Saturday, August 20, 2022

Chelsea 1 – Liverpool 2 | Klopp’s Ingenious Italian Job, Henderson Circa 2013, and What Made The Cookie Crumble

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

T4O’s resident hipster, JD, investigates the three of the most telling factors that set Herr Klopp masterplan rolling, for a back-to-back victory at the Stamford Bridge, with a text book 1-2 away win.

#1 Klopp’s Italian Job

No one saw it coming, and I mean, no one. To sedate the wily Tony Conte, well-versed in the dark arts of Italian tactics, which a bit of his own medicine, was a sight to see. After the second goal went in, Juergen Klopp changed gears from 4th to 2nd, as his team, perhaps, for the first time in recent memory, sat back and defended with a deep line. The tables were well and truly turned, and then flipped, and then spun around for kicks, which saw Chelsea unfamiliarly, on the front-foot, with Klopp deploying the Italian low-block to utter perfection, drawing a confounded Conte out to play.

#2 Jordan Henderson Circa 2013-14

Could it be, that after muted performances of the past two season, inundated by injuries, that Jordan Henderson has finally found his gait? It seems so. Earlier in the week, having confessed that he was close to relinquishing the responsibility of weighty Liverpool armband, a performance of such calibre would have eased his immediate anxieties. Merely thinking of that 30-yard curler dots the skin with goosebumps. But to the immense credit of the unfashionable captain, that wasn’t the only highlight of his night – his nerveless running, positioning himself to always get to the second ball first, and his sheer shift he put in, laid the foundation of Liverpool’s midfield monopoly.

#3 Dejan Lovren’s Best Impression As A Ninja

Out of the periphery of Martin Atkinson’s peripheral vision, and off the camera, Dejan Lovren waged a silent war against Diego Costa, who by the 34th minute was flustered enough to rush towards the referee to complain about all the random, surreptitious blows he was dealt with. It was priceless. The piece de resistance of the performance, however, came earlier on, as he ghosted into the Chelsea box to leisurely tuck in a cross-field delivery from Phil Coutinho, past the flat-footed Thibaut Courtois in goal. That goal set the tempo and the aforementioned template of play that Juergen Klopp deployed, and thereby chart the course of Liverpool’s second, back-to-back victory at Stamford Bridge only for the second time in 40 years.

Honourable mentions

Gini Wijnaldum’s ability to turn on the ball assured Liverpool kept their counter-attacking momentum intact. Adam Lallana was Klopp’s hound from hell, as he’s fashioned himself as their most importnat player on away days. Joel Matip channelled his inner Beckenbauer. Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner were the key conduits for releasing pressure in the second-half.

Boss tha.

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