Initial reactions: Liverpool 2 - Chelsea 0

Facepalm...

I don't see the need to write a full match report on this one, Chelsea clearly sent out a lineup which was geared towards getting some valuable playing time to some of the fringe members of the squad as opposed to trying to win the game.  While a win would have been nice, it was still in reality a glorified friendly which Kenny Dalglish was far more intent on winning than Andre Villas-Boas.  I also had a rather dodgy feed throughout the contest and doubt I'll see a replay.  With that in mind I'm just going to share my intial thoughts on the game rather than attempt to break down exactly what transpired.

  • The Carling Cup TV coverage on the whole has kind of sucked.  In this day and age any competition which anyone takes seriously should have better coverage than this tournament has had.  I don't know if it's any better in England, but it was almost impossible to find coverage for any of the games so far abroad.  At least this one had a few streams available.  Enough on that though...
  • Chelsea clearly were more interested in getting the fringe players a game than playing for the trophy.  I don't think there is any question that if this competition was a priority we'd have seen guys like Anelka and Ramires from the beginning.  The loss hurts, but honestly it probably doesn't mean anything.
  • The injury to Josh McEachran was really unfortunate.  We never really got to see him involved with this one as he was trampled around the 15 minute mark.  It's nice to see he's still alive, but it was hard to take anything from this one.  I'm not sure he should be paired with Frank Lampard and Malouda very often anyway, as those two don't cover all that much ground anymore and you're asking a lot of Josh to fill that role.  I'd love to see Josh paired with Meireles or Ramires going forward at some point.
  • Romelu Lukaku is going to be a handful.  He was constantly being marked by multiple players prior to getting the ball and did a nice job establishing position, but once he brought the ball to his feet he needs to be more decisive.  I don't think the McEachran/Lampard/Torres/Malouda foursome partnering with him in attack did him any favors in the first half as they were either broken or statue-esque for the most part.  He looked much better after Ramires came on, but you can clearly see that the focus with him in training needs to be his initial distribution.  Once he cleans that aspect of his game up watch out.
  • Oriol Romeu is good
  • Our set piece defending is bad
  • I don't even know what to say about the first goal.  I've seen about 9 different Chelsea players blamed for it and frankly they were all probably at least partially at fault.
  • Alex is a shell of the player he used to be at this point.  I'd like to blame it on rust, but he's never been a guy that had to play regularly to maintain usefulness in the past.  Judging by the way Bruma and Kalas have looked this season I'd guess he'll be another one leaving next summer.
  • I don't even know where to begin with Fernando Torres on this one.  I knew he was in the starting lineup but didn't realize he was even on the pitch until about 35 minutes in.  He actually started to look better once Anelka and Mata came on, but even then his runs weren't anything exciting.  He just looked poor enough today that I might run Drogba out again against Newcastle this Saturday if I was in charge.
  • I don't know that Villas-Boas really gave a damn if Torres and Lukaku worked together in that formation (or if Lampard and Josh were a good pairing).  It seemed he wanted to get some players some game time and didn't really care about the fit.  Fine by me as well, but I wish it had been a bit more fun to watch.
  • All in all I'm a bit disappointed by the loss strictly for the fact that we won't have two semi-finals to run out the youth again.  Then again, I'm not sure we'd have still played the youngsters if we advanced that far, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise.  I'm not really at all upset by the loss when it comes right down to it and we're in a decent position rest wise for the weekend coming up.  With the Carling Cup over and Michael Essien back in training (YAY!!!) we should really be looking at finding Josh a new home on loan come January.  Please leave your thoughts on the match in the comments section, but I think it's important to keep in mind that we clearly viewed this competition as something less than important to win.

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