Liverpool’s win at Chelsea suggests Klopp’s men will be title contenders



Might Liverpool have finally turned a corner under manager Jurgen Klopp?

He’s been in charge almost a year now. And if his side’s unexpected run to the Europa League final in the remainder of last season, which he took over in October, was promising, he may now be delivering. On Friday, his Reds went to Chelsea and defeated the undefeated Londoners 2-1.

The game was preceded by a lights show, for some reason.Might Liverpool have finally turned a corner under manager Jurgen Klopp?

He’s been in charge almost a year now. And if his side’s unexpected run to the Europa League final in the remainder of last season, which he took over in October, was promising, he may now be delivering. On Friday, his Reds went to Chelsea and defeated the undefeated Londoners 2-1.

The game was preceded by a lights show, for some reason.

And then fireworks followed. Liverpool played an energetic first half in which its swashbuckling attack battered Chelsea’s stout defense to bits.

“The beginning was brilliant, brilliant for my side,” Klopp declared after the game. “We played football like hell. It was really nice to watch.”

In the 17th minute, after some nervy stuff in the back for Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho swung in a cross to the far post where four Reds were wide open and central defender Dejan Lovren finished cleanly.

In the 36th minute, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson scored on an absolutely perfect long shot from way outside the penalty area.

Chelsea turned up much stronger in the second half, pressuring Liverpool hard and forcing those predictable defensive mistakes. After an hour, Joel Matip was beaten to the end line by Nemanja Matic, who chipped the ball back to Diego Costa. The Brazilian-Spanish striker stabbed his one chance home.

An outstanding Thibaut Courtois save late on prevented Divock Origi’s header from putting the game away for the Reds. But they hung on anyway, seeing to it that Chelsea has beaten Liverpool just once in its last seven home games, losing four. And, as ever after a big win, there were cuddles from Klopp for his players – even for Matip, who also got a playful you-blew-our-shutout shove from his German manager.

The win perhaps flattered the Reds ever so slightly, given the way each team controlled a half. But that Liverpool is finally winning this sort of game must be satisfying to its long-suffering fans. Because the disparity from the start of last season, which got Brendan Rodgers fired and made way for Klopp, is rather striking.

In the 2015-16 campaign, the Reds opened with wins over Stoke City and lowly Bournemouth. But once they had to face better opposition, they went to pieces, tying Arsenal and then losing to West Ham United and Manchester United. It proved to be the start of a run in which Liverpool would win just one of eight games – and change managers.

This year, the Reds’ brutal opening to the season, courtesy of some stadium renovations, saw them away at Arsenal, Burnley and Tottenham consecutively, then at home against defending champions Leicester, before another away game at Chelsea. But Liverpool won a seven-goal thriller over the Gunners, dropped the game to Burnley, then took a point at Spurs and hammered Leicester 4-1 in its home opener. Combined with the win over Chelsea, the Reds have now taken 10 points from 12 against the last two league champions and last season’s second- and third-place finishers.

It’s awfully early, of course. But Liverpool sits just two points under league leaders Manchester City, although Pep Guardiola’s side has a game in hand. We’re not yet a seventh of a way through the 2016-17 Premier League season, but Klopp’s side might legitimately be in this thing. And that’s a rare thing on Merseyside these days.

Posted by on Sep 17 2016. Filed under Featured, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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