20 September 2020 | Stamford Bridge | Liverpool 2 – 0 Chelsea
Let’s get one thing straight. With either 10 men or 11 men, Liverpool dominated Chelsea, and deserve all the praise they will be getting.
From the very start of the game, we could see that Chelsea was very comfortable sitting back, parking guys behind the ball, and attacking Liverpool on the counter. The few times Chelsea was able to get the ball out quickly and play that counterattacking football, Fabinho and Virgil were there to shut it down. The back line looked totally in sync today – a much better performance from them across the board.
Moving past the backline, the rest of the team also looked much more cohesive. The press was moving as one after loss of possession, the midfield moved as a unit, and in general this was the Liverpool we are much more used to seeing. It was a true Champions’ performance.
My analysis for the rest of the first half is as such: Jordan Henderson was playing some absolutely delightful balls from the very beginning. There were multiple times that Hendo went directly at Marcos Alonso, knowing Mo Salah was too much for him to handle. Jordan Henderson’s absolute best ball came right before half-time: he got the ball out of his feet quickly, right over the top to Sadio Mane… well, it would have been right to Sadio if Andreas Christensen had not full-on tackled him, NFL style (seriously the Philadelphia Eagles could use someone who can tackle like that). Paul Tierney at first gave a yellow, and VAR made it a red. Ten men for 45 minutes against the defending champions Liverpool? Good luck Chelsea.
The start of the second half saw the Thiago Alcantara era of Liverpool begin. He came on for Hendo was picked up a slight knock during the first half, and he did not disappoint. In fact, he was so good, he completed 75 passes in the second half, a Premier League record! This guy is going to be an absolutely great player for us, he is sheer class and will bring competition to our already class group of midfielders.
It only took Liverpool five minutes from the restart to take advantage of the 10-man Chelsea. The buildup play was absolutely brilliant, the ball from Bobby Dazzler to Salah was a peach, and the finish from Sadio was perhaps the easiest part – he just needed a flick into the open part of the net. Four minutes later, Sadio added another. The goal was a result of sheer hustle, and thanks to another error from Kepa, Liverpool go up 2-0, proving to be the final score line.
Speaking of Kepa, imagine paying $88 million USD for him. Michael Edwards would never!
Chelsea’s best chance came near the end of the game on a questionable penalty call. But as they say, “Ball don’t lie,” Alisson saves the spot-kick from Timo Werner thus preserving the clean sheet.
In the end, this the type of performance that we have come to expect from Liverpool over the past two seasons. Utter domination, clinical finishing, stifling press, the true performance of Champions.
Three more points in the bag and little Frankie Lamps is going home crying. Again. Up the Reds! YNWA