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A few thoughts from the Chelsea game - by Paul Natton - Opinion - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

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A few thoughts from the Chelsea game - by Paul Natton

1. Get in Studge, lad!!! What a goal!!! Absolute class personified. I haven’t celebrated a goal, when not at the match, in the way I did this one in years. It was a proper jump round the front room screaming at the telly moment. Obviously the quality of the strike was a factor but it was also that it felt important. That seems ridiculous when we’re only seven games in, but to avoid defeat against such impressive rivals in those circumstances is always big and could come to be seen as crucial eventually. Either way, as I said, get in!!!

 

2. Because, simply put, that is a point we’d definitely have dropped in years gone by. It was totally deserved though, even if we weren’t great in the second half. From such moments, belief pours. Watch this space...

 

3. Alisson and the centre halves were sensational, in my view. Two great saves from the keeper with Virgil and Mini-Virgil both fantastic: all pace, class and composure. Seriously, Joe Gomez is a real talent. He is preternaturally calm and has feet to match. I love the way he switches the ball to his other foot with ease in order to play his way around an opponent before pinging an incisive pass forward. And he can’t be intimidated, either. If they stay fit, neither Lovren nor Matip are getting a look in this season except when these two need a rest. They already look like the perfect partnership. 

 

4. They needed to be though, because Chelsea are far better than anyone expected. Clearly they’ve still got class players, but the impact Sarri has had in such a short space of time is uncanny. Plus his signings have been spot on. The quick passing around our boys in midfield (no mean feat) before playing Hazard in for the goal was brilliant. They were compact and composed throughout too, albeit without really putting us under sustained pressure. I don’t think they’ll go all the way but they might well help us by taking points off City.

 

5. This was the first time we’ve seen the real depth of the squad tell. All three subs made an impact when they came on. Naby offered more incisiveness, Shaq almost got the equaliser himself (even if it was a shocking miss) and Sturridge, as I said earlier, was just class itself for that goal.  What a talent he has, what a shame his body is so weak and what a canny decision to retain him this season. Let’s hope that was just a taste of what’s still to come. 

 

6. Mo definitely isn’t right. His game has been coming slowly together but it’s just not there in front of goal and I’m not sure why. He just seems to be snatching at things he’d have swept home with ease last season. He’s not having a mare as such, but it won’t do him any harm to have been hooked today either; it should in fact focus him nicely ahead of two more big games this week. 

 

7. However, Salah isn’t the only forward deserving of criticism because Bobby and Mané weren’t exactly firing either. I don’t want to overstate it, but Mané is starting to annoy me with his semi-slack focus. He’s far from a disaster but it’s irking me how often he either makes a poor decision or is hesitant on the back foot. That said, he’s still our (joint, Sturridge fans) top scorer and as long he keeps scoring, I can live with the rest. He didn’t today though. 

 

8. We’ve got a big week coming up. Napoli Wednesday and then City at Anfield. We haven’t put in a truly great performance yet this season (although I thought we were brilliant in the first half hour today, except in the final third), so let’s hope we see a couple in these two matches before the next international break. 

 

9. Napoli away is one where I want to see our brains on show as much as our aggression. We need to fly in, get the win and get ourselves home again with the minimum of fuss because next Sunday is huge. 

 

10. It’s a must win game if we’re serious about winning the league because they just won’t drop many other points and this will be one of only two occasions when we can directly influence that. Let’s hope the forwards can get their eyes in in Naples because if that happens, with this midfield and defence as a platform, we can beat anyone at any time. 4-0 to go top and flip the goal difference advantage?  

 

11. Why not? Come on you Reds!!!

 

Paul Natton


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Also felt that the traits shown by Virgil and Gomez, plus Alisson’s pace off his line, are why Klopp rebuilt his entire defence, because the way we play potentially leaves the back door open to the counter attack. Chelsea tried to open us up that way repeatedly but we kept them at bay - one moment of Hazard brilliance excepted - precisely because of the qualities Klopp has placed into the team in those crucial positions. 

