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Benitez relishes vital victory

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Phil McNulty | 23:14 UK time, Sunday, 1 February 2009

Rafael Benitez looked as satisfied as any man would after recording a major triumph on the pitch and moving closer to securing a significant victory off it.

Indeed, Benitez was so pleased with Liverpool's victory against Chelsea - a win that re-ignited hopes of a first title since 1990 - that he even happily refused to discuss his new contract.

Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were at Anfield, although pointedly sitting well apart, to broker a deal on the proposed four-and-a-half year extension to Benitez's Anfield tenure.


And as Anfield whispers grew that a revamped package handing him increased control of transfers would be much more to the Spaniard's liking, Benitez strengthened his hand by delivering a win that revived Liverpool's faltering campaign and dealt Chelsea's own ambitions a potentially fatal blow.

Benitez brushed off talk of Robbie Keane's continued exclusion and questions about that contentious contract with small but effective repetitions: "I am enjoying today."

And enjoying it he was - which was in sharp contrast to the sad and somewhat resigned demeanour of Chelsea counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari as he picked over a display that suggested he may just have arrived at Stamford Bridge at precisely the wrong time.

Benitez needed this win, with growing fan unrest (hardly open rebellion but certainly more open questioning) about his approach fuelled by Liverpool's lull in form following his attack on Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He displayed iron-clad confidence about Liverpool's title chances in his post-match analysis and did not look like the agitated figure of recent times. Benitez was not, as United, Everton and Chelsea fans have suggested at various intervals this weekend, cracking up.

Fernando Torres' two late goals gave Liverpool a victory they deserved for being the one team who took seriously the task of winning a game where victory was the only result in town. A crucial fact that appeared to escape Chelsea.

Liverpool did not deliver compelling evidence that they will push United to the wire, but they were positive, persistent and went forward until the end - leaving Anfield harbouring a distinct "and then there were two" feeling about the title race at the final whistle.

If Chelsea could plead any mitigating circumstances, it would be Frank Lampard's horribly unjust red card on the hour - an incident that is only likely to continue his feud with Xabi Alonso that dates back to an incident when Liverpool's midfield man suffered a broken ankle in 2005.

Referee Mike Riley, who had a poor game, failed to detect Lampard getting a touch on the ball before Alonso made contact with his shin. And Chelsea's sense of injustice was increased by Riley's failure to punish Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard for a more reckless challenge minutes earlier.

Liverpool had already gained the upper hand, and Lampard's departure merely confirmed their supremacy. It was only the efforts of defensive heroes such as Alex that kept them in the hunt until Torres struck with a minute to go and again in injury time.

I have been critical of Liverpool in recent weeks, with full justification after watching many of their recent stalemates, but they were good value for the win and their approach warranted three points.

Liverpool did not sparkle, but they were prepared to sweat and grasped the concept of victory, something which was lost on Chelsea. This provided a solid launchpad for their world-class talent such as Torres and Gerrard.

Chelsea, to put it charitably, were wretched. Lampard's dismissal actually only cost them a point because they never looked like getting three at any point.

And of course, Chelsea will surely now lose Jose Bosingwa to suspension after his ludicrous kung fu attack on Yossi Benayoun - an act of hot-headed madness that was amazingly missed by the officials, especially the referee's assistant, who was almost bundled over himself in the melee.

Scolari was his usual generous self as he sat disconsolately at Anfield pondering such a damaging setback. He could not say it but the careworn look said it for him. The game is up for Chelsea in a Premier League context.

And, more worryingly, Chelsea's whole performance gave off a horribly stale stench of a team in need of a major overhaul.

Petr Cech, that great untouchable of goalkeepers, looked vulnerable throughout and took up an almost disorientated position for Torres' first goal.

Chelsea's midfield looked pedestrian, lacking in ideas. Michael Ballack glided effortlessly around to no effect at all and looked an expensive passenger in comparison to the hungry Gerrard.

And then we had Didier Drogba - or at least I think we had him. He gave a cameo of sorts as substitute, a cameo which suggested he has already got his coat when it comes to his long-term future at Stamford Bridge.

Scolari was brutally realistic. He knows he will face questions, but there is more to Chelsea's decline than the arrival of a World Cup-winning coach into alien Premier League territory.

He has arrived at a time when Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has put the block on his lavish spending. He has inherited players who are handsomely paid but past their best - and he does not have any younger players of serious quality to call on from Chelsea's reserves.

Scolari must hope Abramovich revisits his new policy on spending, or that Chelsea's youth programme can throw him new gems, because he looks to be in charge of a team that is heading over the hill.

He is a dignified, likeable man and it is not a pleasurable experience to witness his discomfort in defeat, but Scolari needs to find fresh ideas, or teach some old dogs new tricks, if he is to make Chelsea serious contenders again.

Of course this may strike an alarmist note with some Chelsea fans, but one point from five meetings with their so-called closest rivals this season tells the tale.

Liverpool can now move forward with renewed optimism after a performance that at least hinted at the predictions made earlier this season that they could actually threaten to reach that Premier League pinnacle.

If Benitez can settle his differences with Liverpool's hierarchy to bring the stability off the pitch that will foster progress on it, then the great brinksman and part-time politician may yet have the last laugh on us all.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    2 horse race again? At least it will have changed this year though.
    Villa for 3rd possibly?

  • Comment number 3.

    As a United fan the result yesterday did not please me. But given a choise between two evils, I am glad that Liverpool have won. I think it is good to be chased by Liverpool than Chelsea ask Sir AF he will tell you the same. I myself will not disclose why I am happy to have liverpool at our back, I will leave that to my fellow mutd fans. Talking of 1didien drob' why is it that other managers fail to read when a player is not interested to play for his club? Fergie is a great manager because he is able to read players before they become a liability to the club, any need for examples? By the way good blog Phill. Is it 'bip or small Phill' ? ?

  • Comment number 4.

    The LFC performance was not much different from those of the past month. 70% of posession, some lovely football, great work ethic, loads of half chances - the only difference yesterday was that the ball actually hit the back of the net.

    LFC were never in a slump as such - just a goal drought. We'll see whether this result is the incentive needed to re-ignite title race.

  • Comment number 5.

    Its a shame for the title race as Chelsea were the only team which had the ability to push United all the way, but they are too far behind now I feel.

    But as a United fan I'm not complaining too much. Another few draws from Liverpool and it will be in the bag by the end of February!

  • Comment number 6.

