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Analysis on how Chelsea got defeated by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge 

Analysis on how Chelsea got defeated by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge 
Highlights

Liverpool made a flying start at Stamford Bridge on Friday as Chelsea, inexplicably, sat back and decided to do nothing about it. Goals from Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson saw them take a 0-2 lead at halftime, and although, Diego Costa pulled one back, Liverpool walked away with a crucial win.

Liverpool made a flying start at Stamford Bridge on Friday as Chelsea, inexplicably, sat back and decided to do nothing about it. Goals from Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson saw them take a 0-2 lead at halftime, and although, Diego Costa pulled one back, Liverpool walked away with a crucial win.

How they started

Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1):Courtois (GK); Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Kante, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa

Antonio Conte made just one change to the lineup he used against Swansea in the last game. David Luiz was back at the Bridge and he replaced the injured John Terry, who is struggling with a foot injury. Cesc Fabregas has benched once again as Oscar started ahead of him in the midfield.

Liverpool XI (4-3-3):Mignolet (GK); Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Sturridge, Coutinho

Just ahead of the start of the game, Roberto Firmino was ruled out with a minor groin problem and Philippe Coutinho replaced him in the starting lineup. Dejan Lovren was also back in the team in place of Lucas Leiva, while Simon Mignolet kept his place ahead of Loris Karius.

Chelsea's 'pressing' concerns

One thing you expect from an Antonio Conte side is high work rate, but strangely that was missing in the first half of the match. The home side sat deep in their own half and invited pressure onto themselves as Liverpool moved the ball around. There was no urgency in Chelsea's play, and they did not put Liverpool under any pressure when they had the ball.

Oscar was seen jogging around, Nemanja Matic seemed disinterested, while Kante looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Although Chelsea started in a 4-2-3-1 formation, it changed to a 4-5-1 formation without the ball. Oscar dropped back to make it into a 5-man midfield. However, there was so much space between the midfield and Diego Costa that the striker hardly saw the ball. He had just 2 touches inside the box in the first half.

The lack of pressing from Chelsea allowed Liverpool to dictate the play at the center of the park as they raced to a 0-2 lead within 36 minutes of the game. The visitor's second goal of the match arrived from a crisp strike from Jordan Henderson, but once again, the fact that he was allowed so much time on the ball at the edge of the box was partially responsible for it. Matic made an attempt, albeit halfhearted, to close him down as he unleashed the dipping shot, but it was too little too late.

Gary Cahill has a shocker

With David Luiz making his second debut for the side, a lot of responsibility fell on the shoulders of Gary Cahill to marshal the defence, and the England international failed spectacularly. The 30-year-old was caught out of position during the first goal and made a poor clearance which led to the second goal in what was a forgettable night for him at the Stamford Bridge.

When Philippe Coutinho was preparing to deliver his free-kick in the 17th minute, almost 5 Chelsea players were looking away from the ball. It was hard to decipher whether the Blues were deploying a zonal marking system or a man to man marking system - such was their shambolic positioning. Meanwhile, Cahill was involved in a physical battle with Joel Matip at the far post, and as the defender dropped out, he followed him, leaving the far post completely exposed. Almost four Liverpool players were left unmarked when Coutinho's delivery reached the box, and it was Dejan Lovren who applied the finishing touch to score his first Liverpool goal.

For the second goal, it was a poor clearance from Cahill, when he was under no real pressure, that reached Henderson at the edge of the box. Had he properly put his foot through the ball, the goal would not have arrived.

Kante and Matic finally arrive in the second half

Chelsea came out in the second half with a lot more purpose and enthusiasm. They began to push higher up the pitch, which allowed Kante and Matic to dictate the game at the middle of the park. Kante sat in front of the defence while Matic ventured forward from time to time, and eventually, it was one of those runs from the Serbian which led to Chelsea's only goal of the match.

Chelsea also began to expose Liverpool's weakness at the left back spot where James Milner was also being played out of position. Willian, Branislav Ivanovic, and even Diego Costa at times outnumbered Liverpool on their right wing as they drilled in a host of crosses.
This led to Liverpool shifting their attention to their left wing, and this left more space on the right for Chelsea to expose, which Matic did in the 61st minute. Henderson and Lallana were also at fault, as they failed to track Matic's run after the midfield dribbled past them initially before spreading the ball wide and heading into the box to receive the return pass.

Eden Hazard and the rest of the midfield moved much closer to Costa in the second half, and the Belgian was even playing as a second striker at times. With more bodies around him, Costa's influence in the game increased significantly as well.

However, Liverpool held on to their 1-goal lead. They dropped to a defensive 4-4-2 formation without the ball. Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana formed the front two and pressed at the top, while Daniel Sturridge, who is not known for his work rate, dropped into the midfield or went out wide.

Chelsea failed to secure the second goal, and in hindsight, it was their strange tactics in the first 20 minutes of the match to sit back and wait for things to happen that cost Chelsea all the three points.

Credits: sportscafe.in

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