Three Things Liverpool Fans Learned From Saturday’s Draw With Chelsea

Three Things Liverpool Fans Learned From Saturday’s Draw With Chelsea
Nov 27, 2017

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Liverpool and Chelsea fought out a draw at Anfield for the second consecutive season, after a somewhat fortuitous Willian equaliser cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s opener.

With last season’s encounter at Anfield ending in a 1-1 draw, a similar outcome unfolded here on Merseyside – as Liverpool were pinned back after initially taking the lead on a frosty evening in the north-west.

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With the first half producing little clear chances, the Reds sneaked in front when Mohamed Salah capitalised on a ricochet off Chelsea midfield Tiémoué Bakayoko to slot home in front of the Kop; the Egyptian remained peripheral in his celebrations in respect for the attacks in Egypt on Friday.

However, 20 minutes later, substitute Willian’s attempted cross sailed over the head of the flailing Simon Mignolet to equalise for the visitors.

Jordan Henderson And James Milner Can’t Play Alongside Eachother:

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Two of the worst performers for the hosts on Saturday were undoubtedly Jordan Henderson and James Milner, who were paired together in midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.

The former had already received ample criticism for his non-existent performance in the middle of the park against Sevilla in Tuesday’s Champions League encounter – and was rightly on the receiving end yet again from supporters.

Milner, on the other hand, was a complete juxtaposition of this. The 31-year-old was given plenty of praise for his performance in defensive midfield against minnows NK Maribor last month – although starts between then have been few and far between.

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When the starting lineup was announced, Liverpool supporters took to social media to express their disgruntlement of the pair starting together – with calls for Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana to be given the nod instead.

Unfortunately, neither did little to prove the fans wrong. Captain Henderson produced a performance lacking in energy, inspiration and ultimately lost too many battles in midfield – failing to win a single aerial duel/tackle in the whole 90 minutes. An alarmingly similar performance from the 27-year-old unfolded in Seville too. There’s no agenda against the captain, it just simply has to serve as a warning for him to up his game.

Milner too produced a very disappointing display. The former Manchester City man did very little to prove his detractors wrong – and whilst there was no doubting his energy and work levels throughout, he lacked the quality or movement off the ball that the Dutchman Wijnaldum would’ve possessed in big games.

Simply put, a duo of Henderson and Milner must never start in midfield for the Reds again.

Alberto Moreno Recovers From Midweek Mare:

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The player who came out of the Sevilla capitulation with the most flak to his name was undoubtedly Alberto Moreno. The left-back, who has enjoyed a renaissance in stark contrast to the dejected figure he cut a season ago at Anfield, was responsible for two goals against his former club on Tuesday which ultimately lead to the 3-3 draw.

This led to many fans asking for him to be dropped, but Klopp rightly stuck by the Spaniard and didn’t drop him on the basis of his first blip of the season. And Moreno rewarded the German’s trust in him by producing a fairly dependable performance which implied that he had learnt mistakes to defensive aspects of his game.

One risky challenge at one point did see him walking a tightrope, but otherwise, he contributed well going forward – with his pace being a useful asset for when Chelsea did break forward. He made a total of 8 tackles throughout.

Just the response he needed.

Jürgen Klopp Must Improve Game Management:

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Klopp was on the receiving end for his stubbornness when it came to substitutions on numerous occasions last term, as well as his general gameplan towards the latter stages of the game.

This was on show again on Saturday evening – his refusal to introduce Sadio Mané and Adam Lallana to the fray until the 86th minute raised questions about his lack of desire to kill the game off earlier until after Chelsea’s eventual equaliser.

The German claimed in his post-match interview that he intended to switch to a 5 at the back and make the substitutions but in vain before the Blues equaliser – but why didn’t he take the imitative 20 minutes earlier?

And Mané was visibly angry with Klopp in the aftermath, with the Senegalese annoyed with his late introduction.

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