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Liverpool send out title message

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Phil McNulty | 17:43 UK time, Sunday, 26 October 2008

Rafael Benitez had only one serious alarm as Liverpool recorded a landmark victory at Chelsea - and it did not come during 90 minutes that confirmed his team as serious title contenders.

It was an alarm of the smoke variety and interrupted Benitez's post-match inquest on how Liverpool had ended Chelsea's 86-match unbeaten record in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

The noise may have temporarily drowned out Liverpool's manager, but it was of no consequence. He had watched his team deliver the message loud and clear on the toughest title territory of them all.

Benitez simply said: "No panic."

And in doing so he was copying a mantra Liverpool had followed to the letter to frustrate the life out of Chelsea.

Liverpool have suffered a series of false dawns in their quest to bring the title back to Anfield for the first time since 1990.

And while Benitez is too cute to be drawn into hype about Liverpool's long-term aspirations, they provided compelling evidence that they will be in the race for the long haul this season.

If Liverpool needed an extra injection of confidence and self-belief after an outstanding start to the season, winning at Chelsea should provide every ounce they need.

I asked Benitez how important this victory was in making his Liverpool players believe they can win the title this season.

The response was the epitome of cautious optimism.

He said: "We showed we have the right mentality and character today. We have belief, we have quality and we have shown we have character by coming from behind so often this season.

"It is enough to be top of the table and now we need three points against Portsmouth to keep this mentality and momentum."

Liverpool have had reality checks at Chelsea in the past, but they produced a performance high on defensive quality, commitment and organisation to signal their serious intentions this season.

It was going to take a display of this standard to shatter Chelsea's record, and Liverpool produced it.

Chelsea dominated possession for long periods, but Benitez had a plan (he said he would not tell us what it was in case Luiz Felipe Scolari made notes) and it worked a treat.

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Xabi Alonso's early goal helped, of course, giving Liverpool a prize to cling to. And cling to it they did, on the back of a masterly defensive performance from Jamie Carragher and a smothering midfield display from Javier Mascherano.

Chelsea are light up front in the absence of Didier Drogba, and Liverpool made it their business to snuff out Scolari's midfield and cut off any supply to the out-of-sorts Nicolas Anelka.

Mascherano was the pivotal figure, and when Chelsea did get through Carragher was the barrier.

As Scolari, splendidly gracious in defeat, acknowledged, Chelsea were reduced to playing a game that was alien to them long before the final whistle. Too many long balls and too many wasted crosses.

It was, in fact, code for saying Chelsea ran out of ideas. He could pay Liverpool no greater tribute.

As time went on, I felt it was Liverpool who were going to get a second goal rather than Chelsea fashion an equaliser. And while Ashley Cole missed Chelsea's best chance, Alonso struck a post with a free-kick and the lively Ryan Babel flashed a shot just wide.

I recently blogged about the importance of Fernando Torres to Liverpool. And I do not believe their title ambitions would survive a lengthy absence for Torres or Steven Gerrard.

But they have certainly shown they can cope with brief absences. Liverpool have beaten Manchester United and Chelsea without Torres in the starting line-up, and this simple fact should give confidence to his colleagues and to the club's supporters.

Chelsea played well for long periods, but they came up against a Liverpool side that had the measure of them tactically.

But, even in defeat, Chelsea showed enough to suggest they will shrug off this setback and resume normal service swiftly.

Scolari was hugely impressive after the game. Calm, realistic, dignified and gracious - I'm not sure my old favourite Jose Mourinho would have been so sanguine.

The Brazilian gave Liverpool credit, produced a clinical diagnosis of his own team's failings and also put the defeat in its proper context.

As I said in a blog on this game on Friday, I do not feel we learned any more about Chelsea than we already knew, but we discovered more about Liverpool.

Liverpool's victory has (or should have) huge psychological significance for them.

They have proved to themselves that they can go to what was previously an impregnable Premier League fortress and win.

And they have signalled to Chelsea and Manchester United that they are displaying signs that this might be a campaign in which their title challenge will be maintained.

There will be alarms along the way - but Benitez was able to cope with the only one he had at Stamford Bridge.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Well said Phil....and thank you for finally acknowledging the fact, that this 'Team' has lot of strength , passion and desire to win the league this season.

  • Comment number 2.

    It is too early to say, but it does look very, very good. Wins over Man U and Chelsea away without Torres (and Stevie only a sub in the case of the Man U game) bodes very well, as does being very near an early qualification from the Champions League and being able to turn games around from seemingly losing positions.

    We just need to now start beating a few of the lesser sides with a bit more ease, hopefully starting with Portsmouth on Wednesday. The signs though are definetly good and I think now after today's result we might just get some over due respect.

    Where are Rafa's critics on zonal marking now?

  • Comment number 3.

    As a weather hardened pool supporter in Ireland, watching friends and family ridicule the pools attempts withn the premeirship over the lasy 15 years, I can relate to Rafas cautious outlook and his insistance on 'calm'.

    Liverpool won the games today and against united by playing football, passing and attacking. No negative blanket defence and hoofing of the ball upfield. This is one of the most optimistic aspects of the wins.

    But we need to focus and improve. Keane needs to be more professional and technical. Agger, who I felt was back to his old self today, needs to keep his head unlike his display against Wigan. Gerrard, also returning to his old form, needs to shake off his sluggish start to the season for good.

    But I'm smiling, my United and Chelsea supporting friends are looking a bit more worried and I'm looking forward to each game more so than ever.

    Well done Liverpool. Nothing won yet but you're playing football, playing as a team and giving your supporters an enormous amount of pride.

    You'll, truly, NEVER WALK ALONE

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes it was great to win at stamford bridge but lets no get too excited. There is a long way to go. But it is encouraging to see Liverpool show the character and belief that has been badly lacking in previous seasons. Lets hope it continues

  • Comment number 5.

    i will admit that pool have a better chance than i expected of them winning the league... but it is still early days. a couple of injurys will see them struggle for quality. and benitez's future always seems insecure with the owners. if benitez leaves many players will want out. mostly the spaniards. they went to liverpool over other premier league teams because of the spanish coach

  • Comment number 6.

    A massive victory for the Reds, no doubt about that. I couldn't have asked for more with this result... as an Arsenal fan.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well-played Liverpool but I can't help but think that they will not be challenging for the title this season. They will be close, certainly better than the 4th they have managed in the last few seasons, but I have a feeling that Chelsea will dominate and win the league.

    Liverpool have started well and have done consistently well in grinding out results but that is what they have been doing, grinding. Chelsea have been majestic (sometimes) and have played teams out of the park. Without Torres, they seem to lack any spark and Chelsea have some vital players out. If Rafa gets some good wide players, Keane finds his touch and his defense maintains their high standards, Liverpool could certainly win this season. BUT there will always be that question about their consistency and commitment. 29 more games left to prove me wrong.

