1 Oct 2009

Liverpool to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge = Mission (almost) Impossible.

Liverpool need to bounce back from the Fiorentina defeat with a solid performance against Chelsea, and whilst it would be a fantastic achievement to win at Stamford Bridge, the club's abject record there means it’s (arguably) almost a statistical impossibility.

Let’s just look at the cold hard facts:

All time competitive games at Stamford Bridge (Since 1907)*
Played - 76
Won - 17
Drawn - 17
Lost – 42
Failure to win in 77% of competitive games.

Last 10 years

Played – 18
Won – 2
Drawn – 4
Lost – 12
Failure to win in 88% of competitive games.

Last 5 years
Played - 11
Won – 1
Drawn – 4
Lost – 6
Failure to win in 90% of competitive games.

Premier League Only (1992-Present)
Played - 17
Won – 2
Drawn – 4
Lost – 11
Failure to win in 88% of competitive games.

Recent history has been more encouraging though, with Liverpool not losing any of the last 5 league encounters against Chelsea (home or away) Having said that, Chelsea hardly ever lose two league games in a row, and - worryingly for Liverpool - have not done so for years.

Statistically, it seems unlikely that Liverpool will win at Chelsea, but hopefully the club will put on a good display and exorcise its current hoodoo, i.e. only beating lesser teams and losing against good opposition.

I personally don't think this is a must-win game. At the start of the season
I made a list of all LFC's fixtures and marked down whether each one should be a 'must-win', 'acceptable draw' or 'probable defeat, and for this game I put 'acceptable draw'.

It would be fantastic to get a win but given Liverpool's dire record at Stamford bridge, a draw would not be the end of the world. Plus, teams will inevitably draw games every season, and there's no shame in drawing against Chelsea.

Having said that, as Liverpool proved last season, the players are
more than capable of winning at the Bridge, so barring weird formations, illogical tactical decisions and dropping players who deserve to play, there's no reason why we can't have a repeat performance this season.


  1. I think your being a bit harsh, last year we did the double over both Man U and Chelsea, so reacent history says we are in with a really good chance.

    Come on you REDS!!!!

  2. You're right, Andy. Recent history is looking good for us.  I did actually mention that in the article.  I have no doubt that we can win the game, even though it is statistically unlikely.

    If we take our recent league form into the game then we have every chance :-)

  3. Statistically, Chelsea had not been beaten at home for something like 2 years until guess who broke the record last year. Statistically, Liverpool under Rafa had not been beaten in Italy until a few days ago.

    Statistics, like opinions, are highly subjective and are only valid until they change. Interesting stats, though, Jaimie. I think, looking at Rafa's time against Chelsea, the important thing is that we have repeatedly matched, or even out-performed them and the games have been turned by the smallest of details (Joe Cole deflections, for instance). From that point of view, we have as good a chance of winning as losing or drawing. As a fan, of course I believe we are going to win. Ever the optimist! Should we lose, we will have been robbed and a draw will be the fault of the referee - two statistics that will NEVER change!

  4. You're right about the recent statistical milestones, and re Chelsea, that's a very good reason why Liverpool have a good chance of getting something out of the game this Sunday.  The team is more than capable of winning; here's hoping they do it on the day.

  5. Liverpool have a pretty good chance of beating Chelsea at the bridge if they take the game to them and not play defensively. A draw would suit me just fine ,as a Manc, but i think it will be a classic game in the mould of last yr's champs league quarterfinals. I think this is a game where Benayoun might have a great impact...with too much attention focused on Torres & Gerrard.

  6. It all depends on the players at the moment they enter the field. If they turn up, then we can give Chelsea the run for their money. Both are wounded animals after the CL games. But if you ask me, I think Chelsea, home ground, good players, good coach, we need to play 110% and Chelsea playing below 100% - then we can a good chance.

    If we play 100% and Chelsea play 100%, it's going to be a draw. So no mistakes.

  7. Hard to say which way this will go seeing as Liverpool are so inconsistent (well just plain rubbish) in defence.

    It's really only the defense that has let Liverpool down so far this season. Even against Villa (and to a lesser extent against Spurs and Fiorentina) it was mostly down to rubbish defending that they lost. If carra is singled out and drogba is up for it... unhappy face time I think.

    A draw would be ok but I think a defeat is more likely.

