Thursday, September 20, 2018

This weekend saw 2 of the oldest and most influential clubs in the British Premier League face off. Chelsea F.C. and Liverpool have played each other 76 times over the history of the 2 clubs. With Chelsea currently third in the league and Liverpool right behind them in fifth it was sure to be an exciting addition to their long history.

What Happened

The match started out with Liverpool playing like the team their fans wish they were. Their passing was crisp, off-ball movement was great, and their high press defense gave Chelsea little time to do anything, winning them the ball in dangerous positions several times. However all good things must come to an end, especially when you’re watching a team who it seems is unable to hold a lead this season. The first half ended 0-0, with Chelsea fans happy they made it this far and Liverpool fans excited at the promise being shown today.

The second half was a little rougher for the Reds, with Chelsea fighting their way back into the game with some good possession. Mo Salah was finally able to break through for Liverpool and netted his 10th Premier League goal this season. However, just as it was against Sevilla this week in the Champions League, Liverpool were unable to hold on. In the 85th minute Willian scored a beautiful chip, which admittedly looked like it was supposed to be a cross, but it found the far upper ninety perfectly, just past the outstretched fingers of keeper Simon Mignolet.

The Good And The Bad

The game saw several players showing their stuff, Hazard, perhaps unsurprisingly had a great game. Always dangerous, every time he picked up the ball it seemed like he would beat 2 defenders and find a perfect pass. Davide Zappacosta was another impressive player for Chelsea this day. Most of Liverpool’s success breaking through the defense was as far away from Zappacosta as they could get, and he was very efficient breaking forward and finding his teammates in the attacking third. Danny Drinkwater also played a good game. Although he was the first substitute, he created quite a few dangerous positions for himself in the first half, seemingly cementing his position as a starter.

Now, I feel I must say that I am a Liverpool fan, so it brings me little joy to point out their flaws and rag on them. Mo Salah joined Liverpool’s ranks this summer and has made quite a name for himself on the squad, with 15 goals in all competitions so far and is the leading Premier League scorer with 10. Yes, I was happy when we signed him, he played well for Chelsea a couple seasons back, he is young, fast, and I saw him as a good addition to the squad. While I cannot say that he has not helped Liverpool this season, he is not a great striker.

Luis Suarez, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, these are great strikers. “But Sackett, so far this season Salah has more goals than any of them, how can you say that?” Excellent question readers. The fact of the matter is, while Mo Salah has been a good goal-scorer this season, he is not a great player. Of course to be considered a great offensive player you have to score goals, and he is doing that. But if you watch him play, he has no vision. Mo Salah basically has 2 plays. He picks it up at half field and uses his pace to take it down the sideline, or he gets the ball somewhere within 25 yards of the goal and NO MATTER WHAT, puts his head down and dribbles. Yes, you have to try and take defenders on, but you know what’s sometimes better than trying to dribble through 3 guys and get a shot off? Dribble through one guy, pick your head up, find your wide open teammate on the other side of the 18 and pass him the ball. When this man has the ball at his feet he knows it, because it takes up about 80% of his field of vision.

It’s like having Melo on the Thunder. Yeah, he’s one of the top scorers, but if you take 30-40 percent of your teams’ shots, and all you ever do when you get the ball is try and score it, how much are you really helping the big picture? I think it’s much better to have a bunch of players who are all decent and can work together, like when Leicester City won the league. Yes, Danny Drinkwater is a good midfielder, and Vardy has become one of the more consistent strikers in the league, but they played so well that year because they all worked together to find the best play every time, regardless of which player happens to be in the right spot.

 

What do you think? Is Mo Salah the best thing since sliced bread for a slightly above-average Liverpool side? Or would they be better off trading to find someone more team oriented? Regardless, the first thing they need to do is fix their defensive shape, so they can finally hold on to a league. Comment, post, debate, and I’ll see you all again next week!

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