just got beat he was not going to say their brilliant.
    2. Moaning O'neil is an idiot and should not be listened too.
    3. Boro, particularly Turnbull, were so poor Accrington Stanley could have beaten them 5-0 that day.

    One thing and one thing only will be decided on Sunday. Th destination of 3 points or 1.

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  • 183. At 4:23pm on 24 Oct 2008, ozzylfc wrote:

    By the way Phil McNulty what is your major malfunction?? Why do you insist on writing off Liverpool or attacking them all the time with this column. Journalists are SUPPOSED to be impartial.

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  • 184. At 4:23pm on 24 Oct 2008, Kromkamp David wrote:

    Obviously, because Liverpool haven't won the championship for so many years, their title credentials will always be under close scrutiny but I think this is a pretty big test for Scolari too. We've seen his side play expansive, attractive football but can they be victorious when the result is going to be more decided upon tactical nous, the "small details" as Benitez humbly calls them.

    They struggled away in Romania in a hostile atmosphere when put under some pressure and were very nearly undone at home against Roma when the Italians almost gave a masterclass in European away football. Tottenham, despite their nightmarish start to the campaign, have good players and stretched Chelsea at the bridge, and we all saw how easily United dominated long spells against Chelsea, again at the bridge.

    There's no question Chelsea have had a fantastic start to the season, put simply they've been the best team but we shouldn't forget this is a big test for them too. Chelsea have only beaten Liverpool once in the four league matches they've played over the last two seasons and it's fair to say Liverpool have probably edged all of those encounters, albeit their cause aided by Ballack's dismissal the season before last, dominance they failed to turn into goals as usual that season.

    The truth is nothing will be decided on Sunday, a win, even a dominant win for either side doesn't guarantee them the title. Chelsea have dropped 4 points at home already this season. Liverpool drew at home against lowly Stoke, United stumbled on the first day of the season against a poor Newcastle side. It's the teams which avoid these mistakes which are most likely to be at the top come the end of the season. Two seasons ago, Liverpool dominated Chelsea and Arsenal at home, winning both games and it meant nothing in the end.

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  • 185. At 4:23pm on 24 Oct 2008, ikldbitter wrote:

    you are having a laugh, two players who can change a game, one came through the ranks and the other is one of sixty/seventy signings in the largest squad in the league. please don't compare Liverpool, Man u or chelsea to Arsenal PERIOD !!!!

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  • 186. At 4:26pm on 24 Oct 2008, Stang69 wrote:

    Let's face it - everyone in London hates 'Pool cos Arsenal and Chelski havent really got the pedigree of us Reds, though I do like the way Wenger has handled Arsenal and they are much classier than Chelski...As for Man Utd - well, thats just personal history in that the two biggest clubs in England will always go head-to-head, Chelski are small pretenders to a big throne, and whilst their billions may have bought them some short-term success it wont last...

    Liverpool for the PL? the Xmas matches will probably decide that - if we are still there in January, then we have the chance as we always finish strong - we just have to stay in contention for now - beating Chelski at SB? I reckon a draw...

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  • 187. At 4:37pm on 24 Oct 2008, Sciatika wrote:

    Not everyone in London hates Liverpool. We have an enormous number of so-called Liverpool supporters down here (and Man Utd supporters). Its part of the reason that everyone else down here dislikes them.

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  • 188. At 4:39pm on 24 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    I hate being in premoderation.

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  • 189. At 4:40pm on 24 Oct 2008, I-See-Skrtel wrote:

    Chelsea were not that impressive midweek! Nor were they against Man Utd at the Bridge. They beat a poor Boro side last week. I am confident Benitez can get one over big Phil this weekend. It's about time Chelsea lost at the bridge.

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  • 190. At 4:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    "I said in a previous blog that I had doubts about whether Liverpool's all-round squad strength was good enough to match Manchester United's or Chelsea's."
    ==========
    That's the easiest "judgement" anyone could make. The 1st time they trip up - Hey Presto! You're right!

    You don't even mention the possible effects of various injuries & the likely changes. Liverpool are likely to field their weakest 11 so far this season, against their strongest opposition. They will have nothing in particular to "prove".

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  • 191. At 4:57pm on 24 Oct 2008, nickbasan wrote:

    Chelsea are a small club. They are the same size as Huddersfield, half the size of Sunderland and a third of the size of Everton.

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  • 192. At 5:03pm on 24 Oct 2008, dmrichkt wrote:

    Don't believe the hype! Liverpool can lose this game and still win the title. The reds actually cost Chelsea the title last season with their two draws but still only ended up taking 4 pts from a possible eighteen from the other 3 of the 'big four'. A total they will certainly improve upon this season. As long as Liverpool keep putting the Wigans and the Man city's to bed, they'll be thereabouts. Let's not forget the last team to truly outplay Liverpool were Reading at majdeski stadium last year. that was down to poor team selection and that won't be happening this year. Liverpool only took 11 pts from the bottom3 last season, again, a total that will be improved on. Should they lose at a ground were no team has won in 86 games, its no big deal.......but should they win!