 

Think it’s also worth pointing out how, yet again, Klopp’s decision to stick with what he had in Gomez, rather than listen to the clamour for a new centre half, looks like being entirely vindicated. His eye for what the team needs and ability to match it precisely with the right player is maybe his greatest strength. 

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I was the same as you for the equaliser, Paul , proper madness from an old'un like me.

 

Defence was excellent today & I agree with your praise of Joey G , but to be fair we didn't only cough up the goal chance , Hazard & Willian had one on ones with Allison when we were caught out.

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27 minutes ago, sir roger said:

I was the same as you for the equaliser, Paul , proper madness from an old'un like me.

 

Defence was excellent today & I agree with your praise of Joey G , but to be fair we didn't only cough up the goal chance , Hazard & Willian had one on ones with Allison when we were caught out.

That was my point in the reply above mate. The way we play is inherently risky as we try to compress the play in the opposition half with the full backs pushed right on and the centre halves often beyond the half way line. That’s why Klopp wanted genuine recovery pace across the back line and a keeper who’s quick off his line and good with his feet. So, counter attacks like the ones you mentioned go with the territory and especially against the best sides. The choice is either to be more conservative in our attacking play or do what we did yesterday. Generally speaking, I’m more than happy with that approach. 

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48 minutes ago, an tha said:

Yeah, yeah but what about Henderson...

Ha. I thought all three starting midfielders provided the aggression and movement we need in our game. However, we clearly needed a change when he went off and he was the right one to go, in my view. Milner and Gini have both had better starts to the campaign and both are very much on Klopp’s wavelength. So, I thought Hendo was decent but the right player to make way at that stage. 

 

I’m still not quite sure Keita is fully locked in to the press, but I feel he gives us that little bit extra going forward and that’s what was needed. Ox was very important for us in the CL against City last season and Keita is closer to that than anyone else currently. I think we’ll need him versus City too - and at Hendo’s expense, for me. 

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56 minutes ago, Paul said:

Ha. I thought all three starting midfielders provided the aggression and movement we need in our game. However, we clearly needed a change when he went off and he was the right one to go, in my view. Milner and Gini have both had better starts to the campaign and both are very much on Klopp’s wavelength. So, I thought Hendo was decent but the right player to make way at that stage. 

 

I’m still not quite sure Keita is fully locked in to the press, but I feel he gives us that little bit extra going forward and that’s what was needed. Ox was very important for us in the CL against City last season and Keita is closer to that than anyone else currently. I think we’ll need him versus City too - and at Hendo’s expense, for me. 

I wouldn't disagree with that to be fair.

 

Ox being out is a real shame - I was doubtful he would fit in but he was really starting to look the part.

 

Ox was as you as you say vital against City in Europe and he of course chipped in with a goal and a high energy display in the league game at Anfield - feel we will need similar next week and Keita would be more likely to provide it.

 

The 3 in the middle of the park that day for the 4-3 was Ox, Can and Wijnaldum.....Keita, Wijnaldum, Milner would be my 3 for next week.

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1 hour ago, sir roger said:

I was the same as you for the equaliser, Paul , proper madness from an old'un like me.

 

Defence was excellent today & I agree with your praise of Joey G , but to be fair we didn't only cough up the goal chance , Hazard & Willian had one on ones with Allison when we were caught out.

Considering how effective Chelsea have looked this season I think it's a good sign that we restricted them to those opportunities and had better ones ourselves.  Take Hazzard out of their team and I think we'd probably win both games.  He has that much of an impact for them, a truly brilliant player (the cunt !).

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2 hours ago, scudger99 said:

 

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Take Hazzard out of their team

and I think we'd probably win both games.  He has that much of an impact for them, a truly brilliant player (the cunt !).

That's the problem when playing against him. Mustn't fall asleep and give him too many zeds.

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