Ba Ba Blue Sheep

  • The odds for a Liverpool win Sunday were ridiculously low in the circumstances, and the club itself got more than a little carried away. Fans lined the streets beforehand (a previously used ploy, admittedly) and the announcement of the teams felt more like a WWE wrestling bout than a game of football. It felt like a procession - the prelude to a coronation almost - and for those of us whose skin crawls at premature celebration this just had Ultimate Disappointment stamped all over it in big black letters - Steven Kelly

When Steven Gerrard slipped at the end of the first half during Sunday’s game against Chelsea, his unfortunate turn of foot might have turned a league title the way of Manchester City. Gerrard took his eye of the ball and let it run past him to Demba Ba. The error was recoverable but the slip put an end to any hope of salvaging the matter. Ba went on to score and now, unlike before Sunday, their destiny is no longer secured by a winning streak alone. Rivals now must falter for a 24 year absence to end and the coveted championship trophy to grace the Anfield board room.

I quipped to a friend that Gerrard had always wanted to play for Chelsea, but it is best to be philosophical rather than judgemental about this type of occurrence. No reason for the Liverpool captain to walk the world with the hump of that particular failure on his back. More importantly where were the defenders meant to cover Gerrard, a central midfielder? The structural weakness of defence in this Liverpool side has come to haunt it.

A post match tetchy Brendan Rodgers would be well advised to be philosophical and pull the horns in upon which he sought to impale Jose Mourinho’s tactics and game strategy. Despite the transformation he has brought to Anfield he is still apprentice to the Portuguese master. It sounds churlish rather than knowledgeable to accuse Mourinho of spoiling, time wasting and parking two buses across the back line. For those who love a beautiful game it was hardly pretty but the failure was Liverpool’s not Chelsea’s. And failure, no matter how gracious, quarrelling with success never really manages to get its own nose in front. 

Essentially, Liverpool failed to overcome the Chelsea game plan and seemed ideationally deficient. Rodgers protested that his opponents ‘virtually played from the off with a back six with the wingers coming back ... It was 10 players behind from the first minute and we found it difficult to break down.’ His point is? If only Liverpool’s defence could perform half as well the title would already be secured.

As the sports writer Steven Kelly suggested Liverpool were not beyond applying a bit of off-field gamesmanship to upset the Chelsea rhythm. The "ploy" of having the team greeted as conquering heroes prior to a game had one serious disadvantage. The scriptwriters had something else in mind. Mourinho's men scripted Liverpool in as the vanquished rather than the victors.

Rodgers probably understands Mourinho better than most managers and should have known what approach the Portuguese would take to the game yet did little to counter it. ‘Most people knew how Chelsea would approach it yet there seemed little or no change in Liverpool’s own approach to meet the coming challenge.’ There we have it. Teams are as good as opposing sides allow them to be. Chelsea did their job.

Liverpool if they fail to win the title this year might rue the slipped opportunity for many a day. The chance might not come again anytime soon with both Manchester United and Chelsea certain to field improved sides next year. But the warning signs were there before the visit of the Stamford Bridge men. Lately the team has been riding its luck a bit, just about managing to scrape past Manchester City after a comfortable start in a recent game at Anfield.

Yet for all of that the title race is not over. Manchester City have slipped up against lesser sides than Everton this season who they are still to play. Liverpool losing to Chelsea in front of their home fans at such a crucial stage was a serious dent to expectation but the team has to pick up and win their remaining two games and hope that City experience a Gerrardian slip.

Whether they win the title or not it has been a great season for a team that had seriously lost its way under both Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish. A season’s luck might hinge on a slip but for Liverpool to have slipped into title challenging mode only two years on from playing their worst football in six decades is a remarkable achievement. Brendan Rodgers has worked wonders with the team. He should now consider buying two red London buses.


  1. Rodgers has definitely done really well with the lads at Liverpool - and seasons are sometimes cruel - Henderson was missed - Lucas -what was he even doing on the pitch . . .

    Regardless though watching that game as a Chelsea supporter and my husband across the room a Liverpool supporter you could have cut the tension with a knife ! I will say i'll take the win i don't care if they parked all the buses - cos if any one slips we are still hanging around in the background too - I will state however I found Mourinho " the master" really play acted and reacted like he'd won the league not just a game against a team we'd already beaten this season - that was classless and unnecessary in my mind, though lets go Everton and rooting for Gus's Sunderland to keep going !!

    What a great season though from the top of the table to the bottom it's going to continue to the last kick of the season - which makes for fantastic football for any fan of the game .