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  • 193. At 5:05pm on 24 Oct 2008, Nick Harry wrote:

    I sure feel as a true blue faithful that a lot of Liverpudians 're carried away by their recent feat of grinding out winners yet moaning about a few players being out injured yet no one makes mention of the fact that Chelsea 've had 2 deal with her injury crisis from pe-season up to this point yet for once we've gone about our business without been carried away by these setbacks.
    Be that as it may WADR (with all due respect) to all LFC faithfuls the reds have really been outstanding all season and are blending fine as a team despite the whole sale changes they experienced during the summer yet sunday will come too soon for them as Chelsea has this aura around them at the moment that pretty seem to be working for us at the moment but in all the whole complex of the result could be down to how one man (Mikel) handles the pressure as it comes up just as a lot of questions will be asked about the fitness level of Deco.
    It will be good to see the likes of Gerrard, Babel, Keane et al attain a high fitness level to particpate in this classic but even if they fail to there're also other players from Cobham that will be absent on the pitch as well.
    Until it's kick off time; let the mind games begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 194. At 5:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, U10891573 wrote:

    From a completely unbiased point of view, I'm predicted a Chelsea win or a draw. A draw isn't exactly horrific for either team (more so Liverpool), but a 0-0 is unlikely. Chelsea have not failed to score at home this season and Liverpool have only failed to score away from home once.

    To put it simply:

    Chelsea score 1st = Game over
    Liverpool score 1st = Game on

    Chelsea win = Liverpool effectively out of title race.

    Liverpool win = Open title race, with Liverpool major contenders.

    Draw = Both teams still compete.

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  • 195. At 5:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, slidingheckle wrote:

    Liverpool have been living up to their ethic, their professed spirit, their resilience. I admit this even as a Man Utd fan.

    Sure Liverpool may have won games against 10 men, but perhaps those are cases of the Reds being the rock others broke themselves on. Credit to them - its all football.

    It would be fantastic to see Liverpool take the win at Stamford and we should all toast them when they do it (exceptin' the Chels fans of course). Pints a'ready!

    Liverpool FTW at Stamford!

    Ah, then they can ratchet it down just a notch, right? Man Utd have a repeat title to bag.... which they will.

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  • 196. At 5:59pm on 24 Oct 2008, Ramilas1 wrote:

    Good summary, Mr McNulty, with analysis and points of view given from a reasonably unbiased standpoint.

    You could give some sound advice to Messrs Peston and Robinson on taking a similar approach with their blogging.

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  • 197. At 6:04pm on 24 Oct 2008, liverbird59 wrote:

    Its foolish to state that liverpool are out of the title race if they lose - similarly utd arent out of the race because we beat them. However, I do think that liverpool will really start believing in themselves if they become the first team to win at the bridge in 5 years.

    I hope its a good game but these games are usually as dull as dishwater.

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  • 198. At 6:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, superhoffy wrote:

    DaveWalnut nice theory I'll be watching with interest as I too think Benitez isn't the master technician that the other three at the top seem to be. Plus his transfers on the whole are mediocre. Someone said he'd have to buy well in january to ensure glory but he maybe he already has. I mean he turned down the chance to sign Kun Aguerro and bought Pennat and co. instead. Lust look at how well they've done. Good luck Rafa, you're gonna need even more of it this season.

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  • 199. At 6:24pm on 24 Oct 2008, oxshottphil wrote:

    Without Torres and Keane, LFC's attack looks as potent as Spurs. Kuyt upfront with 5 in midfield. Should be a great spectacle. If there is going to be a result, other than a painfully etched out draw, a sound thrashing might be the order of the day. Chelski have started the season well, have overcome injuries as if they didn't exist and Big Phil (my namesake) has made an auspicious start. Either way, hopefully positive and flowing football will win the day, not a "shut the shop - it's recession time" display.

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  • 200. At 6:29pm on 24 Oct 2008, fillerywhereru wrote:

    from the comments here I sense the Liverpool fans getting very worked up about this match and their players often do too. If liverpool were to win I would lay money on them dropping points in subsequent matches and Chelsea clawing them back along with Man utd of course.

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  • 201. At 7:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, Redinthehead wrote:

    For all those talking about ten man Manchester City, When Liverpool scored the winner both teams had ten men!

    For Wigan, both feet of the ground from Valencia? sheer idiocy. How Steve Bruce called that a slide tackle I'll never know!

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  • 202. At 7:51pm on 24 Oct 2008, anfieldsean wrote:

    for all you bloggers who keep mentioning how great wenger is may i remind you that beautiful football does not = silverware. how many trophies has he brought home in the last 3 years?

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  • 203. At 7:54pm on 24 Oct 2008, runthatbymeagain wrote:

    phil mcnutty creaming his pants over Maureen, whilst pledging his undying love for Neverton. BBC history of producing informed articles disappears everytime this sad excuse for a reporter writes a letter, his hatred for Rafa shines through. Why do we as tax payers have topay for this ill-informed type of reporting. MCjoke

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  • 204. At 8:04pm on 24 Oct 2008, godblessrafa wrote:

    The odds are Chelsea will win. We will have to play to our best to win so it is difficult to be confident. However you never know so come on you reds!!! All this rubbish about what if we had played Man Utd 3 weeks later, is just that rubbish. We didn't, we played them beat them simple as that. As for all this coming from behind. From what I can remember it really doesn't matter when you score the goals as long as you do.Its just something the written media use to fill some pages with needless twaddle. It will be a bit strange on Sunday not loathing the chelsea manager bt quite liking him though,

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  • 205. At 8:05pm on 24 Oct 2008, G_is_God wrote:

    The amount of ridicilous comments here that seem to be taken right out of the Sun or NOTW is astonishing.

    'Liverpool spend more than anyone'
    ManU, since 2006: Anderson, Nani, Hargreaves, Carrick, Berbatov, Tevez, Vidic, Evra,Manucho (I'm not sure thats his name) -sum it up lads

    'Rafa's rotation policy' Rafa rotates less on average than Chelsea or ManU (and you can check the stats on this one)

    'Liverpool a one man team' How many did ManU win when Ronaldo was out?

