Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Liverpool vs Chelsea: A Tactical Preview On How The Two Sides Must Approach This Fascinating Fixture

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Liverpool have shown grit, determination and resilience to stay in the Premier League race alongside Manchester City, but their Sunday evening fixture against Chelsea brings back the nightmare of 2014. Anfield witnessed Steven Gerrard’s infamous ‘slip’ that took the game away from the Reds shattering their title dreams.

These two sides, meanwhile, are set to lock horns once again in pretty similar circumstances- Liverpool challenging the Citizens for the league while the Blues are fighting to ensure a ‘top four’ finish despite a blistering start to their campaign.

Jurgen Klopp has addressed the players as well as supporters to leave the past behind and create an Anfield ambience worth remembering for years to come.

With both the heavyweights enjoying a winning streak of late, this game is going to be a battle of nerves between Klopp and Maurizio Sarri – two of the most charismatic managers of the modern-day football. While Sarri registered a League Cup win at Anfield earlier this campaign, the weekend tie should be a different ball game depending upon their managerial masterclass.

Liverpool – Tactical Analysis And How They Should Approach

Klopp, at this stage, can’t afford to drop any more points and should go for a win from the kick-off exhibiting their aggressive attacking display. The Blues would look to have control of the midfield game, but the Merseysiders must react through ‘gegenpressing’ to disorganise the visitors in the first place. However, they must keep Eden Hazard isolated as the boisterous Belgian is capable of knocking down the Reds from one single opportunity.

“We have to make sure he can’t shine. Stop passes to him, react better than other teams did. When he has the ball, already too late. Read the game, read the passes. In a one vs one  you can’t defend him.”

The German revealed his plan to stop the attacking sensation who not only scored in the reverse fixture but also netted a stunning solo winner in the League Cup tie after coming on as a second-half substitute.

Chelsea – Tactical Analysis And How They Should Approach

The Blues must be keen on derailing the Reds’ campaign similar to what they did five years ago. However, at the same time, they should be disciplined and organised in sticking to their plan as they did in the previous meetings. They opted to pass the ball among themselves deep down the backline tempting the Reds’ front three to press high up the pitch.

This, in turn, opened up space in midfield and allowed Chelsea to frustrate Liverpool with their swift passing and one-touch football. The Reds were outplayed yet rescued a point thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s late stunner at Stamford Bridge back in September.

Sarri and his side went through a turmoil in later months but should bank on a similar strategy to stun the hosts in such an engaging encounter.

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