Wednesday 13 November 2019

Vicious tackle shows Fabregas doesn't want Sterling at Chelsea - Five things we learned from Stamford Bridge

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea and Raheem Sterling of Liverpool
Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea and Raheem Sterling of Liverpool

Cesc Fabregas looks like he does not want Raheem Sterling to play for Chelsea after a vicious tackle - five things we learned from Stamford Bridge.

Could Sterling be a team-mate of Fabregas?

If Chelsea are planning a charm offensive to lure Raheem Sterling to Stamford Bridge this summer, nobody told Cesc Fabregas.

Fàbregas's challenge on the England forward just 30 seconds into the match was simply charmless and offensive. The Spaniard got away with a yellow card but could easily have received the red card mistakenly shown to John Mikel Obi by referee Andre Marriner who got both cards and players confused.

Mikel did eventually get booked for a second half foul on Sterling as the Liverpool player's influence grew in the second period. Sterling is due to open contract talks with Liverpool this summer and his display will have done nothing to diminish Mourinho's interest in the player.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: Captain John Terry of Chelsea leads out his team through a guard of honour by the Liverpool players during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on May 10, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

Guard of honour must have hurt

The question whether Liverpool would be willing to form aguard of honour was answered when Brendan Rodgers' players did the honourable thing and applauded the champions onto the field.

Last year, Jose Mourinho had resolved his side would not play the clowns at Liverpool's circus when Chelsea visited Anfield as Rodgers' team battled for the title. Twelve months on, Liverpool had little option but to fill the supporting role at Stamford Bridge.

And it must have been even more galling for the visitors that Chelsea's entrance was given the full treatment with flames fired into theair as Mourinho's men made their entrance on a blue carpet.

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) leads the applause after Liverpool's English midfielder Steven Gerrard (R) is substituted during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on May 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images

Mourinho can learn something from Gerrard

Mourinho spoke warmly about Gerrard in his programme notes,insisting the Liverpool captain had helped make him a better manager. "We need dear enemies to be better, to be pushed to our limits and no one in this country was dear enemy better than Steven Gerrard; a super player and a goodman for sure," wrote the manager.

Some Chelsea supporters made it clear they didn't share their manager's regard for the midfielder, but Gerrard's 44th minute equaliser ensured the midfielder marked his final visit to Stamford Bridge by pushing Mourinho and his players one last time.

The final lesson for the Portuguese? Don't allow Gerrard a freeheader six yards out of goal. But then he knew that already...

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: John Terry (obscured) of Chelsea is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on May 10, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Terry's goal shows why Liverpool fell short

It wasn't so much the manner in which Terry put Chelsea ahead - the centre-back was allowed to rise unhindered to meet Cesc Fabregas' cross - but the fact that it was the 10th time a Chelsea defender has found the net in the Premier League this season. The tally for Liverpool's strikers? Just eight.

No matter how damaging the loss of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge to injury, Brendan Rodgers had every right to expect more from the forwards brought in to fill the gap. Yesterday it was Rickie Lambert's turn to lead the attack but the former Southampton man rarely looked like adding to his tally of two league goals.

Chelsea debut boy Ruben Loftus-Cheek goes head-to-head with Steven Gerrard

Loftus-Cheek gives hope to Chelsea's youngsters

The true test of Mourinho's commitment to promoting from within lies ahead, but the decision to give Ruben Loftus-Cheek a first start is astep in the right direction.

No player has graduated through the ranks and become a first-team regular since John Terry broke through more than a decade. Since then, a succession of youngsters have come close before falling short but Chelsea's success in winning the Uefa Youth League and the FA Youth Cup this season confirms the depth of talent at the club.

Whether Loftus-Cheek will break that run remains to be seen,but he performed well enough during his 60-minute appearance to suggest hedeserves his chance.

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