    I have to disagree with your tae on the red card, While Liverpool were in the asendency prior to it, they were by no means dominating. At half time they had had only 4 shots and throughout the match they looked short of the killer touch in the final third until chelsea's defence was exahusted. Yes they deserved the win but the red card was a pivitol moment in the match which you have underplayed in both this and your match report.

    For Chelsea yesterdays result is a hammer blow, it means against the fabled "big four" (not to be confused with the top four teams) they have taken only a solatary point in five matches. When Ferguson stated pre-season that Chelsea had an old squad many were out with their calculators quicly trying to show that the average age of Chelsea and United was similar. Fergusons point however was the complete dirth of real quality in the Chelsea squad under the age of 25 compared to Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. That lack of young ambitious players may well be destroying them from within.

    Next weekend Liverpool will travel to a Portsmouth side who's recent record is five defeats and one draw. Benitez will know that should they win they will go top overnight at least with United facing a tricky away fixture at a West Ham side who's recent form is only surpased by United (four wins, two draws). It is this sort of match that Liverpool need to start winning if they are to keep up their title challenge, should they fail what promised to be the most competitive league in years may be over before Liverpool even face United at Old Trafford.

  • Comment number 7.

    Pathetic display by Chelsea! I really hope Liverpool can push on now and win the title!

  • Comment number 8.

    Chelsea were out the race ages ago, this is just affirmation.

    We have real problems at the club, the owner/ board's short-sightedness and also Scolari's naivety are haveing disastrous effect!

  • Comment number 9.

    Good blog Phil.

    Your comments re Chelsea "old dogs" echo SAF's pre-season put down (which he was forced to partially retract when Chelsea came leaping out of the traps and Man U stuttered ). Yet again he saw early what the rest of us take time to see. I thought Chelsea would be stronger here, but this coupled with their no-show at OT will be difficult to recover from.

    Can we have a blog on tackling please (or can you point me at a previous blog if I missed this). Since the horror Taylor / Eduardo tackle we seem to have been in disarray on this. Last season we had Sepp Blatter saying "We will not only make recommendations to the referees, we will instruct them to be stronger against this violence." ( and since then we've had a stream of noise from players, managers and pundits trying to make sense of it all.

    It seems to me that the current instruction to referees is that ANY "studs up" challenge is worthy of a red card regardless of intent, or whether the ball was taken first - indicating that sliding tackles are being removed from the game. If so I don't personally have a particular problem with this - seeing it as part of the evolution of the game towards free flowing attacking play. Leaving aside the fairness of it all (Alonso was also studs up in the challenge, higher than Lampard and missed the ball) there seems to be a more basic issue which is that Referees are acting under internal guidelines that the clubs are not party to.

    Liverpool deserved the victory without Lampard's dismissal. The question still remains whether they are a "cup" team - but one issue at a time...

  • Comment number 10.

    Before the season started I expected Chelsea to take the title, however having seen how the seaon has progressed, I cant look beyond Man U.

    Nemanja Vidic is proving to be an absolute colossus in defense, which is probably for the best since most of my fantasy league team are failing badly. Even on the off chance that Manchester concede a goal, they have the players to put at least 2 past the opposing goalkeeper. Ronaldo at half effort still rips the opposition apart.

    Liverpool success is built around 2 players. Its hard to see them challenging for the league without Gerrard and Torres winning games for them. If Steven Gerrard is able to remain in the team and play to his ability for the rest of the season, Liverpool may yet take the title, but I dont see the team holding up to the standard of these two players.

    Chelsea seem to be falling apart, which is a shame for Scolari as you state. They clearly need some new blood in midfield, as well as a hefty boot up the backside of at least one striker. For me Drogba is the best striker in the league but sadly underperforming right now.

    If I was to choose a team to finish second, at this point I would choose Aston Villa. I would agree with anyone that says they are outperforming their own expectations, however with Martin O'Neill in charge this is likely to continue right to the last game of the season. In the event that Jose stays in Italy for the next 5 years or so, O'Neill is basically going to help himself to the Manchester United job once Fergie retires.

  • Comment number 11.

    If Liverpool fans think that getting a lucky goal against ten men will change anything keep dreaming your papering over the cracks you just ain't good enough to win the league. p.s what will liverpool fans do after winning the league?........switch off the ps3

  • Comment number 12.

    Describing Lampard/Alonso history were Alonso ‘suffered a broken leg’, is completely insulting to Alonso. Alonso had his leg horrifically broken by Lampard in a x-rated tackle which was not punished. Lampard once again went in shin-high, studs showing and he deserved to go.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Benitez was not, as United, Everton and Chelsea fans have suggested at various intervals this weekend, cracking up."
    This is kinda funny considering you were one of them "suggesting" people. Love how fickle the media is, brushing their previous crazy comments under the carpet at the first win, that was due to come soon anyway.
    We did great yesterday, what a brilliant match!

  • Comment number 14.

    If Liverpool can produce that level of desire and hunger from the players AND fans, the title is there for the taking. The atmosphere was what we have come to expect from Anfield in years gone by. YNWA.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well good result for us but still all too negative against a chelsea side in a bit of a crisis. I can see Rafa's dilemma, he always sets his sides up not to lose rather than win. We are a very tough side to break when we play a 4-2-3-1 but this puts a lot of pressure on Gerrard to make something happen hence why the Gerrard rescues liverpool again headlines keep appearing. For once Andy Gray made a few good points in his last word, where he was talking about our first goal and the fact the extra man up top meant there was someone to play one-twos with. We haven't looked like a good side when we go to 4-4-2. Not sure whether thats because Robbie Keane isn't good enough (because he isn't) or because Kuyt as a genuine right winger isn't good enough (because again he isn't). The way we play now means I can see us winning the CL but not the league. Come on Rafa, you're a sharp cookie, work out a way to be more positive and still win!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Chelsea were beyond bad.

    However, i don't like the excuse that the red card was irrelevant as Liverpool were dominating anyway. That may be true, but playing with 10 against 11 makes a huge difference.

    We will never know how the last 30 mins should have been played out.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well what a surprise Alonso does another perfect 10 dive wins an Oscar and gets a key player sent off. Gerard decides a two footed tackle is in order (again) and the ref thinks thats fine. I think you need to look at your own team Rafa before you become a critic of others with regards referee decisions. I remember Liverpool when they were in their hayday, they did not need a man advantage to win a game, they had skill and leadership (Shankley,Paisley, Moran these knew what they were doing).