  • Comment number 8.

    One performance that spoke volumes of the Benetiz way. We looked assured during this game, in a way that reminded me of Liverpool sides past. But there's a long way to go - it'll be Benetiz job to ensure when things don't go our way he can maintain this side's belief.

    Just one thing really puzzles me - Tottenham are getting all the headlines on the BBC. I know this is a big story but I do wonder had Man Utd won at Chelsea and went 3 points clear whether you'd still have Spurs as the first story. Though this is big news the fact Liverpool ended an 86-home match streak, went 3 points clear and played very well deserved, on merit, to be top of the table and your headlines.

    Well done on the blog.

  • Comment number 9.

    It's nice to see some 'facts' about Liverpool being dispelled this season.

    Everyone thought we can't score goals without Torres - wrong.

    Everyone thought we have only two match winners in Gerrard and Torres - wrong.

    The best thing about the season so far is that Liverpool have been winning games without getting close to top gear. Keane hasn't settled into the side yet. Gerrard is not at 100% and Torres has been injured twice. Even the defence has, until today, not been at it's best. What's going to happen when the side really starts to play?

  • Comment number 10.

    Personally although Chelsea are a cracking team and have to me a very likeable manager, there fans need to know that sometimes things wont always happen the way they dream of. Liverpool controlled the game from start to finish...Carra was awsome by the way! but i still think Chelsea will cone away with the title come the end of the season.

  • Comment number 11.

    I know its early and u cant win the league in october but u can really 'loose' it ...i guess we are far better than latter..and as a die hard and honest lfc fan, I agree we still need some 'spine' in terms of players but this team has more of it than teams of previous years.The 'Never To say die' sprit we showed in games this season, coming back from difficult situations time and again .It emphasizes the hunger for succses and adds a lot of character to the team.Which was lacking at times in past. All i'm saying tht like our team sticking to one another, so should we.'Never To say die' have faith and belief and we can win. And it dosent matter even if we dont...atleat we are making a fight for it..u never know end of may...The long wait is over....

    Dont forget
    'YNWA' thts who we are....

  • Comment number 12.

    Liverpool have now proved that they are good enough to beat anyone, anywhere.

    Now we just need to keep the run going. Chelsea and Man Utd will catch up again, we just need to make sure we keep our consistency.

    One other point. Is it not a bit funny that when we have really needed to keep it tight against Chelsea and Utd we look really strong defensively - but then leak goals against City and Wigan?

  • Comment number 13.

    Character, commitment & guts. Qualities which we haven't always shown at Stamford Bridge in the last few years (it also became increasingly embarrassing to be reminded that Bruno Cheyrou scored Liverpool's last winner at Chelsea).
    Mascherano was a tiger in midfield, Alonso provided poise in a crowded & hectic battle. However, the real star was Carragher; he was immense. At the risk of causing uproar amongst my fellow Liverpudlians, I've long felt that Carra displays greater leadership qualities than Gerrard. The current captain certainly inspires & motivates like few others on the world stage. However, that isn't necessarily leadership itself.
    Title contenders? Probably, but it would be daft to go any further than that in late October. What can be said with certainty is that this is the strongest squad we've had since 1990.

  • Comment number 14.

    Credit to Scholari for graciousness in defeat (as well as in previous victories). It seems that, with big Phil in charge, Chelsea will regain some of the respect lost under a previous manager.

    Great result for us today especially with the Mancs drawing yesterday. Still too early to pronounce us as anything more than challengers.

  • Comment number 15.

    Put your clocks back Phil, there's a good lad ;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    Great win but the games against Pompey, (rejuvenated) Spurs, West Brom in the coming weeks will as much if not more about Pools chances this season. In the past, these have been the banana skins. 6 Points in the Big Four league so far. Impressive. No tough games ahead until we meet Hull in early December!

  • Comment number 17.

    Carra was awesome
    Mascherano was awesome

    I think Chelsea will win the league but we were fantastic today

    I am just going to enjoy it for now


    YNWA

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm sorry, but at a time of year that has Hull in the top 3, I can't get too concerned about this result. As a United supporter, this is what I hoped would happen. 3 points lost by Chelsea, and no real worry that Liverpool banked 3 points themselves, because they will inevitably slip up somewhere.
    Same way I wasn't concerned about Arsenal last year....

  • Comment number 19.

    Very good article Phil. Being a liverpool supporter I'm over the moon. Beating Manchester United and Chelsea early in the season, being unbeaten in all competitions and coming back from behind to win four times this season so far shows Liverpool means business this season. I agree with you on Torres and Gerrard being the backbone of the squad and their absenteism for a longer period might disrupt liverpool's title aspiration. As we can see, Liverpool is no longer an one-man army. Carragher, Mascherano, Kuyt and Alonso are as equally important as Torres and Gerrard to the squad. This is Benitez's best chance to break the Jigzaw of EPL. As you rightly said Liverpool's strength and depth of quality is proven again and again. Coming back from behind and winning once is lucky. You must be gritty and determined to do it four times. Reds deserve to win the title for their never say die spirit and determination. YNWA.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Truth Is Out There - yes we will slip up at some point this season, which is why beating the likes of Chelsea and Utd are so important.

    Saying that, how many times have Utd 'slipped up' so far? You will equally slip up again.

    The arrogance of some people.....

  • Comment number 21.

    Not enough balance as per usual with your articles Phil. Getting carried away with things inorder to support your case. It was a good performance by Liverpool, but the same style as ever and as ever, the defending was a team effort. Not just Carragher and Mascherano. There was some great defending through out the whole team and no one. There seems to be an overwhelming implication from the press that there's been major change at Liverpool from Benitez which has put them in the title race. Having watched Liverpool for the last 5 years consistently, it's clear to me, that they've not changed tactics one single bit. I'm glad you've 'learned something new' about Liverpool, hopefully you can stop harping on about Benitez's tactics and managerial style as he's shown it can win the hardest of matches in the premier league.

    And going back to a previous article, Benitez has always wanted to win the premiership and always put out a team capable of winning each match when there's been something to play for. He has and always has had a core team which when fully fit will play as often as possible. And as displayed today and against united, there are no players Liverpool must have in their starting line up to win a premiership match.

    All in all, Benitez knows what he's doing and I think you should have given this more consideration in times gone by, when just because Liverpool weren't getting the results, it was not down to the decisions of Benitez.

  • Comment number 22.

    Fantastic result (for the premiership) - its going to be the same "big 4" at the end of the season, but the exciting thing is - in which order.

    Liverpool are going to slip up, Arsenal are going to take advantage at sometime (but come February probably slip up, again due to lack of squad depth - but then being underdogs suites us and Wenger might make good buys in January) - and everyone knows how the Chelsea Machine grinds out results and Man U have a knack of getting momentum in the new year.

