It’s amazing what a few days can do for you. On Saturday Liverpool looked a shadow of their former selves. Tonight, wow – how different was tonight?
Whether it was because it was a midweek game, the floodlights being on or because we played a Top 6 side, there was something different about Liverpool. High intensity, hard tackling, high pressing, creativity – it was like watching a proper Klopp’s Liverpool. Just like earlier in the season!
At Stamford Bridge we won 2-1 earlier in the season – sadly we had to settle for a draw.
- Chelsea had to settle for a draw against a much-improved Liverpool.
- Chelsea opened the scoring through an opportunistic David Luiz free kick.
- Georginio Wijnaldum’s second half header levelled the scores.
- Diego Costa’s late penalty was saved by Simon Mignolet.
- Chelsea extend their lead at top of the Premier League to nine points.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana
Subs used: Mané, Origi
Rather unexpectedly Liverpool came out the blocks much faster and within the first 20 mins had had 85% possession and amassed a crazy 235 passes to Chelsea’s 32. We all knew it could go one way or another. We were in for a roller coaster if a ride.
Zipping the ball around, pressing the Chelsea team further back Liverpool tried all they could to exploit any weakness. Liverpool were dominating possession and controlling the pace of the game. Chelsea however, remained disciplined and compact with Liverpool’s only opportunity was a long-range shot from Wijnaldum.
Like so many times this season, more noticeable in January, Liverpool have been thwarted by the referee. This time a clash between Lallana and Hazard resulting in a free kick to Chelsea. Out of nowhere Luiz hit a stunning free kick past an unprepared Mignolet, in off the post after 25 minutes to put Chelsea in front. A feeling that that free-kick had been mastered on the training ground. Chelsea’s plan to restrict Liverpool’s movement up top was working as slowly but surely Chelsea were making their way back into the game.
Klopp earning his money at half-time
It would have been easy for Jurgen Klopp to have made some adjustments at half-time. I’m sure Conte was counting on it.
However, despite having Mané on the bench raring to go, Klopp clearly thought the team he had on the pitch was good enough to get something from the game.
Within minutes of the restart you sensed that they could come away with something. Slick movement, one-touch football almost put Liverpool back it contention had it not have been for Firmino’s mis-hit. I’m convinced a ‘Striker’ would have buried that.
Finally Chelsea’s well disciplined defence was beaten, Wijnaldum heading low past Courtois from close range. Superbly picked out by James Milner to bring the score level. Anfield was rocking and there was a notable change in impetus, with Liverpool now the side actively searching for a winner.
One final roll of the dice for Chelsea who were awarded a penalty. Mark Clattenburg thought Costa had been fouled by Matip. Replays suggest Matip played the ball and Costa jumped. Thanks to Karma and the safe hands of Mignolet the ball was comfortably saved.
So a share of the points at Anfield. An improved performance for Klopp’s men, so much so there was slight disappointment in the loss of two points. Rather interesting was Conte’s celebration of just one.
Klopp did say; “This wonderful, powerful club needs to keep its nerves, not everything is bad because we lose. This team is outstanding in attitude so let’s do the best we can and see where we end up at the end of the season. The results tonight were good for us, but we must continue to fight.”
Well said Jurgen.