Chelsea put behind the disappointment of a humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of Bradford City on Saturday by beating Liverpool and reaching the League Cup final. Brendan Rodgers gave the impression that Chelsea were second-best in all areas during the first leg. Some of it may be true, but Jose Mourinho provided the emphatic response on the pitch with a complete performance.
Branislav Ivanovic scored the only goal of the game in extra time and this was probably just result given the way Chelsea dominated after half-time. Chelsea did have to pay a huge price for this victory with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis having to be taken off. While the absence of Luis will not be a major concern now that Caesar Azpilicueta is back, it would be a major blow if Fabregas misses the match on Saturday.
The victory provides great confidence ahead of the league match against Manchester City on Saturday. Even the ardent blue supporters will find it difficult to get a ticket website offering tickets for this match.
Mourinho identified after the first leg that Gary Cahill was exposed to often by Raheem Sterling. His solution came in the form of Kurt Zouma, who is starting to impress with every appearance. It was hard to believe that the French international was just 20-years-old. Such was the confidence that he displayed while handling Sterling, who has been in amazing form this season. One can watch the match by getting access at ticket websites.
It would not be surprising if Zouma establishes himself as a first-team regular even before the end of this campaign.
Diego Costa made sure that he was never to be missed in the match, as he was involved in a number of incidents involving Emre Can, Steven Gerrard, and Martin Skrtel. It remains to be seen if the 26-year-old will attract any FA charge for his alleged stamp, although it appears to be nothing more than just an unintentional incident.
There was a danger of Chelsea’s season crumbling within a week. The blues have gone some way into ensuring that it is not the case with this win over Liverpool. Now, a repeat against City is essential and not a luxury.