CHELSEA (1) vs LIVERPOOL (2)
Chelsea 12 points off the top after Liverpool snatch a late win at Stamford Bridge, but Villas-Boas claims his job is not under threat
CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas last night emphatically rejected suggestions the club’s owner Roman Abramovich has already lost faith in his methods after watching Liverpool inflict a fourth league defeat of the season on his side.
Daniel Sturridge’s goal 10 minutes after he was introduced as a half-time substitute cancelled out Maxi Rodriguez’s 34th minute opener and triggered a lengthy spell of Chelsea domination. But Liverpool resisted impressively and snatched maximum points at the death thanks to Glen Johnson’s solo effort.
Chelsea now languish 12 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City with just one third of the season complete, but even with former Stamford Bridge managerial favourite Guus Hiddink back on the market, Villas-Boas (right) denied his position was under threat.
“It’s not a question of the owner having patience,” said Villas-Boas. “We have set out to build something new at this club and the club is committed to taking what we’re building to the future. The owner didn’t pay 15m euros to get me out of Porto to pay me another fortune to get out.
“Our commitment is towards the club and what we are doing in the future. We have enough talent to compete in all competitions.”
Villas-Boas opted to restore Didier Drogba to his starting line-up at the expense of former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, but the Ivory Coast powerhouse was a peripheral figure and it was no surprise when Liverpool, who had carried the greater threat, took the lead.
John Obi Mikel was caught in possession by Charlie Adam and following a quick exchange of passes between Craig Bellamy and Luis Suarez, Rodriguez was presented with the chance to mark his first league start of the season with the opener.
Chelsea rallied after the interval and were back on terms when Florent Malouda was allowed to run unchallenged into the Liverpool penalty area and provide a cross from which Sturridge was able to equalise.
Thereafter the game was played almost exclusively in Liverpool’s half, but with time running out it was Johnson who provided a sting in the tail against his old club, collecting Adam’s pass, cutting inside Ashley Cole and slotting past Petr Cech.
“There’s no running away from responsibilities, there’s no calling this a transitional period, we’re not calling for time to work,” added Villas-Boas. “Our responsibility is to win trophies. We’re in four still, and we still have the possibility to win them.”