  • Comment number 18.

    We will only know more about Chelsea's future this summer, when Roman will be forced to declare his hand in terms of money he is willing to spend to rebuild Chelsea. If he isn't willing to spend then Chelsea will surely be sold. The good news is there is a very good core group of players, still young enough to rebuild from. Selling Drogba, Malouda, Kalou, Deco, Fereira possibly even Joe Cole could recoup about GBP 60m and if Roman or a new owner is willing to top that up with an extra GBP40 then all is not lost as long as it is spent on 2 quality wide players, one creative midfield player and 1 quality goal scorer. In the meatime we now have a desperate fight to qualify for champions league this season. We are not playing well and it is hard to see how we are going to improve without a complete overhaul, and both Villa and Arsenal will fancy their chances in finishing above us, especially as they both have home games against Chelsea.

  • Comment number 19.

    what a great spirit from kop. i think liverpool are in a serious biz now. Manutd to be on look out... Game at Old trafford will judge the winner of the season.. i love anfield

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Comment 12.........

    You really don't know what you are talking about. Only someone who has never played football or any other contact sport at competitive level could make such a comment.

  • Comment number 22.

    Scolari, never had a plan A or B,he does not know how to get the best out of the players,our team is spineless. My players love me hmmmmmmm!!!!!! I wonder???????

    Anyway CFC till the day i die.

  • Comment number 23.

    To me, football is about momentum. As a team game, spirit and confidence is everything; just look at how teams go on runs of victories and then inexplicitly can't win for weeks on end.

    Liverpool's victory has given them, I hope, belief and confidence. The test now is whether or not they can resist squandering it all with a lacklustre performance against Portsmouth.

    As for the game, Liverpool dominated throughout. Any Chelsea fans claiming the sending off robbed them of the game are fooling themselves. Harsh, yes. Game-defining? Hardly.

  • Comment number 24.


    You need to see the official Liverpool FC forum in which you will find people calling for Rafa's head, and i would call that a proper fan unrest.

    Good win yesterday for the reds, the difference between yesterday and the other 3 draws was a sharper Torres, which only underpins our reliance on the man.

  • Comment number 25.

    Watching the game I thought Lampard was unlucky to be sent off.

    However ........ having now replayed 'the tackle' and watched it a number of
    times ....... Lampard went in for a 50/50 ball with studs showing and
    (looking at his face) total Venom! It was coincidental he actually touched
    the ball ........ He went in recklessly, studs showing and made contact with
    Alonso! ....... The laws of the game say 'Sending Off'.

    Reference the Bosingwa ........ if he'd done that to a Manu supporrting DJ
    ....... he wouldn't be out on bail ...... he'd be interned!

    Reference Gerrard ........ How can you be booked for diving when you've been
    bundled over?

  • Comment number 26.

    I think Yossi Benayoun deserves some acknowledgement for his outstanding contribution to Liverpool's last two games.

    Also, whilst the Lampard red was debatable, Liverpool were denied a clear cut penalty after Gerrard was bundled over in the box.

  • Comment number 27.

    all this talk of two horse race - well can i remind everyone that if united win their game in hand the liverpool are nearer to chelsea than united. chelsea certainly aren't out of it either and only a fool would discount villa.

    again livepool get another dodgy decision going there way - can make quite a video of it this season. football can be a cruel game sometimes but those decisions will swing the other way and even themselves out.

    title is still united to loose.

  • Comment number 28.

    JBNURSING - as a liverpool fan, I agree Gerrard was lucky with that over the ball tackle. I guess no contact made makes it look better than it was, but if he was sent off, I would have accepted it. Disagree with you on Alonso. He kicked Lampard's foot hence why he went down, so caller him a diver is harsh. I think so many reds against him because he dwells on the ball sometimes and gives the oppo a sight of the ball.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good blog, Phil.

    Three Points:

    I am a liverpool fan and I support Rafa 100%. I may not agree with some of his decisions, but I think he has progressed the club. Replace him now and face another 5 year rebuild whilst whoever comes in imprints their personality. Remember, at the start of this season, most LFC fans viewed 2nd place in the premiership as the REALISTIC target.

    Alonso is the most fowled against player in the premiership. Lampard did not deserve to be send off yestderday but to suggest that Alonso is a diver is unacceptable. It may be that his slower style invites the challenge, I don't know.

    I do not believe Chelsea are out of the race. Lets see where they are in 5 or 6 games and then such comments may be made.

  • Comment number 30.

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  • Comment number 31.

    The thing that bothered me was how long it too Benitez to take advantage of the extra man.

    It was something like 82 mins before he sacrificed Masch to bring on Babel, also Benayoun should have been on from the moment Lamp got sent off.

    Anyway, ultimately i am happy but i think it was a fortunate win with a sharper Torres.

    Long may it continue!

  • Comment number 32.

    I truly believe that it was a very dangerous tackle, it could be very bad at the end, both players could get injured. Lampard deserved that red card and Liverpool deserved to win. I hope, Manchester will fall by the end of the season!

  • Comment number 33.

    Lampard's challenge was reckless in that there was a high closing speed between him and Alonso, he went in studs showing and his leading foot was a foot off the ground. The fact that he didn't make contact with Alonso with his studs is pretty much irrelevant. It was exactly the kind of reckless tackle that results in horrendous injury and that's why he was rightly sent off. It's a shame to say this because I rate Frank Lampard very highly (even though remarkably I sometimes seem to be in a minority), he's a fabulous player, who it appears to me is an honest man who works tirelessly.
    Robbie Keane: what a disgraceful treatment of him. We all know (apart from "Bobbysmith" in post number 15), that he is a fantastic player, and unlike a lot a "star" players, he will always give you 100% effort. If he didn't fit in with Benitez's "let's not lose under any circumstances, even if it means hardly scoring any goals" view of how Liverpool should play, why on earth did he sign him for £20m?! Why would you pay that much money for a highly talented motivated player, not play him, and incredibly not even put him on the bench? If you do go today Robbie, thanks for what you have done and thanks for your commitment. I'm sorry but I just don't rate Benitez, never have - he's still living off the good will created in that incredible Champion's League final. Considering the money he's had available and spent, we've got some pretty middle of the road players.
    I'm hoping Robbie Keane will stay and I'm hoping Benitez's drawn out contract negotiations will collapse, but then I'm hoping for world peace, I'm hoping for the recession to end quickly and I'm hoping to be the only winner of the lottery on a double roll-over week even though the last time I entered it was about ten years ago.