    'Liverpool only play well til Christmas' Utter nonsense; in fact Liverpool dont start well but finish well (you can check the stats on this one too). This was apparent last season when we finished stronger than any other team in the league.

    'Liverpool base their success on the defence' We scored the most goals last season

    'No strenght in depth' - We shall see

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  • 206. At 8:06pm on 24 Oct 2008, paul hewson wrote:

    outplayed us?

    first 30 mins they didnt touch the ball.

    there is nothing better than giddy liverpool fans in autumn.

    "this is our season part 19"

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  • 207. At 8:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, anfieldsean wrote:

    does anyone else get really irritated by comments from 'football fans' who are little more than uneducated bias couch potatoes? the amount of people on this blog slagging off liverpool for their 'luck' is outrageous! im not a fan of united or chelski but credit given where its due theyre playing good football and deserve to be where they are in the table. but so do liverpool. joint top of the league and IF we lose at the bridge and united win against everton we're level with the red devils 3 points behind 1st. end of season? don't think so. i wish the biased clowns on here could be objective and provide decent comments for discussion instead of fantastical opinions.............. p.s well done phil. good article and great topic. keep up the good work.

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  • 208. At 8:22pm on 24 Oct 2008, Winty67 wrote:

    I'm a Liverpool fan and a realist.
    I do not expect Liverpool to win the Premiership this season, although i am delighted with their ability to win points from losing positions, whereas last season they couldn't.
    Chelsea have impressed me this season thus far, and i expect them to be contesting the title with Man Utd.
    If, like last season we can come away from Stamford Bridge with a point i will be very satisfied. If not, it isn't the end of our season.
    Lets face it, Liverpool only lost 4 games last term and could only manage 4th.
    If we finish above Man Utd, to me, that will be as good as winning the title.

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  • 209. At 8:25pm on 24 Oct 2008, michelleblue wrote:

    If Drogba plays and Scolari is brave enough to play Anelka alongside up front then without Torres Liverpool will have no chance.

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  • 210. At 8:31pm on 24 Oct 2008, bogbrush wrote:

    62. ginger_gooner wrote:
    I love this "if liverpool win won't they have a better chance of winning the title than in previous season"

    Considering they have had NO CHANCE of winning the premiership (ever), then yes, winning at stamford bridge would give them a small chance.

    Liverpool always do well until around Christmas, then they crumble. Arsenal showed last season that a great start is one thing, but keeping that going throughout jan->march is something else. More often than not, the team top at Christmas doesn't win the league - and I've always maintained, it is better to be chasing (and only 2 or 3 points behind) come Christmas, than to be chased - then you have the momentum to go and an win it.

    -------------------------

    This post is so wrong it's funny. If only we WERE usually in it by Xmas recently!!!

    Anyway, it was after Xmas that we crumbled the Gooners out of the Champions League. Or had you forgot?

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  • 211. At 8:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, anfieldsean wrote:

    oh and the 'if the opposing team hadn't got a player sent off' theory is a load of nonsense.

    1.the cahill lunge was 2 footed and dangerous then ignored the referees whistle at least 3 times

    2. vidic had a yellow and led with his elbow for the second

    3.valencia encroached on the freekick then went in 2 footed off the ground for his second

    4.zabaleta cannot complain it was a terrible tackle.

    if those players were to behave like professionals maybe things would have been different but that is not liverpools fault. we did what was required and its the bitter people who call us lucky. any of the other big 4 would be branded with the mark of champions tag. funny eh.......

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  • 212. At 8:42pm on 24 Oct 2008, awesomeZubz wrote:

    the problem with these types of games is that they get hyped up too much by everyone and then hey turn out to be 0-0 or 1-1. so im not loking forward to this game, i think its going to BORING

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  • 213. At 8:45pm on 24 Oct 2008, angelthejam wrote:

    198. At 6:19pm on 24 Oct 2008, superhoffy wrote:

    did you know Kun Aguero by that time?we are talking about when the guy was 17, remember, not the player that now everyone knows.

    do you know how much atletico paid for him? why did you compare him with Pennant exactly?

    why Abramovitch did not buy aguero, messi and Torres instead of Shevechenko for the same money?

    what a ridiculous post, can you just think a little bit before writting?

    Phil, please take some perspective here, why do you put all the enphasis in Liverpool role here, what does it mean for Chelsea if they lose?
    would they be an overhyped team with an inferiority complex to Liverpool.
    At the moment both teams are levelled on points, and you like it or not, Chelsea has more to lose in the game than liverpool, remember who is playing at home

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  • 214. At 8:47pm on 24 Oct 2008, TrevorTheDog wrote:

    If anyone actually believes that Torres isn't going to play then you are either very naive or very stupid - his injury has been waaayyy over exaggerated (I know that for a FACT).

    There is nothing wrong with him - Rafa is a genious when it comes to sucking everyone in.

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  • 215. At 9:01pm on 24 Oct 2008, redforever wrote:

    Its three points like every other game. we win it then great, great lose it, doesnt meant the season is over.
    manchester united lost to Chelsea at Stamford bridge last season and won the prem. And we beat Chelsea at Anfield two seasons ago and still finished comforatbly behind them.
    To be honest it matters more how we do against Wigan and West Brom away, than Chelsea.
    Of course you want to be competitive, but we have been in the past and it hasnt amounted to a serious challenge.
    Players are up for big games and that will always be true, but can they be up for Hull away? or as we saw a few weeks ago, Stoke at home?
    Chelsea will win easily, my guess 3-0. Agger has come back useless. I blame him for the last three goals agianst us, watch the replays and look where he is on each one.
    Chelsea are attacking like a swarm, they are just mauling defences, and they will make our guys look pedestrian.

