As compelling a contest as it was, it shed no light on the title race bar letting City gather a slight bit more pace. Liverpool did themselves proud. Chelsea did themselves no favours. But as the saying goes ‘You can only beat what’s in front of you’ and Liverpool gladly obliged. The match was watched by a travelling contingent who still tenderly felt the pain of loss at watching their former star striker line out in an, up until last week, unthinkable blue strip.
Once the Torres factor was experienced it died down along with his influence on the match. He looked eager but most of his endeavours didn’t come off. Jamie Carragher was a key element in that. The Liverpool stalwart has been the subject of discussion these past two seasons. Is he still capable of providing a reliable defensive option? On his display today he certainly is. Combining passion with inside knowledge on Torres strengths he reduced the Spanish hitman to 29 touches, one of the lowest on the pitch.
The match itself was engulfed in Torres transfer fever, which took the emphasis away from whether Dalglish could joust with the managerial bigtimers. His team set up confounded Chelsea. Marauding wingbacks pushed Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa back, nullifying their threat in the process. Martin Kelly must provide a thrilling sight for any Liverpool fan. Encompassing three words that any fan loves to hear about players coming through the ranks; athletic, skillful, passionate.
A tackle from Lucas Leiva was never far from a Chelsea midfielder in possession. Encouragingly he is now beginning to combine dynamic forward forays with his sterling defensive work. The man is a testament to confidence and dedication. A much maligned figure, he has been pilloried in the press, seemingly just for being himself. In truth he was the fall guy for the brunt of xenophobic fuelled criticism on former manager Rafael Benitez. To see him begin to reap the rewards for his hard work is good for the heart.
To dismiss Chelsea as a force would be supreme folly. An addition of the calibre of Torres would add to any squad. Combining him with Drobga, Malouda, Anelka, Essien and Lampard is mouth watering. Once they gel, many teams will be swept aside, and glimpses of a promising partnership with Drogba were beginning to show today. Perhaps it was eagerness to include the striker that dulled their attack, but for now first blood goes to Liverpool, as the fans will hold on to this grudge for a long time to come.