  • Comment number 34.

    It was a vital win, but it was against a poor Chelsea team. Cech has looked hapless for 2 seasons now. Alex plays like a girl. Anelka and Drogba play with no hunger. There's no width. There's no outlet. Ballack and Lampard are past their best. CFC need Essien and Carvalho back, and new wingers and strikers.

    Liverpool's win means they are the only team who can realistically catch United. If LFC win every game left, then the league title is guaranteed. In truth 88 points should win the league, but I think United will be that side and Liverpool will finish with around 82. The problem we (Liverpool) have is Benitez's bizarre policies. Why prevent Kuyt going to Juventus, when that money could buy us a genuine wide player. We do not lack strikers (Ngog, El Zhar, Babel, and Torres) but we do lack natural width and pace.

  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

    When on song, Liverpool are simply unbeatable. The stats for the game clearly show a one-sided game. On the controversial moments of the game, let's analyse them. On Lampard's dismissal, getting the ball with both feet off the ground and with studs showing is a straight sending off irrespective of whether the player is fractionally first to the ball compared to his opponent. But Gerrard was a wee bit smarter. He kept one foot firmly tucked under his body whilst exposing the studs on the other. The worst would have been a yellow card.

    On the game, even before Lampard's dismissal, Liverpool had been continuously pounding Chelsea's goal. And Chelsea's whimperish response was an embarrassment to the lofty ambitions and roubles that the club holds dear to. The game belonged to Liverpool, with or without Lampard.

  • Comment number 37.

    chelski reeks of crisis. i dont know what i can call it right now, but we definately need help. 3 shots in 90mins and only 1 on target?? geezzz we re going ballistic. even my Home club Eyimba would play half as bad
    better luck phil, i wouldnt want u shipped off to sao paulo

  • Comment number 38.

    When in pre-season Sir AF suggested that most of CFC players were over the hill most people did not seem to agree. But the cat is now out of the bag, this is hardly the CFC of JM.

    As an LFC fan I dont always agree with Sir AF, but having watched MUFC demolish CFC, and also LFC run over them I think Sir AF is being proved prophetic.

    Now all RB has to do is knock off Sir AF off his perch.

    Long live Rafa

  • Comment number 39.

    It's unfair Phil to imply that Liverpool only won because of Lamps' dismissal. In truth, the player went for the tackle with his studs raised. I don't remember that fact in your blog. It would ordinarily be a dismissal as it constitutes dangerous play.

    As to their 'previous history', this is an example of the media creating a story out of nothing. Yes it happened but it's in the past. Lampard hasn't demonstrated malice in his professional career, and has been a model pro, like our Gerrard. Besides, Lampard also tried to make it up (this I got from the Beeb) by calling Alonso. So, I wouldn't say there was malice intended, just a bad play.

    I didn't see Chelsea yesterday; it's like they sent proxies at Anfield. They were totally out of the game. In fact, the Blues first shot at Reina, courtesy of Kalou's first came well into the second half. By that time it had been target practice for the Reds!

    One thing both sides do have in common (I'd throw in Arsenal too), is lack of good width. That I can agree to. Chelsea's Malouda, Liverpool's Kuyt or Benayoun, (although the latter two do give us gargantuan work rate and trickery), don't quite qualify as good wingers, at least not the kind required to unlock stubborn defences. Riera has balanced the Reds on the left, and his link up play with either Aurelio or Insua has proved very productive.

    I can't speak for Gerrard's decision. That comes down to the ref. In truth, reffing has been inconsistent this campaign. We have our own complaints, not least our disallowed goal against Hull, the shove on Torres against Everton (both at Anfield), and extremely rough play by Stoke at the Britannia. Part of that dubious refeering is missing Bosingwa's boot on Benayoun and failing to (at least reprimand) book Rooney for his repeated insolence at Old Trafford against Chelsea - twice turning his back on the ref and once almost charging down the linesman and hurling obscenities!

    All teams do have their luck and bad luck, it's just the way the game is played. Refs aren't super-human.

    Either way, the Reds deserved a win and contrary to what some MUFC fans are saying, they'd have preferred stuttering Chelsea to LFC in second.

  • Comment number 40.

    As a true United Fan,the result favoured United as i have carefully gone through the Liverpool squad team and noted that non of their players have chased a league(league title owners) in any european league and could not boast of what Chelsea can offer in the title challenge.

    Sir Alex has worked his miracles once again by working of Benitez's syche and i think that will go along way in bringing back the pressure on Liverfools again.We have got the experience,the players,the staff and hunger to capitalise on this lead and it could have taken 'only Chelsea to thwart this dream.As for Liverfools,the best you will get is a second position and champions league quarterfinal.

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil - contact on the ball is irrelevant if the tackle is still dangerous, surely you know that ! By the letter of the FIFA laws Lampards was a red card offence - as was Gerards a few minutes earlier.
    As for Bosingwa - I burst out laughing !

  • Comment number 42.

    Liverpool success is built around 2 players. Its hard to see them challenging for the league without Gerrard and Torres winning games for them.
    Typical comment by a Utd fan! The only reason you beat Everton was due to a 'iffy' penalty converted by Ronaldo, one of the players Utd rely on! How many games does Ronaldo win for you lot?

    And to the poster complaining about Gerrard's 2-footed tackle, go and have another look. Yes it was a bit of a lunge for a 50-50 ball, but get your specs on; he led with one foot! Yellow card at worst. How did Alonso dive, he made contact with Lampard as he tried to kick the ball. Neither of them should have been penalised.

    And Phil, you were one of the biggest voices in the 'Rafa's cracking up brigade.' Have the guts to admit it mate.

    It was funny hearing Utd fans singing about Rafa cracking up, it shows how Liverpool obsessed they are!

  • Comment number 43.

    The red card, while admittedly unfair, did not change the game. Chelsea did not look capable of scoring and so the only question is whether Lampard would have stopped Torres' header - it wouldn't have. It was in fact a gift to Scolari. When he went to his press conference, it gave him an excuse and something other to talk about than his side's performance.

  • Comment number 44.

    Liverpool are all huff, puff, grind and hope. The 'hope' derives from hoping Torres will get on the end of something, anything.


    If they were to somehow win the title, the game in the UK and the Premier League will take a vicious blow to its credibilty.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just a comment about the red cards.

