The first major clash of the season took place yesterday where Liverpool overcame Chelsea 2-0 with a brace from Sadio Mane.
That Puts Liverpool with 2 wins from 2 so far this season while Frank Lampard and his boys lost their first home game this season.
Below is the Chelsea vs Liverpool review along with 5 Observations that the match highlighted ahead of the season:
New Chelsea Setup?
With 2 matches that have taken place since the resumption of the Premier League season, Chelsea have used a different pattern to last season. They have looked to solidify their defense and it has been on full display in the past two games. High pressing that was familiar to Chelsea last season hasn’t been on display this season. It has been clear that Chelsea will try to hurt their opponents on the counter rather than controlling the possession and proceeding of the game.
Will it work or could elude their attacking quality away? That will be answered as the season progresses.
Mane: Best Player in the League bar Kevin De Bruyne?
With the impact Salah, Allison, Van Dijk, and Firmino provide to this Liverpool setup, Mane isn’t spoken about enough towards his contribution he brings to this Liverpool side. Statistics has become an important metric to judge players in the modern footballing world but it always does not paint a true story. He has scored 42 in his last 68 Premier League games which are stunning numbers, especially for a winger (Infogol). He does not have the facility to drive up his numbers by taking on the penalty duties or he would have broken a lot of records.
In yesterday’s encounter when the other team had planned to just sit back and counter, Mane’s instinctive runs in the boxes provided the opening Liverpool required. With Liverpool struggling to break a resolute Chelsea side down, it was Mane who’s great instinctive run on Henderson’s long ball invited a foul from Chelsea’s defender Andreas Christensen that led to him receiving a red card. Chelsea stayed compact and tight at the back but again Mane’s clever run in the box made a difference.
Liverpool, to win back to back titles?
With doubts creeping in on their defense and the display in the previous game week, many assumed Liverpool to struggle this season but some signings and the structure of the team just changed all of that pessimism around their title ambition. Thiago Alcantara and Diego Jota were signed last week by Liverpool and Thiago debuted against Chelsea in the second half of the match.
The impact he made was clear to see. Liverpool were finding the spaces within the compact Chelsea defense more easily with his arrival. They have vanished any doubts on their title credentials by easily displacing any challenge Chelsea could come up with. With all the new signings they have made, back to back title wins isn’t far off their reach.
What’s gone on with Hudson Odoi?
He had a very promising game against Bayern Munich in the Champions League R16 which looked to pave his way back into Chelsea’s starting line up the reckoning. With Ziyech and Pulisic both out injured, he was expected to start the season openers but he was placed on the bench.
Mount has been preferred on the wings and this makes Chelsea lose the width available to them in games. As in this game even before the red card incident had occurred, Chelsea had no threat in wide areas due to the lack of natural wingers in the setup. There will be reasons why Frank Lampard hasn’t given him the nod but Chelsea does lose a lot of their attacking threat. Chelsea missed Ziyech, Odoi, and Pulisic in this game and Chelsea fans will be hoping for Pulisic and Ziyech to return soon.
Has Chelsea improved from last season and can they compete with the likes of City and Liverpool?
Chelsea have shown major improvement in their defensive structure. They are more dominant on set pieces duties and arent giving many spaces to the opposition but that is leading to sacrificing a lot of their attacking impetus.
We must not reach conclusions yet as Ziyech and Pulisic arrival will surely multiply their attacking threat but it will be intriguing to see whether the setup remains the same as its been evident in the past two game weeks or they go back to the free-flowing football they showcased last season.
In the context of the title race, This season was about nearing the gap for Chelsea and it is too early to say whether they have bridged that or not. This match did show that Chelsea have a promising squad but it still needs a lot of nourishing along with a young manager who still has a lot to learn. Better days are surely ahead for Chelsea fans.
This was our Chelsea vs Liverpool Review along with 5 things we observed in this massive encounter.