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Football News: Chelsea vs Liverpool: A Liverpool (but not Ed001) Perspective

Chelsea vs Liverpool: A Liverpool (but not Ed001) Perspective
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Both teams went into this game needing to win it to keep pace with City. Both teams approached it with aggression and energy and vigour. Both teams earned a point and, overall, it was probably just about justified although I think Chelsea were the better team on the day. Injuries and C.V. tests have maligned both teams but the players standing in did not, for the most part, let down either club. It was also a more open and entertaining game because of this and, though not the most enjoyable as a Liverpool fan, was probably great to watch as a neutral.

Given their injury woes Chelsea will likely feel happy that they have more than able deputies in Azpilicueta and Alonso for the fullback roles. The biggest boon for them though was Kante who was, once again, everywhere for them and who completely ran the show in midfield. Liverpool never really got to grips with him and it was only in the final stages of the match, as both teams looked more content with a draw, that his influence waned. The decision to not play Lukaku may not have been such a good one though as Liverpool didn't look particularly comfortable at the back and the presence of Lukaku could of unsettled them further and perhaps lead to more goals. As it was Chelsea had to rely on a sublime Kovacic effort and some pretty shambolic Liverpool play in order to find there goals but, with more able forwards, might have won the game.

Liverpool were oddly sloppy and seemed unable to keep the ball for longer than 5 seconds for significant portions of the game. When they did move it accurately and quickly Chelsea looked vulnerable but those moments didn't happen often enough, and control and possession was often relinquished cheaply. I have no problems with a draw away to Chelsea but I do think some of the players were under par and could of done more. This wasn't a spectacularly good Chelsea side (Kante aside) but we struggled to exert any sort of dominance and ultimately a draw felt fine given the balance of play and how much better Chelsea seemed for significant portions. We have to be reaching better standards of play if we're to even attempt to catch City because performances at this level will be punished if they happen too frequently.




Peo Ljinders - was it his team or Klopp's? Probably Klopp's so it's difficult to assess but first half we were all over the place and looked under the kosh. We got ourselves a 2-goal lead, started to look comfortable, then just collapsed and found ourselves level at half time. Second half we had more control but, by the same measure, fewer clear cut chances, and by the end never really looked threatening. Overall I thought he did well though Keita being brought on was an error as he was appalling. Playing Ox in Jota's position did not work either though it's something Klopp may well of done in similar circumstances.

Kellerher - did little if anything wrong except encourage the team to play out from the back via his distribution (likely a tactical thing) when it was clear we were struggling to keep possession when doing this. He couldn't really be faulted for either goal and actually made a number of good saves. Thought he did well and seems well capable of playing at this level.

Tsimikas - full of energy, always looked to get forward, but definitely does not have the same chemistry Robertson has with Mane. His distribution was good but can be better. Overall though I thought he did better and was one of our better performers.

TAA - not a good showing at all his passing and crossing was way off and he gave the ball away countless times. He was also partially at fault, with many others, for Chelsea's second and just did not have a good day at the office. His pass that lead to Salah's excellent second was perfect but it just highlighted what he is capable of, and how far short he fell of it, for most of the game.

VVD - He seemed unsettled at times and not his usual self on the ball, played numerous lazy passes and wasteful punts up the pitch. On top of that he failed to cover space on numerous occasions and was caught out multiple times. His decision not to go over and cover Pulisic for their second was bizarre. Not good at all, struggling to develop a partnership with Konate.

Konate - I really don't know, on the ball he looked shook at times and his errant distribution put his teammates in trouble. He still has a tendency to push too far ahead to try and tackle a player and then be left out of position (see 2nd goal) and this really needs to be sorted out before he can be any sort of long term option. I don't think VVD looks comfortable when he plays with him and I think we look more vulnerable. Aside from this, and this sounds counter intuitive, I thought he was overall the better centre back and defender. The flaws in his game cause significant issues for us as a team though, I'm still convinced Gomez is the best option.

Fabinho - not particularly great his distribution was also lacking and he was bypassed multiple times by Chelsea's technically superior midfield. I hold him to higher standards than most because he is so good but he didn't meet these standards and, though he was still proficient at breaking up play, looked off the pace.

Milner - absolutely savaged in the match chat and, though his passing wasn't great, his energy was the only thing keeping that midfield from falling apart at times. Is he the best midfielder out there? No. And his tackle that lead to the free-kick that they scored from was stupid, but he at least got into them and made life difficult. I thought it was noticeable that when he was substituted we seemed to lose control of midfield again having managed to find some stability in the second half.

Henderson - he's been in a bit of a slump and this game continued that to a degree. Passing hasn't looked slick at all and he seems to be less effective than he was previously getting up and down. He simply isn't contributing a lot and he looks to me like he isn't fully fit. We do not have the option to rest him given the injuries we have but it'd probably be for the best if we can rotate him until his form or fitness improves.

Mane - scored a goal that capitalised on a Chelsea mistake, something the team could of induced more of if they applied pressure better. His link up wasn't great though and he often struggled to impact the game. He also kept drifting offside, is he losing his pace or just not holding his line properly? Either way he should do better. I'm worried about Mane he is way off the form and quality he showed a few years ago, we need him to find it again.

Jota - I am not happy with his link up play or his pressing he doesn't do either well. When he scores you can ignore this because the goal is the ultimate contribution, but when he doesn't it becomes a glaring issue and one which he must improve upon. I don't think substituting him was a bad idea except for the fact that he was replaced with Ox who does not play the advanced role well.

Salah - another exceptional goal to add to the litany of exceptional goals he has scored this season. Looked by far the most likely to make something happen up front and caused Chelsea issues. A good game again but he cannot be expected to do it all by himself, other players need to start contributing, especially as the AFCON is upon us.


Ox - came on for Jota, filled his role but never looked comfortable being so advanced. One of his best assets is driving from deep with the ball, you play him further up the field and you remove this. I'm not going to judge him too harshly because I don't think he is being played in a position that he can be fairly judged in.

Keita - came on and was immediately strolling around. Attitude is all wrong he doesn't look ready to work, he doesn't look like he wants the ball, should be nowhere near the team.

Jones - only came on for a few minutes but looked to use and control the ball, should of been brought on earlier instead of Keita.



I am perhaps being overly harsh and making comments and assessments in the immediate aftermath of the game, rather than allowing a cooling off period, but I didn't think Chelsea were that good. They pressed well but our use of the ball played into their hands and allowed them to pressure us out of possession far too easily. Their defence looked ropey but we never put them under consistent pressure the way they did us and, as a result, we never looked in control of the game.

This was eminently winnable but we find ourselves in the position of having thrown away a lead again - this has been a familiar pattern this season and will probably be our undoing in the quest for the league. Individually we are not seeing the best from a number of players and it is costing us in key moments. Consistency isn't what it has been in previous seasons, and perhaps we can chalk that up to C.V., but unless we find a way to get more consistent we ain't going to win the league.

Am I throwing in the towel? No, but there are issues this season that are continuing to dog our performances, if they are not fixed we will see similar results happen. I think when Jones is fully fit and Elliott is back it will reinvigorate our team somewhat, and allow for more rotation, and I think it will make a big difference, as I think midfield is were we have struggled most.

It is worth trying to maintain perspective as well - a draw with Chelsea away is not a bad result, and we certainly weren't outplayed. We are capable of better, and now we need to see it, because the season isn't about to get any easier.

Written by Seano_ January 03 2022 09:14:30


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