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Football News: Chelsea vs Liverpool 29 September 2018 - How I saw it

Chelsea vs Liverpool  29 September 2018 - How I saw it
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Well after an intriguing game a draw, though we left it very late, feels like a fair result. Both teams had presentable chances, both teams could've scored more than they did, and in the end 2 pieces of quality: Chelsea's midfield play, and a worldie from Sturridge, were the only goals either team could muster.

It was an interesting game and there is no doubt Chelsea are playing much better football under Sarri than they were under Conte. Their midfield looks class and they way they moved the ball around and kept possession had our own midfield on the back foot first half. They worked the ball nicely and managed to find a break through after our pressing was breached and always looked dangerous on the counter second half.

Second half, apart from the first 10 minutes, was very different with Chelsea opting to sit deep and try and hit us on the counter - they had a few good chances as well - but ultimately the dominance their midfield exerted largely waned. It was also good to see our substitutions make an impact. Keita provided a bit more thrust and a bit more quality in midfield, Shaqiri's movement unsettled their back line and Sturridge, well he scored a cracking goal. On to the ratings.

 

Alisson - 8 - Made a couple of one-on-one saves, controlled his area and reacted to their threats very quickly. He got a hand to Hazards shot for the goal and I think he was a little unlucky. Hazard scuffed it, rather than connecting cleanly, and it caused the ball to bobble which is why I think he couldn't keep it out. Overall a good game and kept us in it with some vital stops.

Robertson - 7 - I thought he looked uncomfortable against Willian on more than one occasion and also got caught with a ball over the top. Defensively speaking this was not a good performance - he lacks composure on the ball, especially under pressure, and it causes him to misplace passes and make mistakes. Having said that his energy and work rate were excellent and, as the game wore on, he grew into it. He provided a real threat down the left and his cross over to Shaqiri really should've been the equalizer. Defensively he can certainly improve - his drive and determination should ensure that he does.

TAA - 7 - Very composed on the ball for a player so young and really is able to play with clarity, regardless of the pressure he is under. His crossing was a little wayward today but his passing, on the whole, was once again pleasing. He was perhaps at fault for their goal as he got sucked to the ball leaving a big space that Chelsea exploited. The only other time he was caught out was when we were pushing hard for a win second half and cannot really be faulted for that. A decent performance and one in which he will hopefully learn some valuable lessons.

Gomez - 7.5 - Very good and, for the most part, dealt with Chelsea's threat effectively. He still looks positionally fragile at times but his overall defending is coming on leaps and bounds. Was caught out a little for their goal though and never looked close to catching Hazard which is surprising given the speed he does possess. Overall decent though.

Van Dijk - 8.5 - Excellent. A dominant display at the back in which, in his area of responsibility, Chelsea had very little in terms of clear cut chances. His distribution is a big weapon of his and it was noticeable, especially first half, that Kante aimed to close him down as soon as he was in possession. Dominant and helped organise the defence, a very good display.

Milner - 7 - I think against pretty much any other team Milner would be the hardest working player in midfield. Today he was up against Kante/ Kovacic/ Jorginho and it was tough for him. I thought the pressing from the midfield was a little too aggressive first half as, when Chelsea moved it quickly, gaps opened up frequently. Second half his performance was solid and he was, at times, playing as left back to cover for Robertson getting further forward - he did this well and allowed Robertson to be a threat.

Henderson - 7 - I thought he had a very good first half. Looked to organise the midfield and was a calming prescence in what was a highly pressurised centre of the park. His pressing was also overly aggressive at times but he was, for the most part, able to cover. His influence waned second half and his reaction to the substitution tells its own story - I think he knew he wasn't as involved as he needed to be which is why he was frustrated. A decent game for him overall but, when spaces are tight and we are chasing the game, he is not necessarily the most effective midfielder we have.

Wijinaldum - 6 - I thought he was the poorest player on the pitch for us. Slow in possession, slow off the ball, slow to cover for TAA, slow to the tackle, just a very muted performance. I struggle to think of too many things he did well - sadly it was a return of the anonymous Wijinaldum - it is hugely frustrating because, as we have seen, when he wants to he can make a huge difference to the team. I would've personally subbed him off instead of Henderson.

