Liverpool drew 2-2 vs Chelsea on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. Here are five things we learned from the fixture.
Liverpool went into this one short on key people. We knew Thiago would be absent before the game, as with Jurgen Klopp. But Liverpool announced a triple blow right before kickoff vs Chelsea.
Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip all have suspected positive Covid-19 tests. That immediately ruled them out, depleting the Liverpool squad further.
The only thing that balanced it out was the Chelsea also went into the game missing key players. Not the clash of the titans it should have been, then.
Liverpol really struggled against that Chelsea press to start this one..We saw plenty of sloppy passes from the back that just kept the pressure on – it wasn’t good enough.
In a lot of ways, that never really let up in what turned into absolute chaos on the pitch. All four of Liverpool’s defenders completed under 80% of their passes. Jordan Henderson and James Milner both sat at under 74%. Diogo Jota was even worse as only 48% of his passes found their target.
That was a worry and one Liverpool need to deal with. They missed Thiago badly, given his ability to break through a press, and probably should have replaced him with Naby Keita for this one.
Nine games without a goal but Sadio Mane got Liverpool up and running here. His composure to take advantage of Trevor Chalobah’s error was brilliant, as was the finish.
His all-around game was strong, though. Pressing, in particular, was a strongsuit as he forced the ball back to Liverpool in the buildup for Mohamed Salah’s goal. Hopefully, he’s back to his best after this one.
And on a side-note: we also learned that Sadio Mane’s elbow is on his wrist. A unique player.
Yeah, Liverpool are going to miss Salah and Mane. They didn’t just score the goals here – they were the only consistent threat going forward. We mentioned passing percentage above, well no one completed more of their passes than Salah.
Only Salah and Fabinho completed more than Mane, too.
The downgrade beyond those two is significant but Liverpool must deal with it over the next month. We wish them all the luck in the world.
The title race
This match was incredibly entertaining, played at a break-neck pace and certainly thrilling. Unfortuantely, it also showed why Manchester City will win the title as things stand.
Both teams looked sloppy against a good press, both sides made really poor positional errors to concede goals and neither looked ruthless in that second half.
Liverpool need to find a way to get back on track after too many performances like this over the last few weeks. City are slipping away.