Ian Rush - credit to Ancelotti for Chelsea plan and why LFC ownership must be sorted out

By Ian Rush on May 4, 10 08:38 AM in Columnists

YOU have to give credit to Carlo Ancelotti for getting his tactics right at Anfield.

Initially, it looked as though Chelsea didn't want to take the game to Liverpool. They were quite happy where they were. Chelsea were set up to prevent us moving the ball forward.

By closing Liverpool down and not allowing us time on the ball, Chelsea forced the mistake for the first goal.

In football you instinctively look to play forward. If nothing is on you then look sideways and eventually backwards.

The way Chelsea were set up, it's difficult for Steven Gerrard to go anywhere other than backwards from the position he's in when he makes a wayward back pass.

By forcing him backwards Didier Drogba is then alert to the danger and does what he does best to hand Chelsea the lead.

Ancelotti had done his homework. Liverpool sometimes have a tendency not to look forward first, and sideways or backwards becomes the first option.

While Gerrard will be first to admit he's made a mistake, it's the positioning of Chelsea's players that has restricted his options and forced him into the error.

Liverpool looked the stronger team before that. But once that first goal goes in it changed everything.

Had it still been nil-nil at half-time I'm sure Chelsea would have changed their tactics.

Their initial plan has paid off though, and that's why you have to applaud Ancelotti for getting it right.

I always thought it would be decided on who got the first goal. If Liverpool had scored first we're looking at a different game.
Fatigue has come into it too. The Europa League semi-final defeat just a few days earlier will have taken a lot out of the players.

If you're winning, you don't get tired. But if you're losing, you do; both physically and mentally. Players like Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt have played in nearly every game this season. It's bound to catch up with you at some point.

It's been a long season and those 120 minutes against Atletico Madrid on Thursday will have played into Chelsea's hands in terms of fitness.

Champions League miss is not a hammer blow

MISSING out on the Champions League for one year may not be such a problem for Liverpool.

We can't afford much more than that though. Two or three years out of the competition would hit our finances hard.

Liverpool will have a fight on their hands to reclaim fourth place though.

If Tottenham finish fourth they will then have the finances to attract bigger names.

Manchester City on the other hand will no doubt throw money at it whether they get there or not.

So while Liverpool will now realise we don't have a divine right to be in the Champions League year after year, the onus has got to be on getting back there as soon as possible.

LFC ownership must be sorted out

THE ownership and managerial situation at the club has dominated the build-up to recent games.

Both issues have to be sorted out soon. We don't want to be going into next season with things unresolved.

Rafa Benitez has said he needs five new players to compete at the top end of the table. Without new owners it's not clear where funds will come from.

The other side of that is to look at what we did last year - coming a close second to Manchester United - and ask why we can't do it again.

We've only really lost Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia and Alvaro Arbeloa since then, while Alberto Aquilani, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Glen Johnson have come in.

The difference this year is that too many players haven't performed. There's no reason why they can't rediscover that form though.

The pressure that comes with being at a big club means you have to reproduce year after year.

With just one game left at Hull this weekend it will then be time for everyone to regroup and ask where do we go from here?

The most important thing is the football club, which is bigger and better than everyone who has come and gone over the years, be that Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Kenny Dalglish or whoever.

We have to get Liverpool back to where it belongs, challenging for and winning trophies

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