Troubled water under bridge

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, shaking hands with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at the end of the match, gets his first league victory after taking over.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, shaking hands with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at the end of the match, gets his first league victory after taking over.PHOTO: REUTERS

Chelsea are sunk by another loss, with Klopp's Reds showing more verve and incisiveness

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Chelsea 1

Liverpool 3

LONDON • If Jose Mourinho was already teetering on the brink, then this is the kind of result that pushes any manager into the abyss.

Chelsea, just as they had against Southampton earlier in the month, led early only to disintegrate at Stamford Bridge.

His team, in truth, had been utterly outplayed almost from the moment they had gone ahead through Ramires in the fourth minute.

Liverpool, revived by Juergen Klopp, were snappier in the pass, more incisive in their approach and more confident in their style.

The opening goal itself had been superbly crafted. Chelsea had combined effectively down their left, outnumbering and outpassing Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner with Eden Hazard, a central No. 10, eventually clipping Cesar Azpilicueta to the by-line.

The full-back wriggled well clear of Milner and had time to twist his body and arc over a right-footed centre which Ramires headed down and through Simon Mignolet.

A confident Chelsea would have capitalised on that lead. But the Reds fought back, snuffing out the hosts' threat at source and pressing them deeper and deeper.

John Obi Mikel was caught in possession to set the tone. The sight of Gary Cahill and John Terry flinging themselves in the way of battered attempts drew appreciation from those in the stands but the desperation of the defending reflected a shift in momentum.

The hosts were praying for a half-time whistle they felt should have sounded earlier, Mourinho waiting in the mouth of the tunnel, when Philippe Coutinho gathered on the edge of the box, cut inside Ramires' lunge and curled a sumptuous shot inside the far post beyond Asmir Begovic's dive.

The nerves gripped thereafter, just as they had against Southampton. Mourinho's decision to haul off Hazard before the hour mark reflected that the Belgian's performance had faded badly.

Oscar's chip from outside the box, which Mignolet pawed away, was audacious but was arguably the best chance Chelsea had created in an hour. After all, they finished with two shots on target; Liverpool - seven, with 57 per cent of the ball.

Mark Clattenburg's decision not to show Lucas a second yellow card after fouls on Mikel and Ramires within 10 minutes prompted sarcastic applause, the Portuguese sporting that disbelieving smile that has flashed across his face so regularly in recent weeks.

It was a decision that Liverpool exploited. Coutinho gathered possession just inside the home side's penalty area, calmly shifted his body and whipped in a shot that flicked off the advancing Terry to career beyond Begovic.

But Liverpool were not done. This was Southampton repeated, the space in which substitute Christian Benteke - a la Graziano Pelle on Oct 3 - was permitted to collect and slot a shot through Cahill and inside the far corner inexcusable.

After 11 league games this season, Mourinho has now lost six - he has never lost more in a Premier League campaign. At a post-match interview with BT Sport, he responded to a flurry of questions by saying: "I have nothing to say."

Pressed over his future, he said he was not worried, and added that Chelsea's fans, who chanted his name throughout the game, were "not stupid".

Mourinho's position and his team's desperate form overshadowed Klopp's first league win as Anfield boss.

"We had not the best start, that's the truth. We had our moments, our build-up with short passes was very good. They tried to make pressure but we could play in the spaces in between," he said.

"We made a goal and deserved the draw at half-time. The second half was open and we made our goals at perfect moments for us.

"I feel it's deserved." THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'Troubled water under bridge'. Print Edition | Subscribe