Almost a week has passed since Florent Malouda’s scrambled goal sealed Chelsea’s win over Liverpool in Stamford Bridge, but the game’s repercussions rumble on.
Chelsea’s players have been regular fixtures in this week’s sports pages, all championing their chances of reclaiming the BPL trophy. Liverpool, meanwhile, have been subjected to the sort of withering media scrutiny we haven’t seen for a long time. Hence the comment I heard from a member of Liverpool’s backroom staff when we met at the Bridge ahead of Sunday’s game.
Games like the one against Chelsea are troubling affairs for Liverpool, he said because, “if we win they’ll all say we should go on and win the title, but if we lose we’ll be called no-hopers”.
Those comments, which at the time seemed a little paranoid, have since proved to be accurate in that the media has wasted no time in jumping all over the Merseysiders.
“Gillett blames Benitez” (or variations on that simple message) is a headline you will have seen this week. To clarify, the story that followed was not a response to the Chelsea result, but rather a leaked report of an “informal” meeting between Liverpool co-owner George Gillett and a representative of fans group Spirit of Shankly.
The killer quote on which this story hung went as follows: “If it’s not getting better, it’s not because of Gillett and Hicks — it’s the manager, the scouting.”
Chelsea enjoyed a much sunnier media climate this week. A 2-0 defeat for the reserves at the hands of Arsenal was spun into a positive as it had allowed Joe Cole to continue his comeback after eight months out.