Ten games into the Thomas Tuchel era, Chelsea remain unbeaten and literally impossible to beat. Southampton’s Takumi Minamino, on loan from Liverpool, ironically, remains the only player to have been able to score on Tuchel’s defense. Liverpool could’ve used him today, with Christensen, Rudiger & Co marshaling their vaunted front three, as well as a returning Diogo Jota, with relative ease.
But it wasn’t just about the defensive performance today. Chelsea didn’t just come to Anfield to defend deep and counter. We pressed high, we kept possession, we didn’t shirk from the challenge. It was, in the words of the head coach who recorded just his third win in 15 tries against Jurgen Klopp, a “complete performance”.
“I am very, very happy with the performance. It was clear we needed a complete performance in all aspects of the game. We did this, we were very brave with the ball and never lost intensity with the ball. We were always aggressive and very brave. This was the key. It was a top team performance and a deserved win.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
18 - Only Manchester City (24) have earned more points than Chelsea (18) since Thomas Tuchel took over eight games ago; Frank Lampard earned only seven points from his final eight games in charge. Spark. pic.twitter.com/59Hdnt5ueb— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2021
It can be easy to overthink big games, but the thing that needs to be ensured is utmost concentration, determination, and focus, and Chelsea were almost flawless in those departments. We have the talent, it’s about applying that talent in the best possible way. To a man, we did that today.
Even with the football gods playing their usual chaotic VAR games — Werner’s goal chalked off by an (arm-)hair(!), Kanté’s handball in the are ignored because no one really knows what the rules are anyway — Chelsea were able to find the key moment to make the ultimate difference.
It’s a “big blow” to Liverpool, as Klopp reflected afterwards, and a big win for Chelsea, a classic six-pointer with just eleven matches left now this season.
“We played with courage, had excellent moments with the ball, had moments we needed to suffer. Never lost the attitude and desire and a deserved win and big performance. It was a very good team performance. They ask you a lot of questions and we need to have the answers.
“Everyone was very brave and everyone was sharp. It is a six-point game because the others lose. The race is on, there are still 11 games to go. We go step by step. We can never rest and never celebrate, there is no time.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky via BBC
The win sees Chelsea finish the day in fourth, though West Ham in sixth do have a match in hand. They play on Sunday, against Arsenal. Our next match is the day after, against Everton, who also have a match in hand and are just two points behind in fifth. (That’s right, Liverpool are down to seventh, having now lost five in a row at home for the first time ever!)
But maybe we do have a bit of time to enjoy this win tonight, for just a few hours.