Monday, April 21, 2014

Borini and Assaidi Help Liverpool's Title Tilt With Late Winners Against Chelsea

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have grabbed the headlines for Liverpool this season, but Brendan Rodgers also has two of his other forwards to thank for his side's five-point advantage at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi were both shipped out of the club on loan last summer after moving to Anfield a year earlier and, despite not playing for Rodgers' side this season, both have had their say on the title race with key goals against Chelsea.

Borini's late penalty for Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday not only earned the Black Cats a 2-1 win and three vital points in their fight against relegation to the Championship, it also put a huge dent in Jose Mourinho's hopes of overhauling Liverpool at the top of the table

Had Gus Poyet's side missed from the spot and the score remained the same, the Blues would've found themselves within four points of the Merseyside outfit with three games to play and a trip to Anfield still to come.

The impact of Liverpool's loanees on the race for the Premier League crown was also seen back in December when Assaidi scored a stunning injury-time winner against Mourinho's men.

In an entertaining game at the Britannia, two goals from Andre Schurrle had the visitors on level terms before the Morocco international bent the ball past Petr Cech from outside the area to seal a 3-2 victory for the Potters.

Without the former Heerenveen winger's influence, Chelsea would likely be another point better off in their hunt for a fourth Premier League title and third under Mourinho's stewardship.

Liverpool's impressive goal difference, which currently stands at +52, would still have Rodgers' men in control of their own destiny going into Sunday's showdown at Anfield.

But without the goals of Borini and Assaidi, the Blues would have had an opportunity to draw level on points with their title rivals. Instead, an away win this weekend will leave the west London club still two points behind the league leaders.

Suarez and Sturridge will rightly do battle for Liverpool's Player of the Year award, but Rodgers' decision to send two out-of-favour forwards on loan has helped ensure the Reds' title challenge now looks slightly more comfortable for the final weeks of this unpredictable season.

No comments: