Jose Mourinho could be in for the fright of his life tonight as his future hangs in the balance after another routine loss at home to Liverpool.
The Blues raced into an early advantage with Ramires’ header but were pegged back by Coutinho late on in the first half, before the Reds marched on with another from Coutinho and a cherry on top from Benteke.
If reports are to be believed, the Portuguese would be fired if his side lost today and the signs are looking spooky on this Halloween night.
It completes a remarkable turnaround from the side who cantered to the league last season, with the Blues a whole 15 points from where they were this time last season. No team has finished higher than 7th after this start and Mourinho refuses to promise anything either. Will it be another man to try to resurrect the season?
It was a game with all the ingredients to be a big one. Klopp needed his first league win whilst Mourinho needed to fight for his future. In doing so, he trusted Ramires and Mikel to hold as both Matic and Fabregas were dropped, the first time the Spaniard has been omitted in the Premier League this season. For Klopp, he would put his faith in no out-and-out striker, with Firmino acting as a ‘false nine’ in a negative line-up for Liverpool which boasted just two league goals to their names this season.
The game started as it meant to go on. Firmino dragged his shot wide within a minute as Liverpool nicked the ball in midfield, with alarm bells already ringing.
But the first team to set them off were Chelsea. Costa did well to hold the ball up and feed Azpilicueta, who had the time and space to cut onto his right foot and find the oncoming Ramires to powerfully head home. It was a trademark late run into the box typically associated with Lampard, who was in the stands today, and one he would have been proud of. Moreno just ball-watched, but it was a dream start and Mourinho was receptive to instant chants of his name.
The Chelsea pressure continued for another quarter of an hour, with Willian presented with two more opportunities from set-pieces. The Brazilian has scored four from free-kicks directly this season, but opted to find team-mates on these occasions. The first was inches from Costa’s outstretched leg whilst the second was cleared.
But Liverpool showed their intent, especially with the pacy Clyne, who tested Azpilicueta’s defensive abilities, as well as Oscar’s abilities in tracking back down the left, with Chelsea opting for a 4-4-1-1 formation with Hazard the second striker. Oscar did not look comfortable with his new role, and Clyne nearly made him pay.
Lallana tested Begovic with a difficult shot on the turn, but with the visitors dominating 82% of the possession as the half-way point of the first half approached, it was ominous signs that Chelsea would just sit back, invite pressure and hope for a counter-attack.
With 19 goals already conceded this season, it was a strategy to back-fire. It could have come earlier from Lucas towering above Zouma, or indeed from a free-kick which should have been awarded for Terry’s handball, but it definitely could not have come any later.
Two minutes had been signalled and Mourinho was half-way down the tunnel, but in the third minute of injury time Coutinho was allowed to cut in and curl a delicious goal past Begovic. Terry allowed him too much space but it will no doubt be Mark Clattenburg getting the blame for allowing play to go on unnecessarily longer.
Would Chelsea hit back or Liverpool continue the momentum in the second half?
Certainly more of the latter. Three corners for Liverpool gave Chelsea fans many nerves with Cahill unable to clear but Milner, at the end of it all, blasted high.
The Costa vs. Skrtel battle had been relatively quiet thus far but the Chelsea frontman could have seen red for his kick out on the Liverpool defender, in more unwelcome headlines for the Blues in the coming days.
Benteke came on with the hour gone which meant that though Chelsea were desperate to win, they had to be mindful of the back too.
Lucas should have seen a second yellow for stopping Ramires in his tracks and Mourinho was livid when Clattenburg decided against it.
Willian should have done better with his touch when Chelsea were countering, but nothing was working, which left Oscar to resort from a 65 yard shot but Mignolet was no fool.
But the last 15 minutes summed up the Chelsea season. Woeful defending saw Coutinho creep into the box and curls in past Begovic, who was beaten at his near post.
Falcao on for Azpilicueta was desperate and only served to worsen the balance in the team. Moreno ran free and his drive was destined for the bottom corner had Begovic not stuck out a leg.
But it would become three soon after and it was all too easy. Benteke found space in the box to think, turn and do a million other things before side-footing home.
It was all too academic.
What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Man of the Match
NO-ONE: This looks like it is never ending. Ramires was solid but Mikel was too easily dispossessed, which did not help the frail Terry and Cahill. At the other end, Willian’s promise could not offset the baggage Hazard and Oscar carried. It is a horror show all round. 0/10
Mourinho was happy to talk at length: “I have nothing to say. I’m so sorry, I have nothing to say. I will get punished. The fans are not stupid. I am not worried about my future. From now on, what happens is just a consequence.”
Klopp was sympathetic to the manager in the opposite dugout: “I feel for him. He’s a great coach. I don’t think anyone in this room doubts hes one of the best in the world. Things like this happen. I had a similar situation at Dortmund last year. The good thing was no one in the club wa sin doubt of my situation. I feel for him of course but it’s work.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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