Instead of the story centering on Chelsea suffering back-to-back defeats in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2002, it may well have been all about the merits of a spirited second half revival were it not for the reactions and agility of Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Less than a minute after Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser Liverpool were again on the back foot and defending a Didier Drogba free-kick. The Ivory Coast striker’s cross was hit with vicious inswing and looked to have taken a decisive touch off the head of Branislav Ivanovic, only for Reina to dive low to his left and turn the ball round the post.
AVB: NEVILLE ‘STUPID’
Despite the pain of defeat being evident, Andre Villas-Boas was measured in his response to questions about his job security in his post-match press conference. The mask did slip, however, when he was asked for his verdict on Sky pundit Gary Neville’s comments about defender David Luiz, who the former Manchester United defender said played like he was being controlled by a 10-year-old PlayStation gamer. “It’s a stupid approach to an opinion,” retorted the Chelsea manager.
Andre-Villas Boas’ attempts to turn Chelsea into a more fluent, passing side dictates that every member of his team be comfortable in possession. It’s clear that some of the old guard are struggling with the new demands placed upon them and non more so than John Obi Mikel. The way in which he coughed up possession under pressure from Charlie Adam in the build-up to the first goal contributed towards him being taken off at half-time and the far more polished Oriol Romeu, the teenage summer signing from Barcelona, may prove to be Chelsea’s most effective solution to the problem at the base of their midfield.