    Last season the top 3 were separated by 4 points, this season, I think the top 4 will be separated by less (as long as Liverpool fans don't get too carried away, and as long as Rafa doesn't get distracted by the cups)

  • Comment number 23.

    Shoots --
    of course United have slipped up this season. We just did that yesterday, in fact.
    The difference is that we have a recent history of stringing many good games together, while you do not. It's not arrogance at all. People are very excited about your result today, and I would be to. It's fantastic result. But to throw you in to the title mix because of it is too much too soon.
    Your squad does not have the strength nor the depth to play out the season, and you have no more of a reason to believe you will keep your current position on the table than does a Hull supporter.

  • Comment number 24.

    pool man paul in Ireland. As a Liverpool fan how can you can have 'friends' that are man u fans? It is totally unthinkable! :-)))) Great result today but definitely early days. We always drop points to stupid teams and that is what the mancs, Chelsea and Arsenal very rarely do. I mean what on earth were we doing being behind to Wigan at Anfield? That situation would never have arisen in the glory days. Wigan were playing in the Cheshire League I think it was when I was a kid! Not scoring goals at Anfield. We must address this stupidity asap if we are to be serious challengers for the title!

  • Comment number 25.

    October has not finished - liverpool are playing well yes, they've beaten united and chelski but so what! they've beaten them before there problem has always been consistency and the ability to play the likes of portsmouth, blackburn etc after the good wins against the bigger clubs and put in the same performance.

    You also have to remember they have no experience of title run ins, not only not having won the thing since 1990 they've never challenged for it. The experience of united and chelsea is far more valuable.

    the title really starts next year and it handed out in may, it's therefore completely rediculous to start talking about anyone possibly winning it.

    its ironic that keane is crap with torres but as soon as he's out liverpool look a far better team, reminds me of the united days with van nistelroy in that everything went through him ie totally one dimensional. liverpool are better without torres which is one reason why i think they wont finish in the top 2. if gerrard gets injured they've had it!

  • Comment number 26.

    "23. At 10:39pm on 26 Oct 2008, The Truth Is Out There wrote:
    Shoots --
    of course United have slipped up this season. We just did that yesterday, in fact.
    The difference is that we have a recent history of stringing many good games together, while you do not. It's not arrogance at all. People are very excited about your result today, and I would be to. It's fantastic result. But to throw you in to the title mix because of it is too much too soon.
    Your squad does not have the strength nor the depth to play out the season, and you have no more of a reason to believe you will keep your current position on the table than does a Hull supporter."

    The truth is out there. So are English lessons...

  • Comment number 27.

    Comment number 23...Usual arrogant rubbish from united fans. A 'recent history of stringing many games together'...you need look no further than last season, how many games did liverpool loose last season? Basically all the non scousers are really afraid of what the pool are doing this season, and they should be.

  • Comment number 28.

    lol God how ye make me laugh ! Liverpool have been riding there luck for months now, but dont worry "What comes around goes around" & i hope all there luck runs out when it hurts the most! They Went to Stamford Bridge today, got an OG and only other chance was fashioned from a set piece! Then they decided to defend with 11 men. Title contenders - I dont think so ladies lol

  • Comment number 29.

    great victory for Liverpool. Rafa's superior tactical mind is what truly separated the teams.

    For what was another well contested game of football between two rival teams, the only thing that marred it was the horrible chanting from the stands again. To the tune of 'We won it five times' Chelsea supporters once again were chanting ' At Hillsborough you killed your own fans', as they did last year when I visited Stamford Bridge

    I mentioned this last year on the BBC blogs when Liverpool played Chelsea, and again it still hasn't been mentioned by the press. Enough is enough, why does the FA, BBC and the rest of the press tolerate these disgusting chants from the Chelsea supporters or are they simply ignoring them intentionally? If racial chants are not tolerated, and highlighted so much in the press, how can it be acceptable that Liverpool fans are labelled murders. What disrespect does this first and foremost show to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy?

    Truly unacceptable, and to the BBC... please do your job and highlight it or investigate it if you do not believe me!

  • Comment number 30.

    There is a devilish streak this season about L'pool's resilience and fortitude. Whether two goals down or a goal up, the players rev themselves up (in a basketball term) for 'a full court press'. And this is magnificiently carried out for each and every minute of the game.

    One might say that victory came about on the back of a deflection. But if one looks at the chances that came the way of both teams, the score line would have been 1-3.

    But L'pool should not get carried away. Still very early days. The spoilers like the Boltons and West Hams like play a major part.

    But until the next game, let's bask in the glory of the proverbial ' we came, we conquered....and we remain humble'.

  • Comment number 31.

    Portsmouth and Spurs are typical tricky games for Liverpool - yes the results against United and Chelsea are great, but it's these sort of games that have tended to ruin Liverpool

    a touch of the old "ugly 1-0 when you're not playing well" would be nice

  • Comment number 32.

    carragher was class 2day. Some Chelsea fan was slagging him off on phils article earlier in the week saying anelka would outplay him! I don't think so after today game carra was class. Glad alonso hasn't left us he's played so well this season, and with gerrard and masco along side him and torres and keane partnership with more to come I can't complain!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Paul Galvin - The goal Liverpool scored was deflected - yes...but we had to be attacking Chelsea to get it. The only other chance was a set piece??? I don't know what game you were watching...but apart from LFC hitting the post; Gerard had a shot tipped over and Kuyt just missed the target with Cech beaten. Chelsea didn't even trouble Reina...so the win was deserved.

    To all the other United fans who have posted on this blog about how LFC will lose to lesser teams and therefore not challenge for the title...you know what...as an LFC supporter...you're right on one thing...we will lose to smaller teams. But so will Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal.

    The reason why you should be worried is that the difference in the past few seasons between LFC being in the title hunt and not...has been the results against the other 'big' three teams. If you look at last season...if Liverpool had taken the majority of points against Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal...take those points off the three and put them on to LFC's tally...we'd have won the title. Ominously we are on our way to doing that this season!

    This year we are going to be a lot closer to the title...perhaps we may not win it...but we'll give the other teams a good run for their money. My view...we will win the title...but hey I'm a biased LFC supporter.

  • Comment number 34.

    "They will be close, certainly better than the 4th they have managed in the last few seasons"

    Or the last one season, even.

  • Comment number 35.

    Rafa's best signing this summer?

    Sammy Lee.

    The difference between this seasons results, so far, and results over the last few years, is that Liverpool are winning games they would previously have drawn. I put that down to Lee and his work. Whatever it is he's brought to the club, wether it's him playing Bad Cop to Rafa's Good Cop, or what, it appears to be working.

  • Comment number 36.