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  • 216. At 9:03pm on 24 Oct 2008, JM75UK wrote:

    The amount of rubbish coming out of the mouths of Chelsea,Arsenal and Man U fans on this topic is astounding.

    Firstly yes Liverpool have ground out some wins but the double standards of other teams fans/the media make me laugh. When the other members of the top four do the same they are earmarked as "Potential Champions" or the like,yet when Liverpool do it its because they are lucky or the other team were poor. I'm sorry but thats just a load of tosh,Liverpool cannot help it if other teams keep going in two footed on Alonso or get carded for ignoring the rules despite being warned by the Ref. Also other teams should learn that you need to play for the whole game not one second less. The other top four members have had phases of doing this and the media can't pass enough compliments their way,maybe they treat Liverpool differently because they have used up their quota of plaudits for the season.

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  • 217. At 9:33pm on 24 Oct 2008, SuperStrikerShivam wrote:

    Don't think Liverpool shall be able to cope with the pressure of the title race, i think it shall be between United and Chelsea again, this season.

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  • 218. At 10:16pm on 24 Oct 2008, Won it at-a-turk stadium wrote:

    I am worried about two misconceptions in this blog.

    First, that Liverpool have wasted a lot of money. Untrue since the Houllier years. Each player Rafa has bought that has been a squad player or hasn't had enough quality (ie. Josemi, Kromkamp, Bellamy etc) he has sold for a profit. How is this a waste of money?

    Secondly, I am going to add fuel to the argument that Liverpool deserved to win the games against Wigan and Man City. Anyone at those matches would know that Liverpool were the vastly superior opposition and deserved to win the game, regardless of red cards. If they had lost the game we would be talking about Man City and Wigans lucky wins...and criticising the red cards for unprofessionalism.

    There seems to be a dislike of Liverpool, and especially Rafa Benitez creeping throughout the country.

    The man has a proven system which he worked with on a limited budget. He hasn't spent much more than Arsenal and has won more trophies than them over the last 4 years, and yet Wenger is the untouchable one!

    I say it is too early to decide the title on this encounter, but it will be a close match with team discipline and mental strength which decides the game...something Liverpool have a lot of.

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  • 219. At 10:18pm on 24 Oct 2008, brighton72 wrote:

    Have to say Liverpool seemed to be Chelsea of a few seasons ago when points would be dropped or lost against so called lesser opposition. I think the premier league has gained strength outside of the top four clubs with most clubs able to put in great performances against the Utd's, Arsenal's etc also and feel sure that Liverpool are better equipped than ever to seriously challenge so I would not under estimate the importance of wins against Wigan, City etc as previously seasons this would not have happened.

    That said Torres for me is a key player and could / would have been the match winner against Chelsea, without him I do have a few doubts about them getting a result Sunday, that said Roma proved a tough nut to crack and Liverpool will also and who knows they may just sneak something and a win is not beyond them.

    Finally, UTD for me are still the team to be most respected, title holders and showing the form again right now, BUT we only OCT, let's have this debate again in JAN 09' when these games can be title deciders.

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  • 220. At 10:32pm on 24 Oct 2008, Rob Ice wrote:

    I have to point out that while Man U played some great football last season they were were also one of the luckiest teams in the league. I can point to at least 5 games where they picked up 3 points without deserving it. I would also say the same about Chelsea when they won the league so forget all this rubbish about being lucky. As for Sunday, well Chelsea are the home team and the most in form team so naturally they are clear favourites. If anyone can stop them Benitez can. I think Benitez will play 1 striker with Gerrard just behind. Kuyt is in equally good form as Torres so won't make too much difference if Torres is out. I predict 1-1 with Liverpool getting a late equaliser (the headlines will call us lucky again !!)

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  • 221. At 11:35pm on 24 Oct 2008, GreenTeaBags wrote:

    I think that Liverpool have shown a lot of character in the league this season. Which has been wonderful to see.

    My interpretation of consistency however is not re-running Istanbul on a weekly basis or consistently winning against 10 men.

    IMHO the team needs to wise up and start dispatching lesser opposition with clinical efficiency. Thereby conserving BOTH physical and mental strength for the business end of the season. Otherwise we're going to simply burn out around March.

    I'd settle for an assured performance against Chelsea less of the erratic Roy of the Rovers stuff and a solid defensive performance. If we can nick a goal and win it, that would be brilliant though.

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  • 222. At 00:14am on 25 Oct 2008, JohnBarnesfreekick wrote:

    An easy win

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  • 223. At 01:09am on 25 Oct 2008, oldmisog wrote:

    Chelsea have proven their strength in depth with their win over Middlesborough with seven first team certainties missing.

    Liverpool on the other hand seem to base their prospects for success on whether Gerrard and Torres are fit. You can't win a league with two players however good they are.

    Even if these two do turn out for Liverpool, Chelsea playing at home and at full strength in Scolari's open and attacking style will, I believe, be too much for the reds to contend with.

    Let's not forget that the one ship that has never been to Liverpool is the premiership. It won't dock there this year either!