  2. Stevie Me lived up to his nickname in this match, he chose to shoot whenever he was within 40 yards of their goal!
    The chance might not come again anytime soon with both Manchester United and Chelsea certain to field improved sides next year.
    There is an additional consideration for Liverpool next season, and that is you won’t have a full and free week to prepare for league matches because of Champions league matches every Tuesday/Wednesday. Can Brendan still work his magic on a tighter schedule? Will his thin squad still be able to press teams in a 65 game season?

  3. Two years on from playing their worst football in decades? Let's get real here, under Dalglish Liverpool made two cup finals, winning one, and were in the hunt for the top four, playing some excellent football, until RVP done a number on us totally against the run of play. Fair dues to Rodgers, he's brought the team on well, but let's leave the Kenny-bashing aside because what you said is horse-shit!

  4. because what you said is horse-shit!

    Anthony said something like this..."If only Liverpool’s defence could perform half as well the title would already be secured. "

    Sean, for once you are well and truely snookered -I'm a kinda Man Utd fan since 1977...

  5. If only this and if only that.......if Chelsea hadn’t dropped their earlier in the season 9 point lead, if Arsenal hadn’t lost important players due to injury or if Man City hadn’t come undone.....this is football and Rodgers may complain about Mourinho’s tactics but Chelsea parking two buses in front of their goal still managed to score two bloody goals for God’s sake....Rodgers and Liverpool like a few other teams appear to have played well this season due to Man Utd’s dismal season.... nothing more, nothing less.....the season isn’t over and Man City have it all to do....Liverpool are still in pole position and the pressure is all on Man City to overtake them.........
    after the world cup there will be a clear out of players in all leagues and I doubt if Liverpool can hold on to Suarez or even Sturridge and without them we’ll see how they fair.

  6. Frankie agree with the general thrust of the article, it's the idea we played our worst football in over half a century under Kenny. I can't back that

  7. I know king Kenny is a big celeb with the pool and hoops fans but I never rated him as a manager. He won a title for Walkers money at Blackburn, inherited a squad at Liverpool which at that time unlike united today, was well fit for purpose. His teams generally play shite football and his achievements on the pitch are much better than his managerial attributes. He walked out on the pool while on top of the league and with a replay with Everton on the cards in a cup semi-final after a 4-4 draw due to pressure!? WTF were managers in a relegation dog-fight feeling I ponder. Nagh, don't rate Kenny bhoy as a manager.

    On the bright side, the Chelski bus is about to be getting parked again on TRE tv in about 5 minutes.

    1. I strongly suggest you visit YouTube and watch Liverpool between 87-90......some of the best football seen from any team throughout the world. Dalglish may of inherited a title winning team bit didn't someone else do that recently too?
      Dalglish also had a very central role in consoling all the families of the Hillsborough victims....I'm surprised he lasted so long after.
      Before you come out with half arsed and lazy statements, learn some facts will save you some future embarrassment.

  8. Big time. It was Hillsborough that done for Kenny and not 'pressure'. As for playing shite football even in his last stint there his sides played great attacking football and hit the woodwork a record 18 times or something. They weren't far off top four but once it went with the raping at the hands of Van Persie in a game we totally dominated, playing the Gunners of the park, we concentrated on the cups and silverware

  9. Liverpool nose-dived when the pass back to the keeper rule was changed.

  10. I'll have you for that one day young Hughes... Mark my words!

  11. better hurry up Sean....I'm fast running outa track lol nifty 50 already.

  12. Let's hope we don't nosedive in our last two games.

  13. Justin

    I was a man u fan as a kid...cried when they got relegated tommy doc.... prawn sandwich era was a turn off for me.. the way the pool are playing, the budget, Rodgers...the FANS... my heart is totally with them...get over that line!!


  14. Sean,
    Bottom line is under Kenny"s second spell in management, Liverpool weren't great. Kinda like going back to an ex once to often (it's not happening).

    Now with Brendan Rodger's at the helm, he'll be up there with Bob , Bill .... Had Rafa been dealt the same hand and a board room that worked, Man Utd would still be playing like squashed tomatoes in titles..Rafa would have won at least one title. But the board room made too much noise.

    Sean Elvis was a Liverpool fan. Elvis, take it away... You'll Never Walk Alone

  15. If Jack Chadthon seen anyone drinking a pint of guinness then they were Irish in his eye's..Then let's raise a glass to (same logic)...

    Ronnie O'Sullivan (snooker player)

    Eddie Murphy (actor and comedian)

    Ella Fitzgearld (Jazz singer)

    Michael Collins ( Astronaught)

  16. Anyone who wants to watch the Kiko Martinez vs. Carl Frampton fight tonight... You'll find streams here

    They'll appear from 7pm-ish onwards..