    Phil I think they are beginning to look like Rafa's Valencia team

    People can we stop calling them 'pool', don't know where this originated

  • Comment number 37.

    i really dont understand why mascherano gets praised all the time. he is a central midfielder playing at the top level of the game and he cant pass the ball. u look at a CM and the most important attribute is passing, and he cant. Alonso is such a better player, he ran the game today and also against athletico in champions league. PLUS mascherano is stupid gettin booked for givin out to refs, all the time. today he tried to get ashley cole (who i hate) sent off which is really just embarrassing...

    Carragher was unbelieveable today, the best natural defender in the world.

    delighted with the win but just like benitez wont get too carried away just yet

  • Comment number 38.

    Chelsea were ok. Sort of. Liverpool got the luck of the deflection all right, but Chelsea must reflect on how Xavi got such a clean chance to deliver that fateful hit. I thought their defence was a bit thin around that ball. Upfront their sallies to get the equiliser were tentative throughout. Kalou is an offside beauty. Most of the time he is flagged offside, and when he does escape that his shot is off the target. That pained grimmace he displays, in lieu of a goal is becoming too much of a regularity. He was rightly substituted, but the coach did not have enough in his bag. The only two strikers who are incicsive in the box, are on the injury list. It may be too much to expect goals from the likes of A. Cole but that is precisely the purpose why he was there in the scheme of things. That he missed it, only points to the fatalistic certainty that Chelsea were going to lose their proud unbeaten record at the Bridge. Fluke or design Liverpool deserve their win. Alonso did smack a fine ball goal ward. Chelsea didn't manage to do so once in the entire match.
    Chelsea do need to go in for a quality striker in the upcoming transfer window. Strikers that are explsive and accurate in the box. The likes of Nistelrooy, Kaka, Ronaldo are goal poachers that easily come to mind. Chelsea need something like that or close. There are some second tier strikers who may be in the shopping window, like Amr Zaki, Santa Cruz, Heskey et al. Chelsea did let Robinho slip out of their grasp, and earlier they released Aryen Robbins, and Real Madrid were smart enough to realise his value. Presently MU seem to be putting Tevez out to grass. He could be a very valuable asset.

  • Comment number 39.

    On current form Liverpool are capable of winning their next 8 PL games.

    Portsmouth (h)
    Tottenham (a)
    West Brom (h)
    Bolton (a)
    Fulham (h)
    West Ham (h)
    Blackburn (a)
    Hull (h)

    If Liverpool can get to the Arsenal game with 20+ points from these 8 games, they would be in the driving seat...

    As a sidenote - whenever a side has ended up with 90+ points they have always won the title - and at the moment Liverpool are the only team in the prem on course for that feat...

  • Comment number 40.

    on current form liverpool are capable of winning the next 8 pl games??

    on current form of lucky goals, tenacious work, come from behind wins...dont think this luck will last long.
    Yes they are a different side this year... on the face and workaholic side that is grinding out victories...not dominating play....
    i seriously dont see them winning the league in this manner... luck will run out.

  • Comment number 41.

    I've seen a few people over the weeks talk about Liverpool slipping later on; one United mate today said something similar to the above that he was happy about the result "because Liverpool always drop points after Christmas". I'd invite everyone to look at the record the last few years in the new year. It was not then that Liverpool dropped points, it was in October/November.

    Others who should also check include those like major-major-major. Liverpool should finish better than the 4th they have the last few years? Is this the same Liverpool who finished 3rd in 2005-6 & 2006-7?

  • Comment number 42.

    I would call the article fair and that's kudos to Phil. It's good to see the media 'finally' acknowledging the vital role Kuyt, Riera and the team as a whole play in our results. It is also good to see Rafa being given cognizance of a very important place he has in tactical footballing history. The man's a genius, period.

    To the skeptics, and I know these are many, I'd like to say have a re-look at the records we keep confounding this season. We're traditionally slow starters; we don't win after the international break; we're a two-man team; we can't score at the Bridge; we outplay Man U but lose to them, etc. The records continue to tumble. We even scored in the first half this time!

    This is not to say that we've already won the league. I'll go with the gaffer and propose cautious optimism, but I'll say we're making statements of intent in the right direction.

    This is also not to take anything away from a Chelsea team I do admire. In honesty, Chelsea, esp. since the Mourinho era, is the team that is most similar to us. They pride themselves on defensive acumen, a solid midfield and compact formation moving forward. They're also relentless in their pursuit of goal and don't mind mixing attractive soccer with grinding ability. They're also a team run by seemingly uptight, control freaks, who value perfectionism and teamwork to individual accolades. The team didn't play half bad and they had their tactics right. However, they were out-thought and out-fought, and it just wasn't their day.

    The Blues WILL bounce back and there shouldn't be any doubt about that. They have a first class tactician and it was a good intro into English football for the much-travelled.

    PS: For me, the highlight of the match wasn't just our victory over the Blues, but the fascinating tactical battles fought at two levels: 1) Between two premier tacticians in world football, Rafa and Scolari - I must admit my stomach kept rumbling in anticipation of this one! and, 2) In the midfield, where stats showed the time of possession in this arena was about 43% (Supersport)!


  • Comment number 43.

    It's going to be neck-and-neck all season between the current top 2, I can feel it. But on the basis of this weekend's display against West Ham, Arsenal are still very much in it as well.

    Will be interesting to see which competition Rafa prioritises later in the season, when players start to get injured/tired and rotation becomes a matter of necessity rather than habit.

  • Comment number 44.

    More Liverpool bias from Mr. McNulty. You will look very foolish at the end of the season. October tables mean nothing.

    I remember Norwich being top at this time some years ago. And it was a case of canary down a coal mine in May, when they went down!

    A good win (one win!) for Liverpool, but does it mean a title challenge? The top teams have yet to find their feet. I'd rather put money on Hull finishing above the reds! Would pay off my mortgage.

    You'd be very unwise to bet against Man U and Chelsea being the top two again in May.

  • Comment number 45.

    Currently in dreamland, can we do it this season?? A masterful performance yesterday, there was only one team that was going to score in the 2nd half. You have blogged your doubts Phil, but even you have to admit that our challenge for the title should have more bite this season. Still, early days and lets see how the Reds can move on from here, 3 points against Portsmouth will help.

  • Comment number 46.

    To poster 44...of course tables mean nothing in October, but that does not mean you cannot study them (and results) and draw some early conclusions.

    This was an outstanding result and performance by Liverpool against a team most experts believe will be champions at the end of the season.

    Liverpool are unbeaten and look a very good team at present. They look in better shape to mount a long-term title challenge that in recent seasons.

    I have not said they will win the league and Liverpool fans have been very realistic in their responses on this blog so far.

    As for a previous poster questioning why Mascherano is praised - I must have missed something. He is outstanding.

    He cleaned out so many threatening Chelsea moments yesterday and, when he keeps it simple, is as good a holding midfield player as there is.

    I should add though, he let himself down very badly by rushing to the referee to try and get Ashley Cole sent off. It was rather pathetic and deserved his booking from Howard Webb.