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  • 224. At 01:54am on 25 Oct 2008, Arpers wrote:

    What?, Agger was a top defender two seasons ago and all of a sudden he's overrated? He just needs some games under his belt like most players need. It wasn't long ago that Skrtel's positioning wasn't brilliant playing against Barnsley in the FA Cup 2008. Agger will come good, and Liverpool will get a result againts Chelski.

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  • 225. At 02:23am on 25 Oct 2008, grasshoppa wrote:

    i believe the form Mascherano & Alonso will determine how liverpool do at chelsea. Chelsea have only really been tested by a Man U side that was struggling with early season form, and whilst their win over boro was great they flattered to deceive against Roma. If Mascherano can find his form and energy and alonso can dictate the tempo in midfield then we have a chance. Liverpool have been paying some good football the comebacks don't aways tell the whole story. But Keane and Kuyt will have to be ruthless. Terry and Carvalho are great defenders what terry lacks in mobility he makes up in strength and reading of the game and his partner is simply Chelseas best defender. keane kuyt gerrard and reira will have to use movement and pace to pull them out of shape. at the other end Carra and agger have to contain the chelsea moement of the lies of anelka, cole, lampard and deco.

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  • 226. At 07:55am on 25 Oct 2008, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Ref #220. You need to dig out results half a dozen times a season if you want to be champions and/or be lucky, as you put it. The point is, and it is a concern for many LFC fans too, that Liverpool have used up several of their 'lives' already this season with only 8 games gone.
    They need to show that they can win with style if anyone is to believe that they will challenge.

    Regarding all the points about Liverpool playing better after Christmas. True if you look at recent seasons. What LFC fans are missing is that its easier to pick up points when not playing under pressure (out of the title race). Try it when your competing head to head for 2 or 3 trophies where every game become a cup final and fatigue and injuries mount. Utd and Chelsea have the squads to cope with this. Liverpool don't.

    There's only 8 games gone and nothing has happened to change the preseason predictions (of the vast majority, bookies included). Utd and Chelsea will battle it out again.

    The result on Sunday won't affect Liverpool's title credentials: they never had any to start with and unless they get much more quality and depth into their squad they won't have in the future.

    In fairness to the comments of many Liverpool fans on here, they clearly understand this and refuse to get carried away.

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  • 227. At 08:06am on 25 Oct 2008, Depster wrote:

    All this talk about liverpool doing badly against the lesser teams. If we had reversed the 2 Man U games and won 1 of the draws against chelsea we would have won the league last year.

    So if we win tomorrow we are two thirds of the way there already!!

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  • 228. At 09:00am on 25 Oct 2008, GraymeadYNWA wrote:

    To say a Liverpool win isd Impossible at this stage would be stupidity. The way the season has gone I believe if we get to 80 minutes level, we have every chance of nicking it.

    But I wuld be delighted with a Draw, unless they score a last minute eqauliser or something like that.

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  • 229. At 09:53am on 25 Oct 2008, rockliverpoolnumber1 wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan, I would like Liverpool to win. But seeing that the quality that Chelsea have its gonna b hard beating them. And it's only the beginning of the season. The PL is a marathon not a sprint. Liverpool will have a chance to win it, but only if they change the way they're playing. They can't always rely on coming back from behind and they better start changing this weekend. In the January transfer window I would like to see them buying 2 or 3 world class players for the weak positions like the right side of defense and midfield. For me its a 1-1 draw.

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  • 230. At 10:46am on 25 Oct 2008, Goatman wrote:

    I'm not gonna sit on the fence and say a draw is a good result. Don't get me wrong a draw is a good result but if we keep that mentality then we will carry on drawing games we should win and that will affect our sesason. We have to be brave and go for the win and if we get caught on the counter and they score then ok but as people have said a loss will not cost us the season necessarily but i think we have to go for the win cos if we sit back and defend we will be broken eventually and will cost us the match. Also on the agger situation, I like daniel agger and remember it was him that scored from the free kick for us to draw level with chelsea in the champs league. If liverpool end this season as league champions i would be happier than i have ever been watching football in my life, people will say "you got lucky against so and so" or "they didnt field their strongest team" but if people say that then i will just smile and be able to say "who cares? we are the champions!" and that is something that we will have to wait until the end of the season to find out, to base our season on one game so early in is a bad choice but it is important to win and the psychological boost of ending their unbeaten streak could give us that extra steam to go on and get more results elsewhere

    liverpool to win 2-1 in a frustratingly dull game with sloppy goals

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  • 231. At 10:47am on 25 Oct 2008, Goatman wrote:

    I'm not gonna sit on the fence and say a draw is a good result. Don't get me wrong a draw is a good result but if we keep that mentality then we will carry on drawing games we should win and that will affect our sesason. We have to be brave and go for the win and if we get caught on the counter and they score then ok but as people have said a loss will not cost us the season necessarily but i think we have to go for the win cos if we sit back and defend we will be broken eventually and will cost us the match. Also on the agger situation, I like daniel agger and remember it was him that scored from the free kick for us to draw level with chelsea in the champs league. If liverpool end this season as league champions i would be happier than i have ever been watching football in my life, people will say "you got lucky against so and so" or "they didnt field their strongest team" but if people say that then i will just smile and be able to say "who cares? we are the champions!" and that is something that we will have to wait until the end of the season to find out, to base our season on one game so early in is a bad choice but it is important to win and the psychological boost of ending their unbeaten streak could give us that extra steam to go on and get more results elsewhere

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  • 232. At 10:52am on 25 Oct 2008, Mike Dewar wrote:

