The Reds have a battle on their hands if they are to progress to the final of this years Champions League after going down 1-0 at Chelsea. The defeat means more pressure will build for the return leg next Tuesday when the Reds will well and truly need their twelfth man.
Chelsea deserved the win in this game from their first half performance where they worked Reina and ultimately scored. The Reds were the better side in the second half but rarely troubled Cech in the Chelsea goal although he did pull off a superb save from Steven Gerrard.
The two sides came out at Stamford Bridge to huge noise although that only stayed noisy in the Liverpool end mainly throughout the game. Before the match started their was time to remember Alan Ball who had sadly passed away on the morning of the game.
The Reds got the game underway and nearly created a chance on three minutes when Gerrard crossed for Kuyt but the ball was cut out before it reached him.
Chelsea were the better side in the first half but this was made easier as well by some awful passing from the Reds.
After just five minutes Mascherano gave the ball away and Drogba charged towards the area but thankfully he was over greedy and ran in to a brick wall from the Reds.
On seven minutes Drogba won a header in the area which fell invitingly for Lampard who hit a great shot only to see Reina adjust his position really well and pull off a great save. A minute later and Shevchenko sent a shot just over the bar.
On sixteen a loose ball from Riise sent Drogba flying down the inside right but his attempted ball to the completely free Cole was cut out and the danger gone. It was a huge warning though.
Chelsea were well on top and looking likely to score at any time. On twenty minutes Drogba went close with a header. A couple of minutes later and Lampard went really close with a free kick which Reina seemed to see really late.
Chelsea took the lead on twenty nine minutes. Carvalho took the ball out of defence and fed Drogba down the inside right. He raced Agger who failed to hold him up or tackle him. Drogba crossed for the on rushing Joe Cole to fire him before Arbeloa could react.
The goal had been coming but if anything after it the Reds seemed able to get hold of the ball a bit better. They started passing it about and had certainly highlighted Ferreira as a man to attack. For all the Reds play though they never actually tested Cech.
The nearest to a chance the Reds had was on thirty seven minutes when Gerrard beat Ashley Cole in the air only to send his header over the bar.
The second half got underway with no changes made but the Reds were intent on getting back in to the game. Crouch had warmed up during the interval so I expected to see him soon.
A minutes in to the half and Gerrard shot just over the bar. Riise shot straight at Cech and then minutes later Kuyt headed just over the bar.
The Reds were ready to make a change though and Crouch replaced Bellamy on fifty two minutes. His first action was going for a header in the are but Mikel managed to nod it down. Gerrard volleyed the ball to the bottom corner only to see a massive dive from Cech turn the ball away. It would have been a great goal but instead a world class save kept Chelsea from conceding that all important away goal.
The Reds were dominating the second half in terms of possession but rarely involving their strikers or forcing their keeper in to anything.
On seventy one minutes Drogba went down injured on the touchline which got Chelsea all hot and bothered. The Ref played on until the ball went out and then still told him to roll the three inches he needed to get off the pitch if he needed treatment. Miracles then struck as he got up and raced back to help his defence out.
The sole yellow card of the game came on seventy seven minutes when Mascherano lost the ball and then hauled Lampard to the floor in trying to retrieve the situation.
Reina pulled off a great save with ten minutes to go when Lampard was given too much space. A great save though which kept the Reds in it.
Alonso went off for the final eight minutes and was replaced by Pennant who wasn't given enough time to get in to the game nor was he given much of the ball as the final ten minutes became a bit frantic.
Chances in the final two added minutes of play fell to each side. Agger first shot from long range but straight at Cech and then at the other end Drogba nearly scored off a corner with Reina beaten. Thankfully the ball sailed wide though.
Overall a disappointing night but having seen the first half we were lucky to keep it at one. The biggest disappointment of the night was not scoring though. That said we never really looked like scoring apart from the Gerrard volley which was disappointing.
MotM : Jose Reina - kept the Reds in it on a number of occasion with some great saves. How crucial they become will be told next week.