Chelsea slumped to their sixth loss of the season after losing 3-1 to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Phillipe Coutinho was the star of the show, grabbing two goals with Benteke scoring the 3rd from the bench after Ramires had given the Champions the lead earlier on.
Before the start of the game, there were banners flying in the stands at Stamford Bridge that read “The Only Way Is The Jose Way” in support of under pressure manager who needed all the support he could get.
Two contrasting circumstances for the two managers. One looking for his first league win at the beginning of his reign and the other looking to turn over a new leaf in a horrid campaign so far after the title winning one last season. Either way none of them could afford to lose this one.
Liverpool started with Firmino as the main striker and Coutinho playing in behind him. Benteke started from the bench. Chelsea gave Oscar and Mikel a rare start and Costa recovered in time to start after taking a knock in midweek. Fabregas who has been out of form this season only had a place on the bench.
Chelsea were first out of the blocks; pressing high and forcing Liverpool into errors whenever they were in possession. And they got their reward for such a high tempo start in the 4th minute when Ramires nodded in a cross from Azpilicueta after good hold up play from Diego Costa. Suddenly we were in for a game!
The main feature of Chelsea last season was their ability to score the odd one goal and hold on for the full three points. But the Chelsea of this season is doing the opposite. They look most likely to concede after they have scored and never really assured at the back as they did last season. John Terry and Gary Cahill have been listless, and Kurt Zouma is playing out of position at right back. It was only a matter of time before they conceded again.
After going behind, Liverpool grew into the game and dominated possession with no real threat going forward though. Chelsea were content with sitting back and using the odd counter attack to catch Liverpool on the break. Liverpool were finding it hard break the Chelsea backline and frustration started setting in with needless fouls being committed and poor crosses into to the box- James Milner being the major culprit. But his fortunes would soon turn.
Eden Hazard who was the star man for Chelsea last season was guilty of a poor performance again today. He struggled throughout the whole game and gave the ball away on several occasions. At one point in the game he was involved in a counter attack for Chelsea but spurned the chance after he delayed his pass to Oscar and allowed Liverpool defenders to recover. He was taken off early in the second half for Kennedy after growing ever so anonymous in the game and one has to wonder if he will ever rediscover the form that made him the PFA player of the year last season.
There is no denying that Phillipe Coutinho is such a lovely player. The way he cuts defenders in and out at will is so enjoyable to watch. He was at it again, grabbing two goals in scintillating fashion. His first for the equalizer was a peach of beauty. He cut in after receiving the ball from Firmino and finished it off with a nice curling shot with his left foot into the top left corner of the post giving Begovic no chance. His second was similar to the first but this time with his right foot, shooting past the stretching John Terry into the top corner of the post.
Benteke was called into the fray after 62 minutes to replace Milner and immediately he started causing the Chelsea defense problems. He combined well with Coutinho, playing neat one touch passes.
Oscar almost embarrassed Mignolet when he caught him off his line and tried to dink the ball over his head. Mignolet recovered in time and punched the ball out for a corner.
Then in the 82nd minute Benteke grabbed the third goal that ended the contest. Jordan Ibe, after some neat play from the right flank found the Belgian and he finished with much aplomb- striking through the legs of Terry and beyond Begovic. Chelsea were done and dusted!
The flood gates were now open and Liverpool looked to add a fourth but were denied by good goal keeping from Begovic. Chelsea were in shambles and a last ditch effort to rescue the game proved futile as Liverpool held on for the win.
For Liverpool and new manager Jürgen Klopp, this they hope will mark the beginning of a great run after drawing their last three matches. Chelsea on the other hand have a lot of work to do. They have turned into the whooping boys of the season so far with every team confident of beating or grabbing a point at least from them. What a fall from grace! One has to wonder what on earth is going on in their camp. Surely it has to be something more than just a dip in form. Manager Jose Mourinho was hoping for a stay of execution over his job but with a performance like this, it is only a matter of time before he gets the sack.
Forget the top four or even the top half because right now for Chelsea, it looks very much like they are in for a relegation battle this season.