    I note Sir Wayne belbaldo things Agger is over rated. As a Scotsman, i find it amusing that anyone from down south should think a quality and thoughtful central defender is over rated. The premiership is the most exciting league in the world because most if not all defences are relatively poor. they are well short of the quality on show in italy and germany, and even spain. That Terry is seen as world class is laughable. he has been protected for years by the most defensive midfield in the country. when Makalele left the team, chelsea shipped goals and even the wonder of Cech and Carvalho could not hide the shortcomings of Terry. Get someone running at him and you are gauranteed a penalty/sending off etc. He is a liability without Makalele.
    Ferdinand is better but still needs two defensive midfielders in front of him (hargreaves and carrick) in ferguson's opinion at least. Agger will become the next Alan Hansen and for this comment to come after his first game in over a year is just nonsense.
    North of the border where we do not take oursleves too seriously in respect of football (for obvious reasons) we have a good laugh at the pundits who think England have a chance of winning a tournament. With central defenders like those on show each week, there is more chance of Celtic winning the European cup this year.

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  • 233. At 11:13am on 25 Oct 2008, ramesh kudva wrote:

    It will be a high octane match for sure. Throw in a good number of bone crunching incidents and cards of both colours. Watch for example Terry committing a handball in the penalty box and claiming that he was unable to get out of the way. The ref and his assts will be critical and we really hope that they will be spot on with the flags and the whistle. Imagine the dubious offside decisions that marred the Atl Madrid - L'pool game being seen all over again.

    The confidence is back with the Reds, and fighting back from being a goal down is no big deal this season. In fact, there is a certain double booster when the first goal is dropped! Like a boxer who loves to be floored early on just so that he can gain 'the force' to go on and win.

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  • 234. At 11:36am on 25 Oct 2008, billyfurey wrote:

    As a Liverpool supporter it is pleasing to see us in the position we are. Yes we have been lucky at times, but then again sometimes you make your own luck. Yes we have had a lot of players sent off against us - but none of them looked like harsh dismissals to me (then again I may be biased.) I would argue that Alonso's skill on the ball and superb timely passes have led to frustration from the players he is up against and led to rash challenges to get the ball. It also has to be said that sometimes teams get their blood up when down to ten men and have nothing to lose. I don't think we can win it this season but to be giving Man U and Chelsea a run for their money is great, given the relative spending of the clubs. Yes Benitez has spent big at times but we don't have too many 15 million plus players warming the bench or injured long term( Hargreaves, Carrick etc.)
    Also pleasing is the work rate from the players (except Babel peculiarly) which I think is down to Sammy Lee on the training ground. We look fitter and hungrier this season and I for one am thoroughly enjoying myself.

    Come on Liverpool!!!

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  • 235. At 12:21pm on 25 Oct 2008, Aladin wrote:

    Very very hard match will be this for LFC and if we win, we can be very hopeful to get the champ in the end of the season. But to put it bluntly i wished we could have Scolari for us!! He is a Fantastic man.

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  • 236. At 12:50pm on 25 Oct 2008, JM75UK wrote:

    The same people who say Liverpool are lucky are those that support teams who get all the decisions go their way (Especially at home,no prizes for guessing who),have players who win penalties/get others sent off by diving or have Ref's who are intimidated when refering their games,especially by certain managers/players.

    Chelsea are playing well but they are not the all conquering force that their fans and the media would have us believe. A 5-0 win against a poor team who did not seem to want to go anywhere near a Chelsea player is not an indicator of a team being world beaters. This is backed up by the draw against the mighty Cluj,a team that my local pub side could probably beat.

    People have been going on about Liverpool being mediocre without Gerrard and Torres,however the fact that we have already beat Man U with the two of them out (Plus still only playing in 1st/2nd gear) and have played well in recent seasons when Gerrard has been out says otherwise. On top of this any team would be made weaker without their best players. Man U would be half the team they are without Ronaldo and Rooney,as would Chelsea without Essien and the donkey work he does which allows Lampard to score his customary 20+ deflections & Penalties per season.

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  • 237. At 12:51pm on 25 Oct 2008, sporter08 wrote:

    "Last year, Liverpools season fell apart when Liverpool drew in the league with Pompey. Rafa then rested Torres in a league game away at Birmingham (resulted in a draw), played him 4 days later in the Carling Cup against Reading (he scored a hat trick) and then rested him again the following weekend for the league."

    DaveWalnut, our form dropped when we played Chelsea last year at the Bridge, when they fouled Steve Finnan and got a penalty for it. We then followed the route you were talking about.

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  • 238. At 2:08pm on 25 Oct 2008, el-nino84 wrote:

    Startin to get bored of these things from Phil almost every Liverpool game sayin we will know after the game if they are real contenders.

    If Liverpool win im sure that next weekend against Spurs we will have the same thing.

    Chelsea are unbeaten in over 80 league games at stamford bridge... Man Utd and Arsenal aint won there in 4 years But Phil says we will have a better verdict after Sunday... Why i ask? These comments dont come out when Utd played there the other week. Utd have just drew with everton does that show they aint goin to be title contenders now? no but i bet if Liverpool had just drew there it would all be doom and gloom in Phils eyes.

    One game dont win ye the title Phil!!!!!!



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  • 239. At 8:20pm on 25 Oct 2008, Charles1990 wrote:

    Phil.

    As a red all i want to see is Liverpool to be every season league contenders.

    Last year to see us do so well upto the manchester united game we lost 1-0, and then to start droppin points against wigan/middlesbourgh..ect..
    it was devistating.

