Friday, 10 April 2009

Chelsea seal shock win at Anfield

Liverpool's recent run of form, which has seen them overcome opponents including Real Madrid and Manchester United with ease, gave Chelsea fans reason to worry before kick-off at Anfield this week in what was a crucial match for the London side hoping to banish the Champions League disappointment of last year by progressing to the semi-finals of the competition. 

Only a few minutes into the match, it seemed that Chelsea's worst nightmares were going to come true, when Liverpool went ahead. However, far from any kind of nightmarish situation becoming a reality, the wildest dreams of even the most hardcore Chelsea fan could not have come close to matching the 3-1 score line which was recorded after ninety minutes. 

Liverpool now have it all to do when the two teams meet at Stamford Bridge next week and, despite the team's fans doing all they can to conjure up memories of Istanbul and the miracle comeback that saw them clinch the Champions League after most people had written off their chances, Chelsea fans must be feeling quietly confident that they can progress to the semi-final without exerting too much effort. 

The boys in blue were tremendous on Wednesday night and their performance was one of their best for many months. The team performance was a far cry from the lacklustre displays shown under previous boss, Scolari. Hiddink has revitalised the team and individual displays of brilliance were accompanied by a fine tactical overview from the boss. 

Michael Essien in particular did a fine job keeping Steven Gerrard quiet. Prior to kick-off, many pundits had billed the match as a clash between midfield stars, Gerrard and Frank Lampard. However, Lampard's play was full of uncharacteristic mistakes and the Liverpool captain was strangely subdued. 

For Chelsea, it was Essien and new star, Ivanovic, who ran the show, whilst Drogba was a constant threat in attack. If Drogba had been wearing his shooting boots, he could have hit the back of the net three or four times. 

It seems likely that Barcelona will await Chelsea in the next round after their humiliation of Bayern Munich in the first leg of their quarter-final tie. The Spanish side is on fire at the moment, with Lionel Messi in particular in scintillating form. 

For this reason, Chelsea's hopes of claiming a much-desired Champions League title have been all but written off by many sectors of the sports media. However, with Hiddink in charge and the team willing to put in the hard graft needed to succeed, don't be too quick to place your football bet going against them. 

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