    He should have learned his lesson from Manchester United last season and it was one of very few sour notes from this Liverpool display.

  • Comment number 47.

    Fantastic result for Liverpool. Yes the goal had an element of luck but we had chances to increase that lead and there was nothing lucky about our 2nd half display. It was a deserved victory and I doubt Man U, Chelsea or Arsenal fans would be complaining if they were in our position.

    Buts let keep Benitez's mantra in mind. Liverpool are in a fantastic position but it is only October. We need to keep focused, calm and take each match as it comes. We need to keep the momentum up starting with Portsmouth.

    We may not win the league but it looks like it will be a damn good effort.

  • Comment number 48.

    Liverpool were fortunate to go in at half time 1-0 up, but they were the better side 2nd half, so through gritted chelsea teeth, I have to say it was a great performance by them. Very early days, but for me Liverpool are definately going to be in the race at the end of the season and it could well be that all of the so called 'top four' are in with a realistic shout this year. For Chelsea, despite Kenyon saying no more players in January, without Drogba, they look desperately short of quality up front.

  • Comment number 49.

    An excellent result for Liverpool yesteray. The whole squad seemed to have approched this game with a new found professionalism. RB had a plan, everyone knew what the plan was and everyone stuck to that plan. To go to Stamford Bridge, not a good ground for results when you are Liverpool, and restrict a free flowing attacking team as Chelsea have proved to be this season is a marvelous achievement.

    I thought Alonso had another good game and seems to be getting back to his best again after the summers will he go or wont he go. Perhaps its given him the kick up the bum he needed.

    If, and it is a BIG if, we pproach all of our games with the same determination then perhaps we won't see another Stoke result this season. If we don't see another Stoke result then perhaps, come the end of the season we are still in the mix. But if we do see another Stoke result then we will fade.

    Great start to the season...........let the hard work continue!!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Chelsea were poor- they're front 3 were awful. Why Malouda is even a professional footballer I have no idea- what does he do? Chelsea weren't good enough to break down Liverpool, whose game plan worked to a t- frustrate chelsea, keep it tight, nick a goal. I still don't think either side's squad will be good enough to beat Uniteds'.

  • Comment number 51.

    All you lads who posted rubbish up here on Thursday and Friday, and how liverpool sahould sacjk Benitez and blah blah blah.... Apologies here PLEASE....!!!
    Come on you reds!!

  • Comment number 52.

    The lampard - gerrard debate should now be over... Point proven yesterday, same as every time we face chelsea...

  • Comment number 53.

    Dissapointing result for Chelsea but the home record had to go sometime and perhaps it's a useful time to take stock. As said Chelsea do look a little light upfront with Anelka who will do it in the run of the mill matches. The lack of wide penetration yesterday was of more concern as it has been since the departure of Arjen Robben. The best response will be to get 3 points at Hull and go aon a decent run of results until Christmas and beyond.

    Fair play to Liverpool who got their goal and sat on it and even could have grabbed a second. It had shades of the last time they did this under Houllier. Whether they will still be in the mix come march/april depends on their ability to play with intensity in the more humdrum matches which come thick and fast. Winning them by a goal /coming from behind is very energy sapping and won't work once the current wave of enthusiasm has died down. Whilst their results thus far have impressed their performances have not always-so far....

  • Comment number 54.

    As a Liverpool fan, here is my take:

    1. Liverpool have just done what no other Premiership team has done for four years - beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. This is a feat worthy of excitement and celebration. It is also a compliment to Chelsea and deserves acknowledgement from Manchester Utd and Arsenal supporters.

    2. Although it is far too early to talk about the title, and I don't think many genuine Liverpool fans are, it is encouraging and exciting to know that there's a chance - albeit a slim one at this stage. By this stage of the season, Liverpool fans have normally had a reality check - this year at the very worst this reality check has been postponed. And who knows, maybe indefinitely.

    3. One other point to a previous poster: Alonso controlled the game so well because Mascherano provided him with the protection he needed. The boy is class.

    The big danger now, as many have said, is getting up for the 'lesser' teams who will put 10 men behind the ball at Anfield.

    Whatever happens, yesterday's result has breathed life into the season.

  • Comment number 55.

    Over the last 15 years I have heard Liverpool fans talk about winning the title about 4 or 5 times.

    This is the only time I have ever bothered to listen because your previous teams have been laughable.

    You still don't have a strong enough squad to win the title though.

    Well done on your good start (you had a good start last year too) but unless both Chelsea or Man Utd have major injury crisises or all become average players overnight then 3rd is the best you will finish.

    It will be a two horse race between the two best teams in the land. You have taken big steps foward over the last couple of years but still won't last the distance.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but look at it this way: How many non-Liverpool fans would bet their hard earned cash on Liverpool being top after 38 games? Not many.

    (A great weekend of football though...was loving MOTD2!)

  • Comment number 56.

    @ comment 28. That's what happens when you're away against one of the best teams in the world. You don't get many chances.

  • Comment number 57.

    Firstly congratulations to liverpool on a truly outstanding victory against a formidable chelsea team and of course their home record.

    Let us bask in this glory until wednesday when another 3 points is much needed against portsmouth.........

    point 46, phil mcnulty

    im glad you raised the counter in favour of mascherano. There is no better midfielder of his type playing the game today. The petulance in his game will end, im sure rafa will see to that.

    Without makalele, chelsea do not have anyone who can do the dogged running that masch does. he was chelsea player of the season when they won their titles. he is missed.

    YNWA

  • Comment number 58.

    Liverpool have now beaten Manchester United and Chelsea without Fernando Torres in their starting line-up, which is a real sign of strength.

    I am not sure, as one poster asks, whether you would get too many Liverpool fans going out this morning and putting their shirt on them winning the title, but I bet they are more optimistic today than they were yesterday morning.

    Just one point to all those who berated me on Friday for suggesting this game would be a real measure of how far Liverpool could go.

    Do you still feel like that now? If you do, I suspect you are in the minority.

    What I will say is that the response of most Liverpool fans on the blog so far has been one of measured optimism - which is absolutely spot on.

  • Comment number 59.

    'the truth out there' says liverpool will slip somewhere as arsenal did last year and ManU will win. he is not disturbed by the position of Hull. Well Manu will never slip? Chelsea will never slip? Over the years the difference between between Manu and liverpool has not been more than 6 points. These are points we lost to them. Manu will slip again at old trafford to the KOP and we shall be above you. the 20th PL cup will be at Anfield. We have a magnificeint squad. Injured players have equal good subs

  • Comment number 60.

    Great win for Liverpool, just need to make sure we don't have a hangover performance against Pompy on Wednesday like Stoke after the Utd win.

    Just want to say how glad I am Alonso did not leave this summer, he has been the best player so far this season. Back to his best!

