After Chelsea’s miserable season took another turn for the worse with a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, does Jose Mourinho deserve the chance to put things right?
Jose Mourinho believes the conspiracy continues.
But, quite simply, Chelsea were outplayed by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Defeat was deserved and Mourinho’s future descends further into uncertainty.
The case for the defence is flimsy. Probably even non-existent.
Chelsea looked a shell of their former selves against Jurgen Klopp’s vibrant men in red. In fact, the only real obvious reminder from last year’s title-winning season was the almost obligatory moment of Diego Costa controversy/thuggery.
Mourinho will certainly question why Mark Clattenburg went into a third minute of added time in the first half, allowing Philippe Coutinho to equalise, and also why the ref didn’t send Lucas off midway through the second half with the score at 1-1.
But if he’s going down the ‘what if’ route again, how about Costa escaping a red card for kicking Martin Skrtel in the stomach just past the hour mark?
Chelsea are a mess. Defensively they’re an accident waiting to happen, the bite has gone from midfield and up front the bull that is Costa has lost his horns.
And let’s not forget, this latest turmoil came after they’d been gifted a goal inside five minutes.
It looked ominous for Liverpool when Ramires nipped in ahead of a sleeping and flat-footed Alberto Moreno to put the Blues 1-0 ahead.
Having scored more than a single goal in just one game all season and without a recognised striker on the pitch, how were the Reds going to win now? Even a draw seemed a tall order, especially when Chelsea threatened a second from a free-kick.
But slowly and surely Liverpool got a hold of the game, bossing possession, winning all the second balls and reducing Chelsea to scraps on the break.
Apart from the lively Willian, their threat was minimal. Where was Eden Hazard? Mourinho must have wondered too and gave up on him with less than an hour on the clock. Having not scored in 19 games for Chelsea, the Belgian couldn’t really argue but getting subbed that early was still a minor humiliation to a player we were led to believe last season was only a rung or two below Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
By the time Hazard was hooked, Liverpool were already level thanks to Coutinho’s superb curled effort in what we now might now call Klopp time rather than Fergie time.
For a few minutes after the interval, Chelsea looked bright but it soon became clear their confidence was paper-thin. Dragged down by the vicious circle of their own uncertainly and an anxious crowd, the hosts allowed Liverpool to play what was in front of them rather than a team of title winners.
And what was in front of Liverpool was a team there for the taking.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, the Klopp effect has already started to kick in at Anfield so Liverpool grasped the opportunity with both hands. Coutinho fired Liverpool in front and Christian Benteke, providing the Reds with an obvious and crucial focal point after his introduction just past the hour mark, was given all the time in the world to turn in the box and fire in the killer third.
Both Coutinho and Benteke’s goals took slight deflections but that’s what happens to teams when the chips are down.
The stats now make horrific reading for Mourinho.
Chelsea have lost six times in the Premier League this season and it’s still October. Last season they entered December unbeaten. Mourinho has never lost more than six games in a PL campaign.
When the whistle blew for full-time, Chelsea had the joint worst defensive record in the Premier League having shipped 22 goals in 11 games. Astonishingly, they’ve already conceded more goals at home (10) than they did in the whole of last season.
“Until someone mathematically wins the title, we are the champions,” a defiant Mourinho had said ahead of kick-off.
After today’s wretched performance, they are champions in name only. Chelsea will not win the title this season; that is now certain.
Roman Abramovic must now decide whether Mourinho deserves the opportunity to drag them back into a Champions League slot.
The temptation to pull the trigger must be huge. For now, Chelsea look like a busted flush and something has to change quickly.
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