    Clearly the Lampard red was the wrong decision. Everyone has made a big deal that he played the ball, which obviously he did, but even if he didn't play the ball, it wasn't a red card offence. It wasn't dangerous or pre-meditated, he didn't launch himself in from a distance, it was just an attempt to win the loose ball. It was far more harmless than Gerrard's over-the-top lunge shortly before, which according to Riley didn't even warrant a yellow.

    It was Gerrard's lucky day - am i the only person who think he was a lucky boy for not walking in the second minute for deliberately slamming the ball in to Bosingwa after the play had stopped (just like Delap)? He didn't even get a talking to. And as for Bosingwa's karate kick - how did the linesman miss it, he was about one yard away!

    Poor poor refereeing display.

    As for the match, that's two visits to title rivals in which Chelsea have barely mustered a single shot in anger. Liverpool were on the front foot throughout, so deserved victory, although it should be point out that Benitez waited till the 83rd minute to finally make an attacking substitution against ten men.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why isn't the media banging on about Carvalho being injured and how it is badly effecting Chelsea?

    A few seasons back Terry got injured and the deluded English football media couldn't shut up about how Chelsea were dropping points as a result of Terry being crocked. Their claims couldn't have been further from the truth...

    It has been proven this season and last not to mention at World Cups and European Championships that Terry is a defender with limited ability and that Carvalho is THE class act in the centre of the Chelsea defence and without him Chelsea suffer badly. I have still to here this season from our friends in the media how badly Terry is playing or how badly Chelsea miss Carvalho. JT it would appear is exempt from critisism from pundits and the press.....

    Something to do with him being England captain perhaps?


  • Comment number 47.

    For those moaning about Rafa waiting too long to go for the game. How many times have we heard the saying, "it's sometimes harder to play against 10 men?" Hardly ever, when it's Liverpool playing but everytime Utd, Everton or Stoke are involved.

    As well as being a 'must win' game, it was also a 'must not lose' game, a balance has to be struck. I'd rather we scored in the 89th minute the way things have gone for us in the past few weks. We may well have gone for it earlier, scored with 15 mins to go, and switched off at a set peice. We won, quite comfortably, stop bleating! Did Utd fans moan and wail when they scored in the 93rd minute against sunderland?

  • Comment number 48.

    I am surprised to read so many comments with the same message "Liverpool would have won anyway, even without the sending off."

    How come the goal came in the 87th minute? A team that "would have won anyway" took 27 minutes to break down a 10-man team?

    Chelsea did play horribly but as long as they had 11 men, Liverpool never really looked sure to win anything!!!

    As I see it, Chelsea do not have the striking power to win this league. Liverpool will continue to stumble. Aston Villa are probably better than both this year but don't look like a PL champion team.

    Congratulations MUTD on another league title!

  • Comment number 49.

    Nothing's changed, Liverpool will be at ManU's heels for a while but they haven't got the resilience, despite ManU starting the season so poorly (as is often the case) and Chelsea going through a transitional period (and thus loosing so many games), it is only these facts and perhaps that LFC are this season not loosing as many as the seasons before (although they drawing as many) that has kept them at the top for so long.

    Benitez has not built a strong squad, fails to "work with" the management, causing division in the club, I would like to see them break the domination of CFC and ManU, but unless ManU slip up which it doesn't loo like they're going to, LFC and Benitez have probably already let their best title chances slip.

  • Comment number 50.

    As Chelsea fan, agree that we were poor, and Bosingwa should have been red carded for his ridiculous action. However, since when was a third of a game so predictable that you can say Lampard's sending off did not prevent a Chelsea win. There are at least 90 minutes to a game. Both teams had gone 60 without scoring and neither dominating. Please lets have some intelligence from the media. One final snipe, why do you let Gerrard get away with his outrageous dive, as when Drogba has done it in the past he is a cheat ???

  • Comment number 51.

    "[Bosingwa's tackle was] an act of hot-headed madness that was amazingly missed by the officials, especially the referee's assistant"

    No, don't blame the linesman! He clearly put his flag up, but Riley ignored it.

    I agree with comment 4, that Liverpool were more in a goal drought than slump. I also think that this marks the difference between them and Man U - Man U perform like this in every game, pushing teams and pressing, attacking, whereas Liverpool only did it yesterday because it was Chelsea. If they can produce performances like this against weaker teams, then they have a good chance of catching up with MU.

  • Comment number 52.

    Very good point about Benayoun - his energy and directness were crucial.
    The title is in Man U's hands but going for a quadruple could prove their undoing.
    Don't forget, either, that Rafa won a couple of close title battles in Spain. Also, due to his hamstring injuries, Torres is fresh for the run-in.
    Chelsea have finally been exposed as the overrated team that many always suspected they were, full of overpaid, overrated players (Terry and Lampard to name just two although Frank did not deserve his red card).
    Villa still the dark horses and like a top jockey Mr O'Neill will keep pushing them on to the finish.

  • Comment number 53.

    There is a photo of Lampard's tackle on the daily mail website. The photo clearly dismisses claims by some of you of a two footed challenge and shows Lampard getting the ball at least 2 feet ahead of Alonso. Yes is was a high speed by both players and that's why I can understand Alonso being late and catching Lampards foot, but it was a fair 50-50 challenge in a contact sport. If you don't like it go and watch netball instead.

  • Comment number 54.

    Post 40: How much spare time have you got on your hands???

    Anyway, just one question, after Bosingwas "clearance" at the end of the match, can anyone tell me what Chelsea got the free kick for??

  • Comment number 55.

    That looks like Chelsea out of it - once again they were poor. In terms of the gap they still have a chance but not sure their squad is up to in to be honest. Lampard is carrying them but even he isn't what he was 3 years ago. Most of their quality players are past their best and there are a lot more gaps than there used to be.

    Liverpool are still in it but can't afford many more draws. United have come through a heavy period of injuries and fixture congenstion but that now seems to be easing and if they keep churning out the results (and avoid defeat when Liverpool come to OT) then they shouldn't have too many problems.

    Quite simply, United have the best manger, the best squad, the best form, the best experience and a 2 point + 1 game cushion. It is their's to lose, and they rarely do so from here...

  • Comment number 56.

    Let's take a variety of points, starting with timwebber's praise for Benayoun. He is absolutely spot on.

    Benayoun gave Liverpool real drive after coming on - and credit to Benitez, who has been criticised here and by his own fans for his debatable substitutions.

