A tale of two halves.
A tale of two halves should become synonymous with Chelsea this season as we either perform well in the 1st or 2nd half and then perform ok in the other one. Lampard switched the lineup for this game as he went back to a 4-3-3 with Kante, and Emerson returning to the lineup and Mount being passed fit. Pulisic remained on the bench in favour of Willian while Tomori and Christensen were the centre back pairing. Klopp went for his strongest Liverpool XI as expected.
The game started off with Liverpool dominating the ball while Chelsea grew into the game. The tempo was decent but it was Liverpool who drew first blood in the 14th minute after Alexander-Arnold scored a brilliantly worked free-kick. Emerson then came off with a suspected hamstring injury as Alonso was brought on. Abraham went through on goal around the 20th minute but failed to finish past Adrian as the goalkeeper saved. Azpi then seemed to have equalised for Chelsea after some fumbling in the Liverpool box but it was disallowed by VAR as Mount was was judged to have been offside with his shoe past the line. Liverpool then went down the other end and scored after Firmino was left unmarked in the box for a free header. Christensen then suffered an injury to the knee right before half time as Zouma came on for the Dane. The 1st half ended 0-2 with Chelsea being very unlucky but also at cause for the 2nd goal at least.
The 2nd half started with Chelsea on the front foot as we took the game to Liverpool. Kepa made some nervy saves initially but Chelsea then began to press the Liverpool half. Kante scored one for Chelsea in the 71st minute after a brilliant dribble and a smashing finish. Batshuayi was then brought on for Tammy and he missed a good opportunity with his head. Mount then missed a good chance at the front post in the final stages of the game. Liverpool’s final substitution was Gomez as they switched to a back five to see out the game.
Firstly Lampard needs to have some blame for picking Emerson to start and he even took it on himself in the post match press conference. Alonso should have started and it would have allowed Lampard to bring on Pulisic in for Willian or Mount. Secondly Lampard stated that Willian has shown he should start but I don’t know what he is seeing and it can be great if he is doing well in training but if it does not transition onto the pitch then there is no point. Pulisic needs to start and once CHO is back I rarely want Willian to start. Player wise Kepa was not at fault for either goals and kept Chelsea in the game at the beginning of the 2nd half. Alonso was good when he came on although he did stay up for large parts of the game providing a good attacking threat. Tomori was solid and arguably the best player on the pitch as he pocketed Salah. Christensen was good and Zouma was as well. Azpilicueta led by example throughout the game and his legs may be going but he is still as passionate as ever. Jorginho and Kovacic ended the game well with a good 2nd half but the first half was not their best. Kante was very good but you could see he lacked some match fitness, although even a half fit Kante is world class. Mount was ok as he did not offer much from the wings while Willian was good at passing but nothing else. Tammy missed a really good chance and he will know that as he needs to begin making an impact in the bigger games.
It is process and the positives are that the 2nd half showed that Chelsea are not far off and if it was not for a sloppy mistake Chelsea would have at least managed a point. The vision and plan is there and it will take time but CHO and Reece James are back for the midweek game against Grimsby and they should be welcome additions to the squad. Chelsea drop down into 11th, part of the group that are on 8 points with the likes of Tottenham and United in a similar position. A good period of fixtures is ahead for Chelsea and it is time to take maximum points from them. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!