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Some thoughts on Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0 by Paul Natton

1. We were the better team last night and the result was a rip off. I know it’s been a season-long mantra, but put Daniel Sturridge in that team and we’d be on our way to Wembley.

 

2. We suddenly look really well organised, defensively. Yes, I know Balotelli was awful at that set piece (more on him later), but our shape and coordination on the back foot looked superb last night.

 

3. Controlled aggression is probably the thing I love most about my favourite Liverpool teams and players from over the years and this team has it in spades. It’s there in the closing down, the tackling, the tracking back and even the passing. Everything is fast and tough, the way it should be at Liverpool.

 

4. The other thing that occurred to me last night is that this side probably plays more one touch passes than any I’ve seen since the 80s. This is especially noticeable at the back where we play fast triangles around players to get the ball out. The mental strength it takes to do that is immense as concentration and confidence levels are equally important.

 

5. Lucas is currently in the best run of form I’ve ever seen him have for Liverpool and he seems to save the best of the best for playing that lot. His work rate and aggression were there for all to see last night, but what I’m particularly enjoying from the 2015 version of Lucas is his intelligent positioning and movement allied to genuine leadership. He looks a real player to me now for the first time in his career.

 

6. Whisper it, but Simon Mignolet is improving: his kicking, his command of his area and his confidence are all noticeably better and he made some boss saves last night.

 

7. I think I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in Jordan Henderson: he appears not to require oxygen. That can be the only explanation for the relentless pace and intensity of his game.

 

8. If our young talents could finish, we’d be unstoppable: Henderson, Sterling and Coutinho would all be top or even world class players if they added consistent numbers of goals to what they already possess in terms of attributes. Let’s hope they practice finishing at Melwood then.

 

9. Brendan knows how to beat Mourinho; he just hasn’t had the tools to do it yet. Which tells me that…

 

10. He will win the league if we can get our signings right.

 

11. Speaking of tools: Mario Balotelli is rubbish. Not misunderstood, not eccentric, not a maverick, he’s just rubbish. He does two things well: run into a group of opposing players and lose possession or blast the ball at a group of opposing players and lose possession. Brains. Of. A. Rocking. Horse. (And feet to match).

 

12. Diego Costa is a pantomime villain with studs, but he’s no hard man. Hendo had him off a week ago with one look; he’s all about the snide, Costa, and he therefore fits the Mourinho mould perfectly.

 

13. Two Chelsea players have been rightly lauded this season and Courtois is awesome, without proviso. However, superb though he undoubtedly is, Eden Hazard isn’t quite as good as the hype suggests, in my view. Or rather, his end product isn’t. If he played for Liverpool, Brendan would turn him into the top scorer in the country. Mourinho, however, seems to want him wide and deep, rather than in and around the six yard box all the time. Obviously that’s good for us, but he could do Suarez levels of damage if he was utilised properly.

 

14. English referees remain universally awful. Except for Clattenburg. Maybe. Oliver deffo is though.

 

15. West Ham is a must win game now. That pot of European gold gets significantly bigger next season and if we’re to ride the FFP wave to glory we need our slice.

 

16. Come on you Reds!!!

 

Paul Natton

@OxtonSoulBoy


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