    He twice came close to scoring and set up Torres' second. The trick for Benayoun is to produce this form consistently, and when he is given a place in the starting line up.

    And to post 39m 1jere, I don't think I implied at any point that Liverpool only won because of Lampard's sending off.

    I stated it only denied Chelsea one point at best because they were never going to win and his departure allowed Liverpool to confirm the superiority they had shown before the red card.

    And sorry arundini, I do not accept Lampard's tackle was dangerous. He took the ball cleanly.

    As for Bosingwa, it was laughable as well as inexcusable. How did the officials miss it?

  • Comment number 57.

    At least we are keeping things interesting at the top. It would be great to go ahead of United next Saturday evening before they play on Sunday. Having said that, this run in may come down to title-chasing experience and United have that in abundance. Liverpool certainly cannot afford anymore toothless draws!

    Good blog Phil, pity about some of the less intelligent responses - post 11 for example!

  • Comment number 58.

    Question to liverpool fans, if torres and gerrard where injured for while could liverpool still win the epl

    We'd then see how much "progress" they ve made

  • Comment number 59.

    Re 42: "It was funny hearing Utd fans singing about Rafa cracking up, it shows how Liverpool obsessed they are!"

    ... the irony is that you have just made three mentions about Utd in your comment.

  • Comment number 60.

    Alonso dive? get ya head read son...yes it wasn't a red for lump-of-lard but it defo wasn't a dive!! It's the ref who needs to be criticised, he got every decision wrong yesterday, from all the bookings he dished out, to lthe red card, and then the cantona kung fu kick. He even messed up blowing for full time....what other ref would blow up when a team have a three V one attack? Mr Burn's love child has to be sacked, he is an inept, purile powerhungry fool!!! And this is coming from a Liverpool fan!

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm a Man Utd fan and a draw would've been a great result last night. However, some of the refereeing decisions of late have been inexplicable and mind-boggling. Although I can't stand Lampard, that was never a sending off and it surely affected the result. How Bosingwa was was not sent off is beyond belief... it was right in front of the linesman's eyes and why did he not say anything? some officials are cowards, whereas some seek the lime light e.g. Styles/Reily. The penalty awarded to Newcastle was beyond a joke and Styles' performance at West Brom v Man U was laughable, he dished out Yellow's for fun. Now, what does Keith Hackett have to say about these events? Probably nothing, and these referees will continue to get away with doing rubbish jobs. Teams suffer in terms of dropped points and players get slaughtered in the Media for poor performances, so surely referees have to be accountabe as well.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think this season will be a walkover for Man Utd. They'll keep winning and the rest will keep slipping up. I reckon they'll win it by 12 points, maybe more.

    It's remarkable how quickly things change in football. The EPL was brilliant entertainment last year with ManU and Chelsea going to the wire and Arsenal providing some memorable football. This season the EPL looks low on quality with Chelsea and Arsenal looking like also-rans and Liverpool and Villa not strong enough to challenge ManU. Look further down the league and there's little separating 14 teams. It makes for lots of entertaining matches and suprising results, and will provide a belter of a relegation battle, but the league appears to have lost its lustre a little.

  • Comment number 63.

    man u fans are hilarious...and the man u loving press?? sorry but they ain't world champions( italy won that a while ago!)they won a round robin comp against nobody teams in asia...anyone one remember who thay beat?? they played zenit in the super cup( best of the best in against winners?? and got stuffed!!! so does that make zenit the best team in europe?? as a liverpool fan we tend to win are super cups and own!! are European cup! so we dont really care! last time i checked we stuffed them this season and for the last 3 seasons we come into are own at the last quater of the season... they luckily scrape games 1-0 in the 93rd min ( deflected last min goals... pens when they cant get goals at old trafford!) and phill and the press say.. awsome unstoppable!! ...liverpool!!! well they pressed ..there trying...maybe rafa might be right!?? question to man u fans... fancy playing us in the champions league?

  • Comment number 64.

    Problem is, it's hard to shake the feeling that Liverpool will now go and get a 0-0 draw with a lower team or two. There's not the same faith in them to go on a winning (the key word) streak as there is in Man Utd, who are simply very very used to doing so and getting into that mental groove.

  • Comment number 65.

    Comment 46

    Agree with you about Terry, currently he is not good enough to play for England, although it is maybe because he keeps playing with injuries. If he is to get back to any kind of form he needs to rest his body and recover. However Carvalho alone won't solve our problems, we are so short of attacking quality it is scary. Malouda maybe our only left footed midfielder, but he gives us absolutely nothing, and we would have been better to keep Wayne Bridge and play him in the same position instead.

  • Comment number 66.

    Far be it from me to defend Chelsea but I think people are over-stating things. Take Carvalho, Essien, Joe Cole and Drogba out of any side and they would be missed. Terry and Ballack have also missed a huge number of games.

    Lampard aside, that's probably Chelsea's 6 best players.

    If Terry and Carvalho can stay fit, Ballack can reagin his form of the run in last season (he had a very similar season last year) and Drogba can sort his head out then, with Essien back in March, Chelsea could finish very strongly.

    Of course they look short on confidence, who wouldn't with a squad butchered as theirs has been for much of the season.

    I'm not writing them off just yet although it will be a big ask for them to make-up the ground on Utd.

  • Comment number 67.

    The only correct decision ref made yesterday was to book gerrad for diving.

  • Comment number 68.

    So Lampard shouldn't have been sent off. What goes around comes around. Justice for the penalty that Chelsea were awarded by Styles last season. On that day Chelsea were gifted a draw. Yesterday Liverpool's task was made easier but we weren't gifted the win.

    And as for the way both Messrs. Gerrard and Terry spoke to the referee. They should be ashamed. I wonder how many young children now believe it is acceptable to intimidate another human being and use a long list of expletives. The language in football is disgusting and the sooner the FA adopt the RFU approach the better.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Benitez was not Cracking Up"....ummm actually i think despite a very good and valuable win for Liverpool yesterday, it has highlighted the extent of Benitez's flaws and his cracking up!

    Torres stayed on the pitch for 90 minutes and scored 2 late goals that changed the game. Had Torres had played 90 minutes (and gerrard for that matter) over the last few games, Liverpool could have turned a lot of draws in to wins. I know its all ifs and buts.....BUT I think yesterday showed the importance of keeping your top players playing all the time. Allthough I believe had Lampard not been sent off, Benitez would have done the usual senseless substition.

  • Comment number 70.