    And everyone says lfc fans say this is our year every year is wrong because we dont say or think it. until we something diffrent. and this year i have seen something diffrent i havn't seen before in liverpools game, and it exites me.

    And to "manucastle" your such a looser, 1. they are called Liverpool. 2. grow up 3. when manchester united are loosing at old trafford and the game is coming to an end you know they will draw or win because, it turns from stopage time to alex fergisons time.. until you equalise or win! SHOCKING!

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  • 240. At 8:41pm on 25 Oct 2008, Pantryboy wrote:

    Phil, why do you never focus on any other club outside the EPL 'top four'? Already this season this must be the fifth or sixth 'Liverpool' article you have posted. Why not cover something else? Here's a tip: how about Hull's remarkable start to the season - or is that not 'fashionable' enough for you?

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  • 241. At 9:41pm on 25 Oct 2008, Dazzz89 wrote:

    Phil, I really do think it's too early to say that this match will determine if Liverpool are to mount a serious title challenge, just like it's too early to say Hull will make the Champions League, or Man-U-re will finish out of the top four, as much as I'd love it. The match will prove nothing more than, Chelsea are great at home, at most. Liverpool have a great squad with a decent amount of depth where it is necessary, and sure will add more players in the winter transfer window where they are needed. And for those who think we can't win without Torres and Gerrard, take a look at Dirk Kuyt's recent form, Liverpool signed him to be a striker, he's obviously not lost his roots Robbie Keane also seems to be gaining more confidence with every match he plays. Xabi Alonso, Albert Riera, and yes even Andrea Dossena have done enough respectively to say that, GOD FORBID, if we lost Stevie for an extended period of time we would be able to do him the honor of winning matches. I honestly don't think Liverpool will win, but I HIGHLY DOUBT THEY WILL LOSE.

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  • 242. At 11:05pm on 25 Oct 2008, Trickiano_Ricaldo wrote:

    Torres out, Skrtl out, Keane a doubt... Rafa Benitez will be winging about this afterwards when Liverpool lose.

    Scolari? He takes injuries in his stride. I guarantee Liverpool will try to "man mark" all Chelsea's big players like Lampard, Deco, Anelka etc. and won't be able to handle the runs of Bridge and Bosingwa that bring extra width, and attacking fluency which a narrow-playing Liverpool lack.

    No doubt a Chelsea win.

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  • 243. At 00:28am on 26 Oct 2008, gratefulkm wrote:

    scolari will realise today what he has to do to win the champions league.
    he will realise that liverpools midfield will run the game as they have done in the last 6 encounters with chelsea,
    he will realise he has a great attack,
    but will realise he will be lucky to win with a good goal, that will not happen every time they meet.
    chelsea steal the lead, liverpool equlise then its down to liverpool missing chances , good saves by cech,
    then maybe a good goal towards the end of the game,
    but if liverpool take the chances that their midfield create then liverpoll win all the way
    its just a matter if them taking thier chances,
    if not they will lose or draw.
    in the end liverpool will control the game either way. the midfield rule
    scolari will be counting his blessings if they win

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  • 244. At 02:47am on 26 Oct 2008, NotSuperHans wrote:

    Scolari takes injuries in his stride because he's been gifted an enormous squad, not because he's somehow inherently classier. Benitez has the tactical edge, I think, and can make do with less.
    It's obvious the mental boost a win would give Liverpool, but just as importantly, seeing how the team recovers from a loss (if they lose) will be very telling. In any case I predict a draw.


    Fairly sure Keane will start.

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  • 245. At 02:53am on 26 Oct 2008, puddy333 wrote:

    . At 12:58pm on 24 Oct 2008, i_amlukechadwick wrote:
    MY BET IS THAT THE GAME WILL BE A DRAW,THEN HULL WILL BEAT CHELSEA ON WEDS NITE AND GO TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!



    i love that comment, im a pool fan but luke. ur ever the optimist lol i laffed so much when i read it lolololololol

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  • 246. At 07:47am on 26 Oct 2008, saga mix wrote:

    Can't see anything but a draw ... each team knocking in either one goal or no goals.

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  • 247. At 09:01am on 26 Oct 2008, bro969 wrote:

    People say Liverpool are unfortunate to play Chelsea without Torres and possibly Skrtel. This I agree. Anyone forgotten that Chelsea are still without some of their best players in Drogba, Ballack, Essien and J Cole? Let's stop moaning about loss of players for crucial games. It's all supposed to be a part of the game anywayz!

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  • 248. At 09:59am on 26 Oct 2008, eggman84uk wrote:

    Another reason why Mr McNulty's blog is rubbish is... he's afraid of commas! Every blog is simple sentence after simple sentence, either stating the bleeding obvious or trotting out some mundane rubbish that everyone has read a million times before. The pearl from this blog has to be

    "Liverpool's confidence levels are high. And they will need to be if they are to come through their most thorough examination of the season so far."

    Hmm. Even the detestable Carragher said that they can't afford to go behind and expect to come back to win every game. Liverpool are winning now, but they're not playing particularly well - to suggest that beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge means they're more likely than not to win the League is laughable. Phil, please tell me how you got into journalism - you must have been luckier than Benitez!

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  • 249. At 11:14am on 26 Oct 2008, Tom wrote:

    Chelsea to win 2-0.
    Bosingwa Man of the Match.

