Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC were looking for a serious challenger for champions Manchester City. The result: There are two.
“What a game!” Jürgen Klopp shouted to his opponent Mauricio Sarri, before the two coaches stayed a little longer than usual hugged on the side, radiantly united in pride in the spectacle and satisfaction with the result.
It was 1:1 at the end of a late summer football dream at Stamford Bridge, where more than three possible points had been fought for. The encounter between Chelsea and Liverpool, who had previously been unbeaten in the league, was seen on the island as an aptitude test for their masterly ambitions. The joy of the test subjects was correspondingly great after the intoxicating and gripping argument. In this game, a challenger was sought for the reigning champion Manchester City – and two were found.
Liverpool, coached by Klopp for almost three years, is one step further in the collective than the team of Italian Sarri, who moved into his office in West London just before the start of the season and is also pursuing a highly complex tactical reorientation. His predecessor Antonio Conte had counterfootball with a chain of three practiced on Fulham Road. Autodidact and chain smoker Sarri, a former foreign exchange dealer who looks like a nice district sports facility manager in his shapeless tracksuit, prefers a combination-fast position game.
Sarriball, as his system is called, requires time and accuracy. The guests from Liverpool did not grant the Blues on Saturday in midfield either the one or the other. Chelsea were thus pressed deep into their own half to the coach’s displeasure, Alisson’s goal was only occasionally reached by his team, with long diagonal balls and assault attacks. Eden Hazard, who had already made the difference last Wednesday at London’s 2-1 draw over the same opponents in the League Cup with a splendid individual action, used one of the rare ambush precision attacks to score the lead (25th). “I think he can score 40 goals a season,” said Sarri about the Belgian wing star, who would have loved to move to Spain in the summer, but has been playing outstandingly for weeks. “Now he still needs 33”.
“Had also deserved a victory”
FC Liverpool, on the other hand, had only lacked more serenity in their opponents’ penalty area before the break. Six or seven times Klopp’s strikers were in promising positions, but did not find the right conclusion. Mohamed Salah, the top scorer of the previous season, should have scored once or twice. With only three goals in the current competitions, the Egyptian has fallen short of his own expectations so far.
Klopp later explained that he wasn’t worried (“Scoring goals is like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget it“) about the 26-year-old’s short dry spell. But after recent investments in the three-digit million range, his squad is now so strongly staffed that he has little regard for the personal sensitivities of the permanent staff. Salah was replaced after 66 minutes and was replaced by Xerdan Shaqiri, who promptly missed the Reds’ best opportunity.
Xerdan Shaqiri Honours
- Swiss Super League: 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
- Swiss Cup: 2009–10, 2011–12
- Bayern Munich
- Bundesliga: 2012–13, 2013–14
- DFB-Pokal: 2012–13, 2013–14
- DFL-Supercup: 2012
- UEFA Champions League: 2012–13
- UEFA Super Cup: 2013
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2013
- Swiss Golden Player Award “SFAP Golden Player”: 2012
- Swiss Golden Player Award “Best Young Player”: 2012
- DFB-Pokal top goalscorer: 2012–13
- DFB-Pokal top assist provider: 2012–13
Chelsea were not able to allow any more precarious situations. Alisson, with a bit of luck, thwarted a huge Hazard counterchance to 2-0 before substitute Daniel Sturridge shot the ball into the corner from a supposedly impossible position, halfway to the left of the box. (89.) As curious as the draw was, it was in keeping with the balance of power.
“You ask me if we deserved the point? Of course we deserved the point,” Klopp said slightly gruffly at the press conference, “we also deserved a win. Chelsea is a great team, very hard to play, but we did it in an impressive way today”. The 51-year-old was particularly taken with his team’s morale. They had rebelled against the first defeat “with desperate urgency in a positive sense”, he stated later in a small round. Cashmio Bonus is the world’s happiest casino, check out to know more.
As always, it was after a big battle; Klopp wanted to talk about football, the English reporters about players. The Swabian defended himself strongly against a strongly personal approach, which Salah wanted to set off against the accuracy of the ex-national player Sturridge. “Are you all crazy that you only want to talk to me about Sturridge?” he kidnapped it, but he quickly calmed down in view of the tricky game schedule. “That was football as it should have been today,” he said, “now we have to recover and fly to Naples”.
After the Champions League match against Sarri’s ex-club, the next big hit is already scheduled for Sunday. In the home game against Manchester City, which only leads the table ahead of the Reds because of the better goal difference, Liverpool’s ability to win the title will be put to the test even more.