You worry, obviously. You worry that the Villa game was only against Villa and that sterner challenges await. You worry that it was a blip, that the sense of togetherness would dissipate with a rampant Chelsea team putting us firmly in our place. Chelsea are, after all, utterly terrifying at the moment. Clinical, efficient, merciless. No fun to watch despite the talent that fills their ranks but they get the job done.
The feeling didn’t dissipate. Chelsea didn’t get the job done. Chelsea weren’t terrifying, Chelsea were terrified. We know our place and it’s in a tier above Jose’s pretenders. Liverpool are back. The Liverpool of last season, the Liverpool that creates, that swarms, that forces matters, that forces the opposition into errors, that stamps itself on the game. That Liverpool.
Liverpool - twenty shots, Chelsea - Two. And one of those was the penalty that they converted against the run of play, the otherwise impeccable Emre Can taking Hazard out in an attempt to atone for losing the otherwise utterly anonymous Fabregas’ run. Absolute dominance. The fact that Chelsea only had 36% possession wasn’t due to their usual desire to string six men across the box and refuse to create, more due to the fact that they didn’t have a clue what was happening to them.
Mourinho, the master tactician, had no answer to the hordes of red that ran through his midfield, that repeatedly assaulted his back line. He couldn’t cope with the genius of Sterling and Coutinho; an endless array of flicks, tricks, spins, surges, feints and twists. If there’s anybody in the Premier League currently playing at a higher level than Phillippe Coutinho, feel free to point them out. I’ll laugh heartily; the lad is on another level.
We were better than Chelsea in every single department. Obviously apart from the one that involves kicking opponents, elbowing them off the ball, niggling at them all night, resorting to the dark arts. That young (really?) Mr Costa? When he’s not scoring goals he’s just utter filth isn’t he? Horrible player. Did nothing creative last night, probably still looking over his shoulder for Martin Skrtel as heads to training this morning. John Terry? His assault on Raheem Sterling has to be seen to be believed. Weird. Just weird. And as unpunished by Martin Atkinson as everything else. The officiating was as inept as ever. Here’s a hint lads, if a player scoops a ball round his body with his arm then it’s definitely handball. If Cesc Fabregas is THE ONLY PLAYER in our half when the ball’s played forward then that’s kind of usually seen as offside. Match officials at the moment? You’d claim that they were corrupt if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re equally inept for everybody.
All of which are small complaints. Chelsea left L4 last night still in the Capital One Cup by virtue of a post that sat in the way of Steven Gerrard’s clip, Courtois tipping a glorious Gerrard effort over the bar shortly before they took their ill-deserved lead and a world class save from a beautiful Adam Lallana shot.
It would obviously be preferable to head to Stamford Bridge protecting a lead but the draw that we were given by Raheem Sterling’s sublime run through the heart of the Chelsea ranks will do for now. Next Tuesday we go to London, same thing again.
No fear. We know how good we are.