Salah - 6 - It is not just not clicking for the player right now. Lots of players go through these spells and Salah is just going through one of them at the moment. He had 2 presentable chances in the first half but failed to test the keeper with either. He had the chance to lay the ball on a plate for Bobby in the first half but also fluffed his pass. His link up play was good in the first half but, as soon as Chelsea tightened it up in the second he looked isolated and was unable to really make anything happen. A few sloppy passes and runs down blind alleys lead to his substitution and, after he went off, we did seem more of a threat. He just needs a bit of luck and good fortune and the tide will turn - as it is now he is not quite firing on all cylinders, but I fully expect him to start doing so soon.

Mane - 8 - I'd of given his first half performance a 5 to be honest as his whole body language and attitude just wasn't right. He started off slow and sluggish and was not really pressing or working with the same intensity as his team mates. After they scored his work rate improved and continued to improve as the match went on. On the wing he looked somewhat muted but as he drifted more centrally he caused them problems and forced them into fouls. I've said this before though and will say it again: if the lad had vision, and could actually string a few decent passes together, then he'd be one of the top 3 players in the world. Still a very good second half showing after a poor first half.

Firmino - 7.5 - Space was at a premium and as a result it was difficult for Bobby to get as involved as he would like. His work rate is just a given now so there is not much need to talk about it so instead I'll focus on his link up play: it was excellent. Even in very tight spaces he was able to turn and jink his way into space and, when the time came, produce some good passes. He laid an excellent ball on for Salah in the first half (who should have done better), had a very good chance to score himself in the second, and made life as difficult as possible for their defence. Integral to our play.

Subs:

Shaqiri - 7 - Came on and immediately his presence and movement gave the team a lift and caused Chelsea problems. He squandered a free kick and missed an absolute sitter from 8 yards out - but his impact was positive and demonstrates an attacking depth we simply lacked last season.

Keita - 7.5 - Came on and immediately gave the team a more menacing look. Was willing to run at defenders and found good passes a number of times. He may not be firing at 100% right now but he looks like he will be very effective, especially against teams who look to sit deep. Would start him in our next game.

Sturridge - 8 - Was not on the pitch for long but produced a moment of absolute quality when it looked like we would probably fall short. He is another player who is demonstrating the strength of our attack. He didn't do much except score but isn't that typical Sturridge? A goal threat whatever the circumstances.

 

Klopp - 8 - Once again he made substitutions that positively effected the result which is exactly what we need. The signings also show the strides we have made since last season - in a similar match last season, with a similar scoreline, we lacked the personnel to bring on and really make a difference - today we were able to alter the course of the game with the quality from our bench, something that will be vital if we are to sustain a title charge this season.

Tactically I thought we set up well and, on balance, had more good chances in comparison to Chelsea. Klopp may need to adjust and alter our midfield when coming up against top quality opposition though as, when Chelsea took the lead and sat back, our midfield, as industrious as it was, did not really have a lot of quality in terms of creativity in the final third.

Conclusions:

Overall a draw at Stamford Bridge is more than acceptable, they are a different beast under Sarri and make no mistake they are in the running for the league. The quality they have in their team is extraordinary and talks by Sarri to dampen expectations, though it makes sense psychologically, should not fool anybody. They are serious contenders and, so long as their key players (Hazard, Kante) avoid injury, will be right up there - though the same could be said for us as well.

As for ourselves we saw good and bad sides to our game - our fullbacks are clearly still learning and, particularly in defence, have room to improve. Overall I thought we created more chances and, probably, the more clear cut chances - but it was very tight and I imagine both sides are ok with a draw. Chelsea will probably feel more disappointed given the time that they conceded - certainly for us it feels like a 1 point gained rather than 2 points dropped. Onwards and upwards to the next game - I expect us to keep improving

Written by Seano_ September 30 2018 08:18:05

 

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