  • Comment number 61.

    Thank goodness they didn't sign Barry and transfer Xavi in the offseason - what was that about? Reds still could do with two proper full backs, but other than that the team looks great.

  • Comment number 62.

    Classic over-reaction to a very average game of football.

    Liverpool beat an under-strength Chelsea side by scoring a goal owed almost entirely to luck and then did what they have always been able to do - hung on for dear life by defending in numbers.

    They did the same againts Man Utd (an own goal and a mis-hit shot from a cross by Babel).

    Let's keep things in perspective; Liverpool are still well behind Chelsea & United in terms of quality of first team, depth of squad and manager competence.

  • Comment number 63.

    manredsox

    a contradiction in terms

    if liverpool beat an "understrength" chelsea as you put it, where is there strength in depth and manager competence when it matters most?

    Average game my foot, are u for real?

    this was an edgy battle with high stakes tactical and individual battles.

    A truly absorbing contest

  • Comment number 64.

    I seem to remember Phil McNulty blogging a few weeks ago, after Liverpool beat Sunderland 1-0, about how Liverpool are going to have to rely on Torres if they are to have a chance of winning the league this year... The implication being that, as players inevitably pick up injuries over the season, this would count Liv out in the long haul.

    I replied: of course we rely on Torres, but no more than we do on errard, Carragher, Alonso, Mascherano, Kyut, or Riena. We do have a chance this year, but it is because we have the best squad we have had for nearly twenty years.

    You ready to accept that you were wrong on this one yet Phil?

  • Comment number 65.

    Yep, the key thing is not to succumb to the pressure that this result has brought on the team by overdoing expectations. Otherwise we'll get a lashing from Portsmouth or even Hull. We've been behind to Boro' and Wigan this season and 2-0 down to City, which doesn't happen every year either.

    The most important thing to take from this game was the way we passed the ball out of defence through Alonso, Riera, Gerrard and Mascherano, again and again and again. Need to keep that up and not go back to the hoof when Torres comes back.

    The bookies haven't changed their odds and, whilst a lot of blues have shown a bit of class on the boards, there definitely ought to have been more of them joining in the Kopites applause for a record that won't be beaten in my lifetime.

    But we're in it this year. Hopefully for a bit longer than we've been in it recently.

  • Comment number 66.

    manredsox wrote:
    Classic over-reaction to a very average game of football.

    Liverpool beat an under-strength Chelsea side by scoring a goal owed almost entirely to luck and then did what they have always been able to do - hung on for dear life by defending in numbers.

    They did the same againts Man Utd (an own goal and a mis-hit shot from a cross by Babel).

    Let's keep things in perspective; Liverpool are still well behind Chelsea & United in terms of quality of first team, depth of squad and manager competence.

    Hmmm, I guess Alonso's free kick against the post was part of the Reds' hanging on for dear life. And the Babel shot that went a couple of feet past the post. After nine games as club manager for the first time in five years Scolari must be a better manager than Rafa, who's only won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and Spanish league.

    They've beaten United, won at Everton, ended Chelsea's 4 1/2 year home unbeaten streak, are undefeated on the three fronts they've played this year and have been without Torres and Gerrard for part of the season.

    Yup, Liverpool are rubbish.

  • Comment number 67.

    Liverpool are not gonna win it this season, their squad has too little depth in quality. Where as united and chelsea have a lot more depth of quality in their squads.

  • Comment number 68.

    hendero

    There is nothing you can do about Utd supporters in Liverpool threads other than ignore them. The Indie made the following note to Michel "England are rubbish because the Premership have too many foreigners" Platini.

    'There were more English players than foreigners in the game, and it was a better game than any CL game so far this season'

    Not quite sure which hand he was counting on, mind . . .

  • Comment number 69.

    Let's put a few things into perspective after the Man U and Chelsea results this season, no doubt these results are a rush of adrenalin to any loyal LFC supporter, both were well contested games, both gave the according result as to how well we played, but taking all things into consideration both these teams played with a determination to get a result out of Liverpool which in the past four of five seasons has almost been a fore gone conclusion. This has shaped the tactics of both teams in both games, but this season the strength of the Liverpool armour is not that easily dented. United and Chelsea both expected a win. Both were wrong. Sammy Lees's introduction to the "old boot room" mentality of Liverpool has had a major impact on the outlook of the team.

    The likes of United and Chelsea do not fear meeting us anymore hence the false sense of security they might of had before this seasons games against us at Anfield and our biggest test of the season so far, the fortress of Stanford Bridge respectively. When you pull on that jersey...it has to mean something and I think Sammy has instilled that in a few players this year and that is the difference he is making to the team.

    I know it's early days yet but I like the look of it so far, nearly a quarter of the season gone and we look good. How many seasons in the last twenty years (well eighteen) have we seen United 'grinding' out results and winning the premiership, the grit and determination is back at Anfield and I think that is what has been missing since the departure of Kenny Dalglish. The Greame Souness era ended a dominant spell that Liverpool are just starting to recover from and long may the ascendancy continue. A lot of people seem to forget how long United went without a first placing in the top flight. A lot of people don't want to remember how close Sir Alex was to losing his job in the late eighties. My hopes are in the the immortal words of a fellow Derry man even though he was a one hit wonder...THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER.

    I love my team and I love to watch football as much as I can no matter who is playing. I'm just glad to see a Liverpool team playing with the heart of old and grinding out results when it counts, it has been a few years since I've had anything to shout about league wise....but....C'MON THE REDS

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm a liverpool fan and i was made up yesterday, but now we have to look forward to Portsmouth. After beating United we went on to draw against Stoke at Home, giving 2 points straight back to United and Chelsea and Arsenal. We cannot afford to keep doing this if we want to win the title. This is the problem we have to over come imediately. United Chelsea and Arsenal are all capable of putting a long winning run together and we are only 3 points clear.

  • Comment number 71.

    bb ball chris

    "Liverpool are not gonna win it this season, their squad has too little depth in quality. Where as united and chelsea have a lot more depth of quality in their squads."

    A moronic quote with no justification. I suggest you re-assess and/or back up that with some facts.

    Alternatively dont bother putting idiotic statements on this blog. The latter preferably.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well played liverpool, as a chelsea fan i would say liverpool played with alot more spirit, grit and determination. As for the record at home, i will leave everyone a quote that sums up this awesome record, 'records are set to be broken'.

  • Comment number 73.

    Fair play, Liverpool have ended Chelsea's four-year home record. Regrettably I would rather have watched the Eastenders Omnibus than this game. At least Arsenal, Chelsea and United give it a go. It seems Liverpool enjoy playing a flat back ten. If that wins them the league, good luck to them. Lets just hope not to many of their games are televised though.

  • Comment number 74.

    As the song goes:

    It's a long long way to Tipperary...

  • Comment number 75.

