Steven Gerrard was asked if the Premiership title race was over after today’s defeat against Chelsea, but denied it was: "We’re a long way behind but I’m not going to concede any title in October. I’m the captain of the club and it’s my job to drive the lads on. I don’t think there’s a massive gap between the teams and I don’t think the gap is 4-1. We played really well and the scoreline does not give a true reflection of the game."
Echoing the views of anyone who took more than a superficial look at the game, Gerrard feels that the two teams are close to each other in ability, and that the half-time score of 2-1 was more of a reflection of how things should have been. Gerrard says: "We were disappointed to come in 2-1 down. We were still in it but we were punished twice when we were chasing the game. Every team in Europe has weaknesses but they have very few and they are hard to find. They don’t leave much space and they are a great side."
Again Liverpool had no luck with the referee – Didier Drogba was let off from being cautioned despite persistent fouls and complaints. When he was eventually booked, for raising his arms at a Liverpool player, referee Graham Poll decided to book Jamie Carragher too. Carragher’s crime? He stepped in to try and make peace as the hot-headed striker was attempting to attack another Liverpool star. These kinds of decisions don’t necessarily change games, but certainly cause concern.
As for manager Rafael Benitez, he feels that Liverpool were punished because their need to score allowed Chelsea to score on the break: "In the first half we played really well and in the first 25 minutes we were in control. We were pressing them at the start of the second half and the third goal was the most important one. It’s more difficult to score two goals for a draw. We try and go
higher with more risk but we gave them chances on the counter-attack
and it is difficult when you have to play high up the field."
Rafa may be wishing he’d been able to sign Mark Gonzales and Simao Sabrosa for the new season. The two wingers would have been ideal for today’s game. For now thought Rafa is going to think about the future, not the past, and as most of his players disappear for the international break, Rafa will be planning the next match: "We need to think about the next game. I’m not thinking about Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United, I’m thinking about how to improve the team and prepare the team for the next game."
If Liverpool could start winning games against the teams outside that top three, they’d have more chance of being in contention for the title. Beating the top three should be the icing on the cake, but too many draws against teams like Birmingham and Middlesborough will see Liverpool struggling to qualify for the Champions League again, let alone win the league.