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  • 250. At 12:16pm on 26 Oct 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    Liverpool have not been convincing against any of the top four, hence Phil is quite right here by saying this a test of character. They only managed against Man U this season after I dont know how long, as for their games against Chelsea its been more of controversy than anything, and against Arsenal who could forget the two drubbings handed out in a space of a week against the kids?

    For pool supporters to say they have been ok against the big sides and only need to up their game against smaller teams is the most flawed belief ever.
    If their manager takes this same stance then they are doomed. For them to be where they are this season its due to a massive dose of luck, in two of their four games they played against 10 men they should have lost. I know Man U have taken a lot of stick about getting favoravble decisions from the refs but I think of late Liverpool have benefited from that more than anyone else. There is little doubt that out of the top 4 Liverpool are the weakest. Just look at their history against the other three; when did they last win at OT, Emirates or SB? But all the other 3 have won recently at Anfield, and sometimes more than once in one season.

    You pool fans have got to accept this is a test of character if you can win at Chelsea today, and whether you like it or not, the same cannot be said if any of the top three were coming to Anfield.

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  • 251. At 12:28pm on 26 Oct 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    bogbrush wrote:
    62. ginger_gooner wrote:
    I love this "if liverpool win won't they have a better chance of winning the title than in previous season"

    Considering they have had NO CHANCE of winning the premiership (ever), then yes, winning at stamford bridge would give them a small chance.

    Liverpool always do well until around Christmas, then they crumble. Arsenal showed last season that a great start is one thing, but keeping that going throughout jan->march is something else. More often than not, the team top at Christmas doesn't win the league - and I've always maintained, it is better to be chasing (and only 2 or 3 points behind) come Christmas, than to be chased - then you have the momentum to go and an win it.

    -------------------------

    This post is so wrong it's funny. If only we WERE usually in it by Xmas recently!!!

    Anyway, it was after Xmas that we crumbled the Gooners out of the Champions League. Or had you forgot?

    ...................................................
    Er, boggey, you cannot honestly say you believe this utter crap you wrote here. You were outplayed by the gooners in both matches, and anyone who has got the gift of vision acknowledged the refs gave you the result in both legs. It was even more blatant than Garcia's phantom goal that got you into champions lge final against the blues. To be honest you haven't really done anything to deserve your crowing; instanbul was a freakshow, milan decided to crumble at the very last hurdle. I am a gooner and I will tell you in the prem I am always worried of the threat posed by Utd & Chelsea, than Liverpool, and I say that from the bottom of my heart.

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  • 252. At 3:53pm on 26 Oct 2008, el-nino84 wrote:

    Stick it up ye Phil.. Liverpool have won 1-0 but im sure youll be back on wednesday to try knock em back down!!!

    Lets hope this is a end to your are Liverpool title challengers :)

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  • 253. At 4:25pm on 26 Oct 2008, liddellBilly wrote:

    Dare I hope that "ihatenorwich" will give us a post-match comment? In particular I look forward to a response to his 'shut up and play up' gibe and the fact that his under-rated Carragher has just received the bottle of champers as man of the match.

    Come on "ihatenorwich" give us a reply or will you slide out of the back door hoping not to be noticed?

    liddellBilly

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  • 254. At 4:31pm on 26 Oct 2008, virtualwecky wrote:

    Doesn't Humble Pie Taste Nice Thts For All You Chesea Supporters Who Wrote Liverpool Of Before The Ball Was Kicked ;)

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  • 255. At 4:47pm on 26 Oct 2008, The Ghost Of Thierry Henry wrote:

    "Anyway, it was after Xmas that we crumbled the Gooners out of the Champions League. Or had you forgot?"

    Clearly you have forgotten or you would realise that "crumbled" is hardly the word to describe the travesty which led to you knocking us out of the CL.

    Nonetheless, well done for today.

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  • 256. At 6:20pm on 26 Oct 2008, wurzygon wrote:

    gooner- 4-2 is a proper thrashing. Chelsea- lol.

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  • 257. At 6:29pm on 26 Oct 2008, James Dunmore wrote:

    Dr Seven Grater and bogbrush:

    Talk about missing the point.

    I was saying that you have a great start - so did we (last season) and we crumbled (I wasn't denying that), you usually crumble at some point too, and come March, you won't (as usual) be in the title race; as Man U + Chelsea show year after year, you want to be "there or thereabouts" come Christmas, then have your good run and go for it.

    Yes you are playing well now and you seen to have a bit of luck on your side- but again (as we showed in the 2 cl legs last season) playing well doesn't necessarily win you things.

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  • 258. At 04:21am on 27 Oct 2008, Dr Seven Grater wrote:

    For sale:

    Large humble pie. Can be cut into many slices, since quite a lot of people seem to be in need of a bit of it.

    And yes, I'm completely shit-faced.

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  • 259. At 08:43am on 27 Oct 2008, Brewesters_Millions wrote:

    As far as im concerned Liverpool's strength in depth isn't as great as United's and Chelsea, and this is a slight concern at the end of a weary season, when we'll probably be in the champions league quarter finals again, and the games become more important beacuse the gongs are soon to be handed out, that we will start to suffer.

    Due to this, we need a bit of luck for gerrard, torres and carragher to stay fit all season.

    If they do this thing will go right to the wire. Until then im not worrying about the future. All i wish for this Christmas is Liverpool top of the league.

    Oh, and don't panic red's if they [the world except reds fans] say we are not credible challangers, that's actually good news, if we do win the title this year were more likely to do as underdogs, with the pressure off!

    They said the same thing the year we won the Champions League for the first time. We were in the final 2 years later, lol!

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