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Liverpool v Chelsea A Liverpool Perspective
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It seems like normality has resumed, after the brief interlude of a win! It is hard to believe that this is mainly the same team of players that won the league at a canter last season. There is absolutely no confidence out there and a lot of players that are struggling with the roles they are being asked to perform, added to the constant chopping and changing of the team. Despite the problems, this team is not that far away from a winning team, it gets into dangerous areas but lacks the belief in itself to just put the ball into the back of the net.
What is clear is that Fabinho does not work at the back. He needs to be in midfield, where he knows what he is doing, instead of getting constantly caught out of position. More to the point, he would then allow Wijnaldum to move from the defensive role he is failing miserably to perform right now. That one change would transform this team.
It is hard to judge how good, or bad, Chelsea are on this match. For one thing their tactics were match-specific, longball is not something they will do every game. Probably never again this season. Secondly they did not really create much, but they did not need to create much and were under no pressure to try and go forward, so they could just sit back and bang the ball over the top for Werner. Finally, Liverpool’s press was so poor Chelsea were never in real trouble on the ball in dangerous areas.
Chelsea did enough to win and clearly had a lot more left in the locker. It is not their fault that Liverpool failed to make them work hard to get the three points.
Klopp – it looks to me like Klopp is struggling to get his approach to work without the backing from the fans that is such an integral part of his gameplan. The ‘mentality monsters’ were feeding off the support from the fans and need that adrenalin shot to get that 5% more that turns them from a good team into a great team. He could help matters by playing players in their best positions and by giving Phillips a run of games, but the stubbornness that a manager needs it working against him at the moment.
Alisson – he did not really have a lot to do, but he did not do well with the few things he did have to do. The offside goal was awful play by him and he needed help from Robertson to avoid conceding a second. Not that I am surprised as he clearly was not in the right place to play mentally. Hopefully playing the game helps him deal with the grief he is feeling and he is not just playing so that he does not let anyone down.
Alexander-Arnold – he was weak with his defending in this game, though nothing like as bad as some of the ridiculous comments on the Liverpool site would make you think. He was badly hindered by the centre-backs being all over the place, leaving him caught confused as to whether to cover them or stay out wide at times. With no communication, the whole backline was a complete mess, but he seems to be getting the brunt of the abuse, when he was by no means the main problem.
Kabak – he has sleptwalked through every game since arriving and nothing is changing. He shows no awareness of players running off him and I have no idea what the scouts saw, but if they watched him play like this and still recommended signing him they should be fired immediately. How difficult is it to get goalside of an attacker and stay there? Clearly, judging by Kabak’s performances, it is impossible.
Fabinho – terrible performance from him. His positional sense vanished and he was all over the place. This centre-back experiment is failing miserably and it is costing the team. Time to give it up now. He is trying his best but it is become extremely trying on my nerves now watching him floundering at the back. Teams have worked out how he plays and that Fabinho does not read attackers’ runs or balls in behind him.
Robertson – caught early on by runs, lacked confidence in his shooting when he got the chance but he was the only defender alert at times, including the brilliant goal-line clearance he made.
Thiago – he is in the wrong team right now. The team is so lacking in confidence that they are second guessing everything and not making runs until the ball comes, rather than making the runs in anticipation of the pass. Without movement to pick out, his passing range is useless.
Jones – worked hard, did some really nice things but did have an uncharacteristically poor touch when he would otherwise have been 1-on-1 with their keeper. While it was not his best game, it was probably the best performance from a Liverpool player in the match, which is extremely worrying.
Wijnaldum – he has gone from being outstanding in the early weeks to being a complete liability. The press failed every time it was applied because he was stood watching and the man he should have been pressing was 10 yards away from him and able to take the ball in space before he suddenly realised and ran up. He has been the worst player on the pitch for over a month now but is playing 90 minutes a game. I really do not understand it. It is clear he is mentally not at Liverpool at all, his hiding from the player on the ball is a symptom of a player who is just not at the races. There have been a number of times when he suddenly realises the man on the ball is in trouble and makes an effort to get in position to receive a pass, but it is a conscious effort he has to make, and too late to matter, rather than it just being automatic to move into a place he can get it.
Firmino – badly out of form. What more needs to be said?
Salah – played some nice balls for Mane and Jones, but was let down by their end product. I have no idea why he was the one who got the hook when he was by far the best of the front three.
Mane – looks frustrated to me. He is trying to do things he would normally do but it is not working out right now. Maybe it is time to drop him to the bench and let Jota have a run in his place?
Oxlade-Chamberlain – replaced Salah in the 62nd minute. Never managed to get into the game.
Jota – came on in place of Jones in the 62nd minute. Looked very rusty and in need of a run of games to get back to his best.
Milner took Thiago’s place in the 80th minute. He was unable to make any significant contribution in the closing minutes of a game that just ran away with Liverpool.
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Written by Tris Burke March 07 2021 05:59:23