    Quite simply Liverpool deserved to win yesterday. The contest was even with both defences playing well and both midfields equal. The ONLY difference between the two teams was Kalou, Anelka and Malouda.
    Whenever Chelsea created time or space for these woeful individuals they wasted it. The sooner Drogba and Joe Cole return can't be soon enough.....and despite Kenyon claiming we will not be spending in January we must bring in a third top class striker otherwise in tight tactical matches (such as yesterday and Roma) we could be found wanting.

  • Comment number 76.

    feer not all anti-liverpoolites (of whom i am one - its the arrogance and self loving of the fans that does it for me!) they will slip up at some stage this season. torres is not as important for the team as gerrard.

    torres will not carry the team through a rubbis away performance at the likes of bolton/west brom like gerrard does, invariabley scoring a rasping 30 yard drive in the closing stages to secure the draw/win!

    wait for the 3 to 4 game stretch when gerrard has picked up a knock to see how they cope - that is when, i am sure, their title aspirations will all but evaporate.

    having said that, great result at the bridge. happy they done chelsea over!

  • Comment number 77.

    All these ignorant people are putting down Liverpools performance yesterday,but dont mention the fact that Chelsea didnt make Reina pull of any proper saves with them being the home side and Chelsea resorted to Bolton tactics which Scholari acknowleged, liverpool may not win the title but they have won at Sunderland away Everton away Chelsea away Man City and drawn with Villa which is 13 points against tough away Opponents and who is to say that United and Chelsea wont slip ala Man Utd drawing at a poor Everton who nearly won the game,so anything is possible at this stage.Im just glad the premiership is not going the obvious route at the moment

  • Comment number 78.

    Quote: Post number 25 posted above: Liverpool play better without torres. Why do some fool bother even posting this crap. I think you will find, liverpool beat Mancity and Everton because of the goals from torres. Torres is a masterclass at liverpool and yes they can string performances without him, but when they need a goal, hes the player to get them. Its early season yet and when keane finds proper form it will all come together. cmon the pool.

  • Comment number 79.

    hotcrossbunn - more people will agree with his statement than with yours. Most Liverpool fans would agree too. Liverpool are currently playing really well but do not have as good a squad as the Man Utd or Chelsea. Don't get angry about it - deal with it.

  • Comment number 80.

    Great result - still trying not to get my hopes up too high but there's a lot of reasons to be positive.

    Couple of random predictions:

    Looking at upcoming fixtures I think there's a serious possibility that either Arsenal or Man Utd will be effectively out of the title race by early December.

    Babel to make a significant goalscoring contribution after Christmas, playing down the middle.

  • Comment number 81.

    bb ball chris & all the other ManU and Chelsea bloggers so far

    "Liverpool are not gonna win it this season, their squad has too little depth in quality. Where as united and chelsea have a lot more depth of quality in their squads"

    I totally agree with hotcrossbun, and wish to add - if Chelsea's squad is so much better in depth, where was their "quality in depth" yesterday. I have seen a lot of comments about how they are missing Essien, Drogba, Cole, etc with injury. Well tough luck lads, injuries happen in football, and your squad showed just what "quality in depth" you actually have! And now that we have beaten you at home you can now be seen as mortal, I expect you to drop more points this season as teams now know you ar beatable.

    As for the manure fans out there, what was your excuse for the defeat at Anfield, Fergie moaning about refs not "protecting" your players as if they have the devine right!

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm surprised by Liverpool's consistency in the opening games. However, I'm not convinced it will last all season.

  • Comment number 83.

    #76 'feer not all anti-liverpoolites (of whom i am one - its the arrogance and self loving of the fans that does it for me!)'

    The Liverpool fans who recognised the incredible record Chelsea set (not lost) on Saturday with generous applause after most of Chelsea's own fans were on their way home?

    Are those the fans you mean?

  • Comment number 84.

    Well done Liverpool! It was good for Chelsea to lose that record at the bridge.

    Without that added pressure at the back of the mind about losing not just the game but the record can only be good for future games.

    Also the record had to go someday and its good that it went against a team like Liverpool rather than a fluke victory for some lesser club.

    As rightly pointed out by most LFC fans here, its still too early but does seem to promise at least a better fight if not an out and out title win.

    Someone posted earlier that Liverpool will win because they have proven that they can beat any team any where.

    Small modification: Liverpool even in the past could beat any team any where. If not they would not have won the Champions League a few years back. But to win the league, they have to beat any team any where ANYTIME. That has been the problem the last few seasons that they could not sustain that level of performance over a league season. They certainly look more capable this time around but its still only October.

    One other point, Chelsea desperately need a quality striker. Full credit to Liverpool but with one good striker available yesterday, the Chelsea midfield might have had a target for all their attacks.

  • Comment number 85.

    maxbotchmaster

    ha ha ha angry

    why would i be angry when we are top of the league and now have a squad to compete with man u and chelsea.

    As to whether more people agree with bball, im not so sure. Im sure lfc fans will now be confident in our squad to compete in all 4 comps.

    My comment in relation to bball was directed at the lack of justification, rather than just the comment itself. i like a good debate, but whats the point in making sweeping comments like that with nothing to back it up.

  • Comment number 86.

    I am a United fan and for the first time i was happy to see Liverpool win..umm well i do like to support Liverpool if MANUTD are of the compatition usualy in CL,that is i am a fan of Benites,i like Managers who has this factor of making his ordinary team look like a super star team.
    Wenger is the next i admire.
    It was good to see Liverpool win yesterday but without be rude i feel confident that MANUTD can still win the title even if they are 7 points behind Liverpool,it could have been harder for United to reach Chealsea than Liverpool,i think United and Chelsea are still the main fevourites but honestly i would love to see Liverpool win the title or Anrsenal,it gets boring when one two teams are winning it.
    Good luck to Liverpool,they deserved it.

  • Comment number 87.

    I'm still trying to think of a time when the league was won in October.

  • Comment number 88.

    alpeshgujjar

    a modicum of respect to you for that comment.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm still trying to think of a time when the league was won in October.

    ?????

    Leachy, the answer is that it wasn't and never will be.

    im still trying to find an example when a fellow learned liverpool supporter said that it was........

  • Comment number 90.

    I agree...you do have a squad to compete with the best...but I do not think that your squad is as strong as Man Utd's or Chelsea's and therefore I don't think you will last the distance. I can't be bothered to copy and paste the squads and go through it in detail (feel free to if you want) but it is clear that Utd and Chelsea have more strength in depth. You have a strong starting 11, a decent squad and are playing good football. You deserve to be top at this moment in time. Fair play.

    I think bball is as justified with his comments as you are with yours. It is his opinion of the strength of the squads. The only way of basing comments with fact would be to point to the league table. By doing this though Hull would have a better squad than Man Utd. We are all trying to look into the future here and we are doing that based on what we have seen so far and the players in each of the squads. You can't point to the league table and say you have a great squad...it is too early for that...we will know by the end of the season.

