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Football News: Liverpool v Chelsea - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Chelsea - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Chelsea A Liverpool Perspective

 


That was a match to lay some demons to rest for Liverpool, though it could not go by without a slip from the last man! This time Robertson's slip led to nothing, but it was a moment to just remind LFC fans of how tight this race is and how easily it could lead to the club ending the season empty-handed. This season feels a lot different from 5 years ago and that performance showed it, even though Chelsea played pretty much the same part, as spoilers looking to contain Liverpool for 90 minutes.

It showed the huge difference in overall quality between the Liverpool of five years ago and that of today - composure. 5 years ago the team would have been fast and frenetic, as it can be in today's iteration, but the play was always tinged with panic if a goal did not come. Then, if it did, the team would get even more panicky trying to get more and more, knowing it could all fall apart at any moment with there being absolutely no defence.

Nowadays the team have a strong defence to back up the quality in attack, and that has bred a confidence in their ability to win, knowing that one goal, whenever scored, is almost certainly going to be enough. Usually it just leads to the opponent having to come out and attack, which allows them to score more goals. Whether or not this team picks up any trophies or not, it is much better placed to do so in the future, with a genuine balance to it.

As for this match itself, apart from one short spell when Chelsea made changes and attacked with real gusto, this was a fairly routine game, with little sense that the Blues were looking to do any more than pick up a point. That worked against the old Liverpool, but this current Liverpool is more than a match for these situations.

 


Sarri - I am a bit disappointed in his choices, he set out to hold on for a draw but Chelsea just do not have the players for that kind of game. Hazard is not a false 9 and playing him there reduces his effectiveness massively. Especially when you consider how Liverpool's weak link defensively is down the right side, where Hazard is at his best. Why not let him play there and attack Matip and Alexander-Arnold?

Speaking of Matip, most teams back off when he is on the ball and give him space, knowing he will turn the ball over when allowed to run forward and leave a gap to be attacked. That could have been particularly useful with Hazard there. Instead Chelsea closed Matip down and stopped him playing out from the back and so he was just moving the ball on with quick, short, safe passes, rather than charging forward and losing it. Rating: 3.

 

Kepa - did ok, but something about him does not fill me with confidence when I watch him play. He does not command his box or feel like he is a safe pair of hands at all. Rating: 5.

 

Azpilicueta - I felt so sorry for him, he was one of the best defenders of the modern era, but he was twisted in knots by Mane. No shame in that, I have yet to see any defender able to cope with him at his best. He did stick at it and did very well to avoid picking up a second booking though. Rating: 4.

 

Rudiger - was doing well before his injury. His pace and power had kept Liverpool at bay a few times. It is the kind of game that suited his strengths. Rating: 6.

 

Luiz - all over the shop and struggled badly without Rudiger alongside him. His strengths are more based around being on the ball and this game was just not the kind of game he is at his best being involved in. Rating: 2.

 

Emerson - he will not want to see Salah again. He was given a roasting. Rating: 2.

 

Kante - even the best midfielder in the world could do little to stop Liverpool on his own. He tried and did as much as he could, but there was just far too much energy and pace in the Liverpool team for him to stop on his own. Rating: 6.

 

Jorginho - may as well have not been there for all the use he was on the pitch. He is not mobile, strong or good enough to impose himself on a game like that. He barely even becomes as useful as a cone because he is usually caught out of position and chasing the play. Rating: 1.

 

Loftus-Cheek - worked hard at times but struggled to get into the game. Again he was not playing to his strengths, which are getting on the ball and driving forward. Rating: 3.5.

 

Hudson-Odoi - another being asked to play in a role that really does not suit his strengths. It will have been a good learning experience for him though being asked to protect his full-back. Rating: 2.5.

 

Hazard - the main attacking threat, particularly after returning to his favoured left wing role. Was extremely unlucky not to score at least one. He just needed to see more of the ball. Rating: 7.

 

Willian - works extremely hard, wins the ball back well and gets up field with it, but then lacks any end product where it matters. Rating: 5.5.

 

Subs:

Christensen - replaced the injured Rudiger in the 40th minute. Lacked the mobility to cope with the movement and was found wanting a few times. The movement was just too good and he was not given enough help. Rating: 4.

Higuain - took the place of Hudson-Odoi in the 56th minute. Immediately after coming on he seemed to make an impact dropping deep and picking up the ball to link up play but Liverpool quickly figured out how to deal with him and he barely touched the ball after a short spell. Rating: 3.

Barkley - brought on in the 75th minute to replace Loftus-Cheek. What did he offer? I am not sure he offered anything at all. Rating: 1.

 


Klopp - difficult to argue with his choices. Bringing on Wijnaldum when Keita was being caught out by runners in behind him changed the game and enabled Liverpool to take control once more. Sarri did make it easy for him though. Rating: 7.

 

Alisson - always there to pull out a save when it matters and that is the important thing, but he did not have a lot to do outside of the 10 minute spell following Salah's goal. Rating: 6.5.

 

Alexander-Arnold - his delivery is so good, it more than makes up for his defensive deficiencies. He really does need to improve on his ball watching though, he has to learn to be more aware of runners. Rating: 7.

 

Matip - only got caught out ball watching a couple of times and was not given the opportunity to run forward and lose the ball so he had a good game. Rating: 7.

 

van Dijk - apart from one moment when he was calling Alisson to come out for a ball that the keeper had absolutely no chance of getting to, he was excellent. Rating: 7.5.

 

Robertson - lacked a bit of composure in the final third but managed to keep Hudson-Odoi pinned back until Chelsea took him off. Rating: 7.

 

Henderson - excellent performance again until he went off injured. He is reminding people why he was so key five years ago and why some of us believe his suspension was a bigger factor than Gerrard's slip in Liverpool losing the title. Rating: 8.

 

Fabinho - another good solid performance though he was allowing himself to drift forward a little too far prior to the goals, as he looked to push Liverpool on. Rating: 7.

 

Keita - his best performance in a Liverpool shirt, though he did need to come off as Chelsea began to run off the back of him which was how they were able to have a good spell. That tendency to ball watch could have cost Liverpool, but going forward he was a constant problem for Chelsea, so his all round game did make up for his lack of tracking back. Rating: 7.

 

Mane - a stunning game. Very few players make Azpilicueta look that bad, but he was ghosting past him time and time again. It was the Mane of last month once more. Rating: 8.5.

 

Salah - another who had a stunning game, not just the way he tore Emerson a new one, but he was also willing to chase back once more to cut off a fast break and that goal was something else. Rating: 9.

 

Firmino - his contribution was mixed, did some brilliant things but not all of it came off for him. He can be guilty of overplaying at times. Still, his contribution can not be overlooked as he is the glue that knits the attack together. Rating: 8.

 

Subs:

Wijnaldum - replaced Keita in the 66th minute. Immediately brought a more solid look to the midfield and helped close out the game as well as restore control of the ball to Liverpool. Rating: 6.5.

Milner - was brought on for the injured Henderson in the 77th minute. Reliable as ever, he stepped in and kept the team performance levels up. Rating: 6.

Shaqiri - got his late appearance this time when brought on in the 90th minute for Salah. Looked like the Shaqiri of the early part of the season, putting in a shift in the dying minutes to ensure Chelsea were unable to exploit Salah's substitution. Rating: 5.5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke April 16 2019 11:34:31

 

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