TWO WOUNDED TIGERS
Jurgen Klopp has approached the 1,000th game of his managerial career at a time when Liverpool are said to be the worst ever under the eminent German manager. There were objective reasons for this, such as the abundance of injuries and the departure of Sadio Mane, and the obvious mistakes of the management and Klopp himself. In any case, ninth place could not be good for anyone.
But most surprisingly, Chelsea came into this game in an even more nightmarish state. New head coach Graham Potter, who took over from the experienced Thomas Tuchel, is getting nothing at all. The Londoners found themselves in a slump, as evidenced by a victory in the last four rounds of the Premier League and tenth place with Liverpool.
The teams’ squad crisis is also evident in the line-ups for this match, which seemed to have converged on a second-category cup. The Reds had Stefan Baicetic, Harvey Elliott and winter rookie Cody Gakpo from the opening minute, while Trent Alexander-Arnold made way for the right flank of the defense… James Milner. And the blues have Benoit Badiashile (second Premier League game), Conor Gallagher and Lewis Hall. It’s unusual to see Kalidou Koulibaly on the reserve here.
KLOPP’S WORST LIVERPOOL
The rearrangements in defense (Virgil van Dijk was not there either) do not contribute reliability to Klopp’s team at all, as demonstrated by Kai Havertz’s goal already in minute three. It came from a corner stupidly won by Milner. He did not see rejection from a teammate and calmly escorted the ball to the front. Submission found in the penalty area Badyashil, who threw the ball to Thiago Silva. The Brazilian hit the post, and Havertz was the first to finish off. The locals were lucky that the VAR detected a microscopic offside.
The hosts’ defenders did not draw any conclusions from this episode. In the second half of the half, Badyashil again missed, and Alisson Becker reacted with difficulty to a kick in the opposite direction. There could have been more moments, because Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez for some reason refused to play closely with their opponents and regularly missed Havertz and Jason Mount, were afraid to take the game for themselves and passed their teammates all the time. .
In general, looking at the Liverpool game, it is hard to believe what your eyes see. Merseysiders look completely stripped down. The team does not have the famous exit from the defense, nor control of the ball in the center of the field (why did they sign Llago Alcántara?), nor incursions into the last third of the field. Salah has forgotten all the skills that hit the Premier League, Gakpo is not a center forward and Elliot, as a left winger, is not at the level of Liverpool.
Even the broken Chelsea against this background looks like a whole team with clear tasks. “Enfield” this “show” was accompanied by deathly silence. It was a game of frank middle peasants.
DELICIOUS DEBUT MUDRIK
In the context of what happened in the first half, Liverpool’s game in the second was a revelation. The Merseysiders improved their pressing, team movement and ball movement, began to send the ball into the penalty area faster and better. In such situations, it is customary to wonder what the coach said at halftime. In this case, I would join this chorus and express my desire to hear Klopp in the dressing room.
Potter quickly realized that everything was falling apart and made the replacement many had been waiting for: in Hall’s place, reactive Ukrainian striker Mykhailo Mudryk came on the attack. Chelsea again changed the course of the match, regaining control of the ball. And the newcomer had less than ten minutes to create a scoring chance at Alisson’s goal – he fed the ball in the penalty area to Gallagher, picked it up after his teammate fell, deflected past Gomez and fired some more. beyond the edge corner.
After a couple of minutes, Mudrik didn’t make a run for the gate just because Milner brought his opponent down at the cost of a yellow card. He then jumped after him twice, and only when Klopp finally admitted the obvious: The veteran physically can’t keep up with the young Ukrainian. Trent entered the field, training after injury for just one day.
In the end, instead of the injured Trevor Chalob, Cesar Azpilicueta came out, for whom this match was the five hundredth (!) Chelsea game. An impressive achievement, one that only five players had submitted before him.
APP. 21 round
Liverpool – Chelsea – 0:0
Liverpool: Alisson, Milner (Alexander-Arnold 72), Konate, Gómez, Robertson, Baicetic (Fabino 82), Alcantara, Keita (Núñez 63), Salah, Elliott (C. Jones 82), Gakpo (Henderson, 82).
Chelsea: Kepa, Chalobah (Azpilicueta 81), Thiago Silva, Badiaxil, Cucurella, Gallagher, Jorginho, Ziyech, Monte (Chukwuemeka 81), Hall (Mudrik 55), Havertz (Aubameyang 81)
Warnings: Baicetic, 34. Milner, 66. Chalobah, 80. C. Jones, 90.