Ramires opened the scoring early on in Saturday’s lunchtime match but the visitors levelled on the stroke of half-time and then made the best of their attacks later in the game.
An incongruous start to the glorious match report from the 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool on Chelsea’s official website. It involves tales of woe, questioning of the officials on more than one occasion, and suggesting that players surrounding the referee is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
‘There was again the feeling that little is going our way at the present time,’ was the main
persecution complex conclusion drawn when discussing Philippe Coutinho’s first-half equaliser. As opposed to a succinct description of captain John Terry’s defending, this was more a complaint over Coutinho’s goal being scored 20 seconds after the allotted two minutes of stoppage time. ‘The question though was where had the extra seconds added on to the signalled stoppage time come from, that allowed enough time for the goal to be scored?’ screamed the official match report, completely ignoring the fact that the announced stoppage time – as is football protocol – was a minimum of two minutes.
Complaints over the officiating seemed to be the general theme of the match report. ‘The foul had been by Lucas, who repeated the offence on eight minutes on Diego Costa but was only spoken to by referee Mark Clattenburg’, ‘Emre Can painfully went through Willian, but again just words from the ref followed. It would not be the only foul on the Brazilian’. This, of course, was building up to a crescendo: Lucas’ non-red card.
With the Brazilian midfielder already on a booking, Lucas prevented a Ramires-led Chelsea counter-attack with a cynical foul. A free-kick had been awarded by Clattenburg, but, much to Chelsea’s derision, not a second yellow.
‘Mikel became our first booking for a foul on Lallana,’ begins the official Chelsea description. ‘Quite rightly, our midfielder and many others were asking why Lucas, already on a yellow, was not shown another for a foul just as bad moments later.’
The FA’s respect campaign explicitly states that any of the following are not allowed: ‘Running towards the referee in an aggressive manner’, ‘players surrounding the referee to protest a decision’, ‘repeatedly asking questions about decisions in an attempt to influence the referee or undermine his/her responsibilities and ‘repeatedly moaning at the referee about decisions’. While they may have felt – rightly or wrongly – aggrieved at Lucas staying on the field, the actions of the Chelsea players afterwards were literally not ‘quite right’.
But, after describing Coutinho’s second to make it 2-1 as ‘sickening’ – Liverpool had had 10 attempts to Chelsea’s five at this point – and lamenting the ‘slight deflection’ on Christian Benteke’s crowning goal (there is no mention of the woeful defending which facilitated it), the match report came to its beautiful conclusion.
Strangely, there is no mention of a kick to the chest of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel courtesy of Diego Costa. Said kick could yet land the striker a four-game FA ban, according to widespread reports.
There is also no mention of the stats from this ‘keenly contested’ and ‘evenly balanced’ game, so we feel we should oblige: Chelsea had eight shots to Liverpool’s 16, including two shots on target to seven, Liverpool played 147 more passes than Chelsea, and the visitors had 57.3% possession overall. Plus, of course, the scoreline and stuff.