Liverpool v Chelsea: The team, the tactics, the blueprint for Chelsea to win at Anfield.

Image Credit: Chelsea travel to Anfield this afternoon written off, not given any chance of victory and there just to make up...

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Chelsea travel to Anfield this afternoon written off, not given any chance of victory and there just to make up the numbers. I firmly believe that Liverpool are there for the taking. Here is what I believe to be the blueprint for Maurizio Sarri to take three points and derail their title hopes again.

I wrote a preview to the game on Friday identifying the defensive weaknesses that I believe Liverpool have (so make sure you check it out here) and it’s imperative that we take advantage. Plenty of focus ahead of the game will be on the attacking threat that Liverpool pose us this afternoon but it’s important for everyone to understand that we aren’t exactly toothless up top.

First and foremost, I do not want to focus on the opposition at all as plenty has already been said about them this season. We know their quality, we know their strengths, but we also know their weaknesses which, during the second half against Tottenham the other week, were brutally exposed but never taken advantage of.

Maurizio Sarri MUST get his team selection right here with the tactics to ensure it gives us the best opportunity to do exactly that. The false-nine we must forget and put to bed for a sustained period – surely, he will not decide to deploy Eden Hazard there and nullify his attacking threat, right?

The 4-3-3 formation he insists on playing has come up short against our top four rivals this season with our centre-backs becoming exposed with the lack of defensive cover in the deep-lying midfield position. How many times have we said that Jorginho cannot tackle and how many times has he/we been caught out?

Without question the manager must be employ the same tactic used to face Man City at Wembley in the League Cup final and Tottenham at home in the Premier League. On both occasions we gave Jorginho and our back-four cover by giving an instruction to our other central midfielders to drop and sit deep next to the Italian if the other goes forward. By doing so, we never looked exposed, we looked to have a better balance and comfortable.

Some people will argue that it was still the 4-3-3 formation and just a varied version of it but for me it was clear that our squad is naturally suited to 4-2-3-1.

There must be a question over David Luiz today. If he is switched on, focused and plays with discipline then play him. Anything less and he becomes a liability and Andreas Christensen needs to swap with him. I expect Emerson to continue in the Premier League today at left-back despite Marcos Alonso’s goal-scoring efforts last Thursday. It’s all he did in the game to be honest.

The midfield three will be interesting to say the least. It will be Jorginho and Kante but who out of the three options available starts? For me it’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has shown is glimpses of his real class moving forward. He is the better attacking option compared to Kovacic and Ross Barkley at the current time for me, so he starts. Mateo Kovacic will work hard up and down all day long; Ross Barkley will look to sit deeper and unlock the door but RLC is better in attacking areas and has more of a presence on the pitch.

Now some people will not agree with me on this, but I believe due to work rate alone WITHOUT the ball that Willian should start in THIS GAME ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi alongside Eden Hazard. CHO is an option to come on using his pace in the second half, but we need protection out wide and Willian gives us more at this stage in defensive areas.

Up front I want to see Olivier Giroud start (as posted also on Friday here) because he offers the team more with our overall play that Gonzalo Higuain at the current time. Giroud is a focal-point, he is a presence up against their two centre-backs and it’s important that he starts to give Willian and Eden Hazard the options to play up to him and hold the ball up. If Higuain starts, I believe it could turn out to be a long afternoon for him. I sincerely hope I am wrong but based on how we play and how he does, Giroud must start.

The three defensive weaknesses I believe Liverpool have:

  • Fullbacks – No real protection in front of them, need to move into the spaces left behind them when they go forward – Eden Hazard to isolate Alexander-Arnold. 

  • Defend Narrow when being counter-attacked – Chelsea must keep the ball wide when we counter-attack Liverpool. They always encourage their fullbacks to tuck inside so we need to force them to step out to leave the narrow position and create spaces between them and their centre-backs. 

  • Caught Ball-Watching – Virtually all their defence and midfield work so hard to get back into defensive positions when they lose the ball, there is a chance that a late run into their box will give us a great opportunity to score. Their defence drops deep, their midfield two back on the penalty spot, all looking at the ball and not a run in behind or late. 

So, for me that’s the team, that’s the tactics and that’s the way we can beat Liverpool today. They are a great side but nowhere near unbeatable. Their defence is yet to be put to the sword and it’s about time that someone does it. With Eden Hazard playing as he is, we have as good a chance as anyone.

What do you think? Come on Chelsea!



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