Chelsea FC- Match Report vs Liverpool FC 20/09/2020
Starting Line-up: Kepa; Alonso, Zouma, Christensen, James; Kovacic (79’), Jorginho (79’), Kante; Werner, Havertz (46’), Mount
Subs: Caballero, Tomori (46’), Azpilicueta, Barkley (79’), Giroud, Abraham (79’), Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea welcomed Liverpool for the first home game of the season, and although there weren’t any goals in the first half there was chances for both sides. Liverpool had more of the ball in the first 20 minutes and Chelsea had to look to hit the champions on the break, using the speed of Timo Werner to attack the space between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho. Chelsea had few shots in the first half, with the best chance coming from Timo Werner’s left footed strike from the edge of the box which went wide.
Lampard had slightly changed the system for the front 3 from the Brighton game. Instead of having Werner down the middle with Havertz and Mount either side, he opted to go for Havertz as a false 9 with Timo on the left where he definitely looked more comfortable in as he could use his pace to get in behind. Werner would play in the half space, in between the opposition RB and CB and would pick the ball up here before turning and driving at the defence. This however meant that Chelsea were very left focused when it came to attacking Liverpool in the final third.
Havertz was playing as a false 9 and was dropping into the midfield at times to create an overload and link the play, however he was often followed by Virgil Van Dijk which made it difficult for the German to show his quality and retain possession for his team.
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Liverpool were clearly favouring Chelsea’s left hand side and were overloading Alonso by getting Trent Alexander-Arnold to double up with Mo Salah and the Spaniard simply could not handle the speed.
Defensively Chelsea weren’t too great and were struggling to handle the pace of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, which ultimately led to the red card right before the end of the half after Jordan Henderson played a ball in behind the Chelsea defence to Sadio Mane. Kepa came off his line however Christensen had brought down the Senegalese winger after a VAR check, had his yellow card changed into red.
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Chelsea had to react now and change things up, and Lampard decided to take off Havertz and bring on Tomori to fill the hole in defence. Liverpool knew they would have more off the ball in this half now that Chelsea were a man down and Jurgen Klopp opted to bring in Thiago for his Liverpool debut. Thiago offered Liverpool something different as they were now opening up Chelsea and exploit the fact that they were a man down.
This is exactly how Liverpools first goal came out, good play on the right hand side between Firmino and Salah who played a 1-2 around Marcos Alonso and the Brazilian put a cross in which Sadio Mane finished well into the far corner out of Kepas reach. The game was now all Liverpool who were moving the ball. Players like Thiago had so much space and time to get their head up and see the gaps in the Chelsea midfield.
Anytime Chelsea did get the ball they had no outball, Werner and Mount were being doubled up on and didn’t get any time. This then led to a quick second goal for Liverpool after Sadio Mane gave away the ball with a poor pass however his determination to win the ball back led to him intercepting Kepa’s poor pass before putting the ball into the corner. Kepa, and the whole Chelsea team, looked flat and and out of ideas and it looked like Liverpool could now score at will. Frank Lampard didn’t make an attacking susbtituion until the 79th minute. This did not change the game at all as Chelsea still didn’t have anyone on the right to provide the width which meant again that a lot of the play was coming down the left hand side through Timo Werner.
Chelsea looked like they had a chance to bring it back to 2-1 after Thiago brought down Werner in the box after a a good run from the German and the referee had given a penalty which Jorginho then missed, summing up Chelsea’s day. Liverpool were very professioanl from then on, keeping the ball and not making any silly mistakes. Seeing the game out to eventually claiming all 3 points at Stamford Bridge for the second consecutive season.
Chelsea welcome Barnsley in the league cup on Wednesday night, a chance to see some of the fringe players as well as the youth players coming through the academy. It could also be a potential game to try out some of the new signings who have not yet featured if they can be passed fit.