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Carling Cup: Chelsea V Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool progressed to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Just 9 days after meeting them in the Premier League, Chelsea sought revenge for a late Glen Johnson winner. But a goal for Max, his second in two weeks against the Blues, and a debut goal for Martin Kelly continued Kenny Dalglish’s unbeaten managerial record against the London outfit.
With the Reds playing just 48 hours earlier, Dalglish introduced a host of changes to the starting line-up. Jamie Carragher returned from injury, along with Craig Bellamy. There were also starts for Martin Kelly, Andy Carroll, Sebastian Coates, Maxi Rodriguez and Jay Spearing, all looking to impress for the upcoming league games. Former Red Fernando Torres also found himself in Chelsea’s starting line-up after being left out of the previous game.
Before kick-off, both fan groups and teams held an emotional round of applause in memory of Gary Speed.
The match got off to a controversial start, after just 3 minutes, David Luiz appealed for a penalty for a foul on Coates. But referee Phil Dowd dismissed the claims and punished the Brazilian for simulation.
At the other end it was a role reversal, Andy Carroll going down in the penalty area appealing for a penalty under David Luiz’s challenge, but the referee dismissed the claims once again.
Approaches from both sides were tentative; Neither team tried to take chances, resulting in limited opportunities. The game was far from a classic so far.
Then in the 22nd minute, Alex dealt with Jose Enrique’s cross inside the box under pressure from Andy Carroll. Liverpool were awarded a penalty. The Liverpool number 9 stepped up to the spot but saw his fierce drive saved by Ross Turnbull’s dive. A concession to the blues.
Romelu Lukaku then went close, curling in a narrow header from Jose Bosingwa’s cross. Leaving both teams level going into the first half.
Liverpool started the second half at a high tempo, Craig Bellamy leading various counter-attacks as Chelsea and Liverpool pushed forward in search of an opener.
11 minutes after the restart, Chelsea’s best chance of the game was cleared off the line. Florent Malouda headed Frank Lampard’s deep free-kick, his effort deflected off the crossbar falling to David Luiz. But the Brazilian’s effort was instinctively stopped on the line by Uruguayan Coates.
Chelsea were then made to pay for their loss. With Liverpool opening the scoring in the 58th minute. Jordan Henderson brilliantly broke through the Chelsea defense with a pinpoint pass picking out Craig Bellamy, the Welshman broke away from the Chelsea defense and fired a low cross into the face of goal for Maxi Rodriguez, leaving him with the simple task of struck in a simple conclusion. . The Argentine continues his free streak of goals.
The Reds then added to their lead 5 minutes later. Martin Kelly headed in from close range after a well-placed Craig Bellamy shot. The 21-year-old’s first goal for the club was enough to send the 5,000 traveling Kopi into raptures.
Celebrations were soon reduced to anxious worries as an injury to Lucas dampened spirits. The Brazilian has been a key figure in this Liverpool squad and everyone will be hoping that the injury is not serious.
Chelsea then had two late chances to get back into the game. Anelka couldn’t beat the oncoming Reina, followed by the Spaniard who then saved a header from Fernando Torres.
Liverpool were held on to march into the semi-finals, where they will find out their opponents on Wednesday evening.
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