Liverpool slipped-up earlier today, Sunday, inside their own ground as, despite the fervent reception drummed up by a Red army of support, Brendan Rodgers' side dropped a 2-0 defeat to a Chelsea team now breathing down their necks having cut a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League to just two.
Jose Mourinho set his team up in a very specific way, chiefly; not to concede while waiting for their hosts to make a mistake… or a slip… which, of all people, Steven Gerrard did thus allowing Demba Ba to capitalise and punish a matter of minutes before the break. Moments before full-time Willian doubled the club's lead and put the match out of reach for Liverpool.
However, while scribes may point to the tactical ingenuity of Mourinho, who - just like he did earlier in the week when foiling Atletico Madrid's attack in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal - masterminded a result positive for him, the club did not adhere to a brand of football that was high in aesthetics.
Ironically, the losers of the fixture, Liverpool, did.
For large portions of the game, Liverpool dominated possession and finished the game on a 73% high. They were also more adventurous when it came to shot-taking, with 26 efforts on goal compared to Chelsea's 11. Ultimately, only the result is the statistic that matters, yet a hat-trick of Liverpool fans must surely feel hard done by…
|Touches||Total Pass||Pass Acc||Tackles||Clearances||Mins|
For the first time in the Premier League season to date, captain Gerrard enjoyed more than 122 touches in a single game. Against Chelsea, he enjoyed 148 touches on the ball, 26 more than his previous best, set against Cardiff in Wales. He also attempted 114 passes and made a number of defensive contributions - although his most notable one was an error that directly led to a concession.
While Leiva was sacrificed for the more attack-minded option on the bench, Daniel Sturridge, what Lucas did do in little under an hour was good. He rarely misplaced a pass, was frequently on the ball and was the deeper-lying midfield general.
|Touches||Pass Acc||Dribbles||Duel Won||Mins|
When it comes to being on the ball, there is only one other game in the entire season where Sterling saw more touches (versus Crystal Palace at home, 82 touches).
Against Chelsea, his feet kissed the ball 79 times, returned his second highest passing accuracy (highest was against Aston Villa at home, 96.55%), returned his second highest dribble attempts (highest was against West Brom, 12 dribbles) and was also effective when it came to tusseling for possession.
Earlier today, he always looked threatening… but did he deserve to be on the losing side?