    Isn't it great the way MU fans are calling Liverpool lucky? I've said for years better to be lucky than good and MU have shown that in spades for ages. Their last two games had a v. dodgy sending off against West Brom while Wes Brown on Sat with one of the worst tackles of the weekend, not even a free kick!

  • Comment number 71.

    A salutary lesson to Chelski and it's owners... you can't buy trophies.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ Post 58,

    You are implying that Liverpool are a 2-man team. Just to clarify, such a thing doesn't exist, hence the word TEAM. English lesson over.

  • Comment number 73.

    Re Q 60
    Alonso;- Not so quick not much skill, but a dab hand at getting class players sent off in key games. worth 3 points even to desperate Rafa.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    There is alot of squibble squabbe crap on here every week.... there is nothing that a manu fans or any other fans comments can change how this league will go... My prediction for this week was for liverpool to beat Chelsea but i also predicted that liverpool will drop pts against portsmouth next weekend so whats next, and dont worry, there will be another blog like this one for all the mancs to boast about again when that happens but i dont listen to the tripe that comes from there mouths, there here to wind us up and wind us up only.... anyway I thought Gerrard was lucky to stay on the pitch and Lampard should never have been shown the red... i dont think it would have changed the result tho.... carry on mancs.. have fun and let your fear out on some more liverpool fans....

  • Comment number 76.

    its deja vu from last season massive game for liverpool at anfield poor ref decision and they win 2-0 with late goals - liverpool deserved the win but who knows what would have happened with 11 v 11 - we got a decision against west brom last week which effected the game - i hope the title is decided by football (like last season) and not poor decision makers by 50000+ grand employees who dont have 2 answer 2 anybody it seems ps chelsea not out of it yet - they just keep going ps y has styles not given a public apology for last week and don't expect riley 2 either - joke joke joke

  • Comment number 77.

    Liverpool deserved to win, simple. Chelsea came and played for a point and very neraly got it.
    As for the debatable points. As someone else pointed out whther there is contact or not is irrelevant.
    Both Lampard and Gerrard left the ground as they launched, studs up into a tackle. It is cowardly and dangerous and under the present rules both deserved red.
    Just because the other player hurdles or avoids a reckless lunge doesnt make the lunge anyless reckless.

    As for Bosingwa, he may escape a ban as i cant believe neither the ref nor the lino saw it. Lampards card will be rescinded as have all Chelseas this year and people say it United that get all the favours!

    As for the result, as a United fan if there was to be a winner i would have preferred Liverpool as Chelsea, disarray or not have been the distance before and they reckon they challenged to the end last season in spite of Grant not because of him.

  • Comment number 78.

    The blinkered pro liverpool views on this board don't suprise me. To those actually watching the game would notice that untill the red card on 60 minutes the game was 50/50, despite Riley giving most of the 50/50 challenges to Liverpool.

    After that shocking red card, on the heels of a far more dangerous studs up tackle by Gerrard, it took Liverpool 29 minutes to finally score.

    Of course liverpool looked better when it was 11v10. Add in Riley thats 12v10, and the famous anfield crowd 13v10.

    Hardly a growning glory that those goals came in the last minutes against such a poor side is it?

  • Comment number 79.

    LFC Fan here..

    Though I am somewhat relieved by the result, I am still to be reassured that we are back in the title hunt.

    Man-U are 2 points ahead with a game in hand and I dont see them dropping too many points.

    Rafa has to stick with this formation and this team line-up. This is the best we have and no its not a defensive line-up.
    Pundits will argue having just 1 striker is not ambitious but look at the attacking 3 after Torres.

    Key to the title:
    We need to get those 85min-90min goals. Those are the title winners. I would like to know how many have Man-U scored those 1-0; 85-90min goals over the past couple of seasons.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    "If Benitez can settle his differences with Liverpool's hierarchy to bring the stability off the pitch that will foster progress on it, then the great brinksman and part-time politician may yet have the last laugh on us all."

    Loving the last line Phil, YNWA!

  • Comment number 82.

    Re;- 63
    I think i have just read a page out of the BEANO keep taking your medication and hopefully your delusional thoughts will go away. Play you in the Champions league no problem. Try and keep it 11 v 11 though!
    As you have an habit of reducing teams to ten, how many times this season?

  • Comment number 83.

    ManUtd fans think that because they won the league last year along with the EC and FIFA CWC, that they have won the league this year with 14 games left. Laughable.

    Comment No. 40, your prediction means nothing. Just wait till the end of the seaon before talking the talk.

  • Comment number 84.

    Please do not write about what you have not seen. I refer to this ridiculous comment "after his ludicrous kung fu attack on Yossi Benayoun - an act of hot-headed madness that was amazingly missed by the officials, especially the referee's assistant, ".
    EVERYBODY saw the referee's assistant flagging madly as he was NOT bundled over. I fail to see why I should take anything you say at all seriously after a demonstration of imcompetence much, mush worse than you attribute to the linesman.

  • Comment number 85.

    The main problem with Chelsea is scolari... it seems like he doesn't understand the English style of football as well as understand the Chelsea players. Because he couldn't even make a decent selection as well as tactical changes during a march. More over it looks like he has not figure out the problem with the team when an average Chelsea follower can directly point at area of the problem.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    59. At 11:04am on 02 Feb 2009, socrates_says wrote:
    Re 42: "It was funny hearing Utd fans singing about Rafa cracking up, it shows how Liverpool obsessed they are!"

    ... the irony is that you have just made three mentions about Utd in your comment.

    I would say touche, however, the difference is one of my comments was actually complimentary, the other was an observation concerning the media, and I didn't spend my time singing about Utd yesterday; I supported my own team!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    1st of all coment 25... take it from those bias remarks ur a liverpool fan...

    im a united fan nd tbh im quite glad liverpool won yesterday, a draw wud of bin ideal bt if i had to choose a winner id of chosen liverpool simply because we all kno chelsea cn go the distance nd hav the experience of a title winning side... i feel its only a matter of tym b4 they start playin like they did early season... but the pool... im sorry ur jus nt capable of sustaining a title challenge a few draws folowed by a defeat at OT... SAF's men will be home nd dry by mid march.

  • Comment number 89.

    Go on reds, give Man U a good fight for the title!

  • Comment number 90.

    "Chelsea will surely now lose Jose Bosingwa to suspension after his ludicrous kung fu attack on Yossi Benayoun - an act of hot-headed madness that was amazingly missed by the officials, especially the referee's assistant, who was almost bundled over himself in the melee."

