Liverpool is going through a mini crisis. A small one, but with this year's Premiership, with Portsmouth, Everton, and Aston Villa as the barbarians at the gates, every match has become as important as the next one. Last match, Liverpool was bludgeoned by Everton, 3-0. A game that left them forgetting the most elementary football skills. Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyppia played atrociously. A display so pitiful, that Carragher had to issue a public apology to Reds fans. Pepe Reina featured in the football bloopers of the year. Last week will not go down as one of the more illustrous periods in Reds history.
However, this season was not just about blunting Chelsea's hold on the Premiership but to march back into the Champions League. Last week's match left everybdoy scratching their heads, as Benitez left Steven Gerrard on the bench against PSV Eindhoven. The game muddled along, till Rafa had the bright idea of introducing Gerrard. Was Rafa's idea of playing against PSV without Gerrard akin to men who think they can wrestle with one hand tied to their back? PSV walked of with a draw, one that they were grateful for but a match that Liverpool should have won.
Whatever it is, the game against Chelsea tomorrow means that Liverpool cannot afford a defensive meltdown like that against Everton, otherwise Drogba and Shevchenko might run up a half dozen. But a match against a club like Chelsea is never just another match, so here you have Rafa playing mindgames.