Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea far from moral victory

Liverpool drew 1-1 with Chelsea at Anfield in the first leg of its Capital One Cup semifinal tie, and considering the Barclay’s Premier League form of both of these teams that may be considered a victory. However, this is soccer and moral victories mean very little.

While ties could be considered the very definition of a “moral victory,” the Reds needed more than some sort of confidence booster heading over to Stamford Bridge. That place has become impenetrable for opposing teams as of late and with an away goal in hand the Blues are already on the front foot heading home.

One wouldn’t think that based on the stats, where Liverpool held a 62-38 possession advantage and 6-1 advantage on shots on goal. However, stats can lie and Tuesday’s tie between two of the big boys of English soccer was a great example of that.

This game’s beauty lies in the fact that it takes all 11 men to win. Chelsea hasn’t had to count on goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois much this season, but he came up huge when finally called upon to be the man to keep his team in the match.

He faced 19 total shots and made sure five of the six that were on frame didn’t punch the back of the old onion bag.

Chelsea were first on the scoreboard thanks to Eden Hazard’s penalty in the 18th minute, making it 1-0 and serving as a reminder that while the night may have had Liverpool with the chances there is plenty of work still to do at the back.

With a new three central defender back line, Liverpool were caught out while attempting to swing things to the offensive end. Emre Can was caught out by Cesc Fàbregas’s run to the byline and he clipped Hazard in a clumsy attempt to make up for that mistake.

After that first goal, it appeared Chelsea were more content to sit on an away lead and head back to Stamford Bridge. It just so happened that they couldn’t absorb all the pressure Liverpool put on them in the second half.

The hero for Chelsea, Courtois, eventually gave way thanks to Raheem Sterling’s brilliant run and strike to knot the game at 1-1 in the second half. However, it wasn’t his fault in the least as you can see here:

No doubt Sterling’s goal was a piece of individual brilliance, but it’s also hard to shake the fact that despite not allowing a shot on goal the score is 1-1 heading in to the second leg of the semifinal tie. It should be especially deflating because the Reds put everything in to winning the home tie in this affair but have exactly nothing to show for it.

That wasn’t how Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers saw it though, despite Mourinho describing it afterwards as a fair result. Rodgers smiled knowingly at that one. “It’s fair when you should lose,” he pointed out.

However, that may be a bit of rose colored glasses given the team’s second half effort and Chelsea’s attempt to take the foot off the gas after opening up the scoring at Anfield.

A tie may not be the worst thing in the world for Liverpool given what is happening to them in regular BPL play. However, Liverpool clearly threw the kitchen sink at Chelsea in the hopes of putting the pressure on the Blues for the second leg of this tie.

Instead of coming away with a win or a scoreless draw, Liverpool got itself in to a position to have to score away from home. The issue isn’t scoring goals on the road, as they score more away than at Anfield (16 to 15 in BPL action), rather it’s stopping the opposition from scoring. Liverpool have given up 16 goals away from home (compared to 11 to opposition at home) and are facing the team tied for the most goals at home (24) in the BPL.

So, while Sterling’s 40-yard individual goal and the the domination on the stat sheet felt great, the prospects of winning this thing on the road after that effort are rather deflating. After seeing a second half of domination Reds fans should be asking where the hell that effort was in the first half or throughout the rest of the season.

Rodgers can talk all he wants about being the better side on the pitch, but the scoreboard says things are even and that’s all that matters.

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!