    I will repeat my point again - how many experts, neatrul fans ect would put their money on Liverpool? In my opinion not very many would. When you step back and take a look at it you will see that Liverpool are the form team but Man Utd and Chelsea have bigger and better squads and should come good over the course of 38 games.

  • Comment number 91.

    My lord, this shows McNulty at his absolute worst.

    One, it's dull. Soooo dull. 'Liverpool did well to beat Chelsea at home'. 'Liverpool are contenders'. Is anyone surprised by these two ideas? Does anyone care that McNulty is literally just regurgitating what every football fan thought at the end of 90 minutes?

    Two, he slips in some shockers (again) based on his very, very blinkered view of the game. Liverpool have not had an '...an outstanding start to the season'. There have been several games where they have been lucky to win, and haven't played well. Wigan, for example? The Standard Liege games, for example?

    I understand the mentality that at the minute they're 'winning ugly' or whatever cliche you want to call it, but I would argue that if they can play as poorly as they have at times this season, they will again at some point later. Will they be as lucky? We'll see. A team that's had to come from behind as many times as they've done cannot deserve to be called 'outstanding'.

    Then there's my personal favourite: 'the out-of-sorts Nicolas Anelka.' Ha. Oh dear. You just won't admit that maybe he isn't quite 'world-class', as you kept bleating on when he signed for Chelsea. As I said then, his record at the big clubs, except when he was just 17 at Arsenal, has been pretty shocking. But no, you said. Proven goalscorer. One of the best in the Premier League for last 10 years. You wouldn't even consider that there was a big difference between his performance for Bolton/Manchester City, and when he was at Liverpool/Real Madrid. And look what he's done at Chelsea! Set the world alight, eh Phil. I bet you argued he was playing out of position when he first went there. How's he doing now he's up front?

    It really, really upsets me that you have this position, this life as chief football writer for the Beeb, and this is what you produce with it. There were so many things you could've done with it, but no. You stuck with the bland, meaningless route you always pick.

    'Liverpool did well to beat Chelsea at home'. 'Liverpool are contenders'.

    Nice one.

  • Comment number 92.

    For those who want to criticise Liverpool's performance, did it not remind you of one or two given by Jose Mourinho's Chelsea?

    Superb organisation, ruthless defence and relentless pressure all under-pinned by a winning mentality.

    And I might add that is not a condemnation of the way Mourinho's Chelsea.

    Very impressive. Complaints are little more than churlish.

  • Comment number 93.

    Liverpool got it spot on. Performance was good. Were physical. Pressured Chelsea when on the ball. Played the ball out of defence well. Played some good stuff going forward. Basically they didn't allow Chelsea to get into their normal routine. Too many teams were beaten before they even kicked off at Chelsea. It has been the same at Anfield and Old Trafford in the past. Hopefully a few more teams at the Bridge will show the same beleif and guts that Liverpool did yesterday.

  • Comment number 94.

    Time for me to eat humble pie. I couldn't see anything but a Chelsea win on friday but have to say congrats to liverpool and well played. They deserved it.

    Hopefully Chelsea's home record will cumble now....

  • Comment number 95.

    Great article Phil - balanced and fair.

    As a Chelsea fan, i'm gutted about losing the record but we must pay credit to Liverpool. A great score-and-protect display which reminds me of us under Mourinho.

    We ran out of ideas and must admit that (on the day) we couldn't break them down. Anelka is so frustrating!!

    I still feel confident for the league, although am more nervous about Hull away then I thought I would be a few months ago!

    P.S. Gerrard's interview on MOTD2 was excellent, true professional.


  • Comment number 96.

    fair comments matchbox

    Other than the first para, i do not agree with most of it but therein lies the nature of a debate.

    If it was based upon last season, then i would agree with you on the subsequent 2 paras to a point, but there have been some prudent additions to the squad this season by rafa and time will tell whether we can nowtruly compete with man u and chelsea this season...............

    my opinion is that player for player we are closer than you perhaps think

    it will be an interesting season
    come what may and may the best squad win

  • Comment number 97.

    Interesting yet predictable response by Mcnulty.

    I said after your early season blog about Liverpool contending for the title this year, that the games against Utd and Chelsea early in the season would indicate our title intentions. I'm glad the boys proved me right.

    That then was a predictable and on the fence blog and this isn't much different.

    Liverpool fans have known since Benitez became manager and performed the wonders in the first season that he was a special manager and he is building a squad that is capable of competing.

    Our major frustrations, that unfortunately for some Liverpool fans spill out into ludicrous sounding statements that make us look bitter, is that we have had to witness a squad, players and manager with the potential to mount a title challenge and failing by Christmas to keep up with Man Utd and Chelsea.

    As I said in my comment to your early season blog if Liverpool last year had beaten Utd twice instead of losing we would have finished 1 point ahead of them. 2 games created the 11 point gap that Liverpool critics jumped on the bandwagon about.

    There is only one disappointing thing about the result on Sunday, and that is that Liverpool had to shatter a 86 game record before anybody would give the team and the manager the credit they really deserve.

    I sincerely hope now that we are top we can stay there till the end of the season.

  • Comment number 98.

    It was interesting to hear Benitez keep switching focus to Portsmouth in his post-match briefing.

    He knows the win against Manchester United was followed up by a draw against Stoke, albeit an unlucky one.

    Benitez will not want the win at Chelsea wasted, to a certain extent, by not beating Portsmouth.

    And, even without Harry Redknapp, they will be dangerous opponents. They were desperately unlucky against Fulham and Peter Crouch will want to make an impact.

  • Comment number 99.

    "come what may and may the best squad win"

    Agree. Since I have started watching football the best team have always won the league. Whoever wins it will deserve the crown. Should be exciting stuff.

    One of the funny things is that when a team wins the league they are only the best team in the country for the summer...by the time the season starts again then the debate hots up again!

    Don't wanna open up a can of worms but it will be interesting to see Rafa's team selections if you are in the title race and later stages of the champions league with a month to go. I honestly think he has focused on Europe more than The Prem in the last couple of years (I think this can't be helped...a manager has to make decisions one way or the other and you have been out of the title run in recently)...but this year you may find he goes all out for The Prem if that situation arises. If that were to occur do you think most Liverpool fans would want his strongest team put out for league matches?

  • Comment number 100.

    I am hoping Chelsea losing this record will prove a blessing in disguise. The whole 'unbeaten at home' hype has been one massive red herring, and created a false impression that somehow we do well at the 'Bridge'. The fact is that our home form over the last two seasons has cost us the premiership. The last time we won the premiership we won 18 games at home and drew 1, the last two seasons we have drawn 7 games at home and already this season we have dropped points in three home games. Chelsea need to get their home in order

 

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