  8. Play Gerrard in midfield with Mascherano AND drop Lucas, then pool will have a chance

  9. How many sides have a better record than than us @ the Bridge ...?

    Have you been to the Bridge when we've played them ?

    You are using statics in isolation to motivate your article and opinions , if you are going to criticise LFC then it is only fair to offer other clubs stats as well, to have all the information before forming a limited opinion.

  10. So what bizarre formations do you think Rafa might employ?  More succinctly, what formation do you think we should play, given current injuries and fitness levels?  Do we go with the 4-2-3-1?  What if Mascherano is injured?  What about the 4-1-4-1 we used so effectively at home against the lesser lights?

    What players are you worrying about Rafa dropping?

    A winnable game, for sure (Chelsea have flattered to deceive), but like you, I think a draw or even a loss here would not be the end of the world (despite what the Heil and other rags/pundits might say).

  11. Hi Dave - as I'm sure you're aware, Rafa occasionally comes out with bizarre formations/decisions; case in point - playing Aurelio in central midfield against Fiorentina when Gerrard could've (and should've played there, especially since:

    a) Aurelio was returning fro injury
    b) He'd only ever played there once before for Liverpool
    c) He has no experience of playing alongside Lucas Leiva
    d) An Aurelio/Lucas partneship lacks strenght, tackling ability, dynamism and tenacity, all things needed in a defensive midfield position.
    e) Gerrard has played in central midfield this seaso to great effect

    Against Chelsea, it is important to win the midfield battle, so it is imperative that mascherano and Gerrard play there.  Lucas is progressing okay this season, but against the physical might of Chelsea's midfield, he is not the person for the job.

    Furthermore, given the suspect nature of our defence at the moment, extra protection is needed, especially given Didier Drogba's power and penchant for doing damage against Liverpool. With Gerrard and Masch in central midfield, they can provide extra defensive protection where needed.

    With regards to players - I want to see aces in their places; I don't want to see square pegs in round holes.  That means no left wingers on the right; no left backs in central defence, and no link men being wasted on the flanks.

    I want to see the following team/formation:

    --------------------- Reina

    Johnson -------- Carra --- Skrtel/Agger -------- Aurelio

     ---------------- Masch --- Gerrard

    Kuyt ------------- Benayoun --------- Riera

    --------------------- Torres

    Insua's form has dropped slightly over the last couple of games, and his defensive lapses against Fiorentina were glaring.  Aurelio is more experienced, so I would use him instead in this game.

    I don't want to see this team/formation:

    ---------------------- Reina

    Johnson -------- Carra -- Skrtel -------- Insua

    ------------------- Lucas --- Masch

    Kuyt --------------- Gerrard -------------Benayoun

    ---------------------- Torres

    The Gerrard/Torres partneship is not consistently effective against top class teams, and if Gerrard is marked out of the game, then Liverpool lose a lot of thrust and impact.

    Furthermore, if Gerrard is further up the field, Chelsea can bypass him and all they have to contend with in midfield is Masch and Lucas, which is not the strongest combination.

  12. Thanks for the detailed comments, Jaimie.  Certainly don't hate your first formation., although I suspect Benitez may disappoint you with the second.

    During the CL loss at Anfield, Essien completely dominated Stevie.  Wondering whether Stevie further forward or further back helps mitigate that particular match-up.

    As much as I hate to rush Danny back, with Skrtel's (and only marginally better Carra's) form, think I might risk bringing him back.  Would also consider Babel on the right, with Kuyt pushed up behind Torres to better exploit Chelsea's left side.  Believe Cole still doubtful.

  13. It was something more along the lines of 4 and a half years to memory

  14. I think you're right - the second formation is the most likely.

    You're also right about Essien - wherever gerrard plays he will have to shake him off, as I'm sure he will just follow Gerrard around the pitch.  With that in mind, I'd much rather this was in central midfield rather than in atack. If Essient is babysitting Gerrard then at least benayoun can have an impact further up the field.

    Agree re Agger as well - Skrtel and Carra have been below par for a while now; they need to be shaken up.  I'm worried about Drogba to be honest; Carra just doesn't have the pace to deal with him, and if he's on fire, we'll have problems.

    Babel on the right could be an option; the only think I'm worried about is what happens to benayoun if Kuyt is pushed up behind Torres.  I love seeing Yossi play behind Torres; putting him on the left makes Liverpool play more narrow as he always cuts inside.  With Riera, we have natural width to stretch the play.