    Mr McNulty - Strange that even with the benefit of TV cameras and replays that you failed to spot (as did some other responders here) that the Referee's Assistant did indeed flag for the ...err... attack on Benayoun (to call it a foul is to dignify it as part of the game).

    It seems this blog is evidence against the need for TV replays (which I have long advocated) as it seems that far too many of us are either incapable of seeing what is in front of our noses, or too proud to reconsider what we thought we saw in the first instance.

    I hope sense will prevail and Lampard's red card is rescinded and Bosingwa has the equivalent of one given.

  • Comment number 91.

    the fact of the matter is that this is only a small victory for Liverpool but a big setback for Chelsea. Liverpool have lacked attacking ambition recently and aren't trying to close out teams with a second goal, this match against a awful Chelsea perfomance is hardly proof that these problems are sorted.

    this will only help Liverpool if they can go on to comfortably beat a few other sides, or at least show the ambition to et the second goal at 1-0.

    the main problem however is that the momentum is with United still, especially as hardly any points were dropped when missing 3 of theim main defensive players, as well as a bundle of midfielders and rooney. i wouldn't go placing my bets on any other team as it just dosent seem likely!

  • Comment number 92.

    phil, the tackle on alonso was a red, no doubt about it, it was a lunge, 2 footed n stoods showing... clearly dangerous play and by that a red card, alonso only had to have his leg slightly lower n his foot would have connected with his knee, n id wager that would have been a truly sickening injury. n it wouldnat have mattered then would it.. the would would have been in uproar about it

    he deserved to go, maybe gerrard too, but to a much lesser extent, wasnt even remotely as bad as lampards the the implications of lamps are wot called for the card

    again tho, an incident like this is masking over 1. chelea's absolute lack of imagination n drive n 2. liverpools brilliant display against a top 4 contender n at the time, the team directly above them

    the teams wer a class apart from each other

  • Comment number 93.

    As poor a game as Mike Riley had yesterday, by ignoring Bosingwa's stamp the referee's assistant eclipsed him. I don't understand why every week, up and down the country, the officials seem incapable of covering a relatively small patch of grass between them.

  • Comment number 94.


    if united lost ronaldo n say vidic would they win the prem? or would we c the lacklustre performances that we say at the beginning of the season from united wen they didnt have christiano?

  • Comment number 95.

    That is a decent result against Chelsea. A team in decline, over the hill or just plain lazy is open for debate but they still have serious class in their team.

    The problem with Liverpool though is that they are capable of these wins. They beat United earlier in the season only to get a goalless draw to Stoke at home the following week. It's not their one off big game ability. It's their concentration which seems to drift. It's easy for Gerrard or Torres to get into these games but the latter hasn't looked interested since he's been back from injury.

    Let's take a look at the next few matches and I guarentee that Liverpool still drop point and United pull away.

    I think though that Liverpool should also seriously keep an eye on Aston Villa for the 2nd spot. They haven't faded off and it's only Liverpools draws that are keeping them above the chasers.

  • Comment number 96.

    I would say that Rafa's post match reaction was one of smugness rather than satisfaction, happy in the knowledge that the Rafa 'rant' has had the desired effect which resulted in one of the most biased refereeing performance's in prem history.
    This game had nil-nil written all over it with both teams scared to lose and packing the midfield to nullify one another,and then came Mike Riley.
    Before the Lampard sending off there was a definite case for Alonso being red carded for an over the top challenge, and St Gerrard suffering the same fate for deliberately kicking the ball at an opposing player who was defenceless after a challenge.Rory Delap must be very disappointed!
    Then came a lunging tackle by Gerrard, after which praise must be given to the Chelsea player for staying on his feet, unlike Alonso.This challenge made the red card for Lampard all the more galling for Chelsea fan's.And, Gerrard still had time for his obligatory dive, happy in the knowledge that Riley would never send him off.
    By the time the game had reached the Bosingwa kung-fu kick, Riley had completely lost the plot and even the most ardent of anti technology luddite's must have been having a change of mind to help Riley and put him out of his misery.
    I would like to see Benitez explain the 'fact's' of this game!

  • Comment number 97.

    Liverpool won this match because they used their best 11 with the best possible 2 substitutes (Ngog was and will be a mystery while Keane is with the club) AND because Chelsea weren't up to it (the unjust red to Lampard helped a bit).

    I will support the idea that Benitez was cracking up. Criticized in past years for rotating, he deserved it again for reverting to that tactic the past several weeks. Alonso and Riera on the bench, Keane nowhere to be seen, against Stoke, Wigan and Everton? That, my friends, is cracking up.

    On the subject of Benitez "progressing the club", yes - progressing them downward. Sissoko, Hamann, Riise, Garcia out and Lucas, Dossena, Arbeloa, Babel in? Any title challenge is doomed with the team they have now. There is hardly any talent beyond the first 6 or 7 on the teamsheet, much less is there positional depth.

    Benitez will not bring the PL title to Liverpool, full stop.

  • Comment number 98.

    As a neutral.

    After watching the Liverpool v Chelsea game yesterday. I do not believe either side are capable of challenging ManU for the title this season.

    Liverpool are too reliant on one or two individuals(i.e. Torres, Gerrard) and chelsea don't look like they actually believe they can win it, and are totally lacking any creativity.

    I thought the Lampard sending off was very harsh, though his foot was high, but no doubt he was trying and succeeded in playing the ball. I still think Liverpool would have gone on to win regardless of whether he got a red card or not.

    Liverpool have Portsmouth next up, and although they have not been getting the results, I do believe they have been playing well, and would not be surprised if they turn Liverpool over. Which will effectively mean it is a "one horse" race.

    P.S. Good blog Phil.

  • Comment number 99.

    Increased fan unrest? Just because a few fair weather fans bleat on 606 it does not mean that Lpl fans want Rafa out. All true lpl fans are behind the manager and the team. It is the board and Rick Parry that we want out.

    Also hate to burst your bubble but Lpls recent run of poor form stared well before Rafas verbal attack on Fergie. I know that doesn't fit into your journalistic agenda but it is a fact.

    Lampard - shouldn't have been sent off. However to most Lpool fans that card has been 4 years in coming since his horror tackle against XA in 2005.

    I can't help but chuckle at the desparation of the media (Phil included) who last week were condemning Lpool and Rafa as useless and out of the titlte race. Now we're right back in it! What a load of tosh.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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