Liverpool’s next three home games will shape their fortune for the rest of the season. They face Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal in the Premier League at Anfield in quick succession. However, the best way to prepare here is to take one game at a time.
The situation in which the Reds find themselves is hardly ideal. They entertain Chelsea on the back of three consecutive defeats at Anfield. Besides being eliminated from two cup competitions quite recently, Klopp’s side has managed only one win in 2017 so far.
Certainly, this is not the best time to face Chelsea, and comparing the betting odds for this game versus Liverpool’s previous games is an eye-opening experience. Had Liverpool been in the same form as they were in November or December, this game would have been massive for both teams as will as the bookmakers. It is still a massive game, but for Liverpool only. One more defeat, and they’re out of the race. The bookies, however, are as usual backing the home side and pinning their hopes on the Reds to win at Anfield on Tuesday night.
A tactical switch back in September, after Chelsea lost back to back Premier League games against Liverpool and Arsenal, saw them achieve a remarkable progress. They are a compact side defensively and it won’t be easy to break them down. In fact, since September, only Tottenham have been able to beat them in the Premier League. And that is why, Liverpool must follow Spurs’ blueprint to success when they take on Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Chelsea’s impregnable defence was torn apart by Spurs in their 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane at the start of this month. The league leaders conceded two identical goals on either half, exploiting Chelsea’s only area of vulnerability.
The two goals were created from two crosses. Both from the right hand side. Christian Eriksen whipped in two magnificent crosses, and Dele Alli headed them to perfection. What Tottenham did that night was they nullified Chelsea’s threat from the wing-backs who are at the heart of Conte’s system.
The high pressing football from Pochettino’s side didn’t allow Chelsea to dominate and control the midfield. It didn’t allow the likes of Victor Moses or Marcos Alonso to push forward and join attacks frequently. Home sides are likely to dominate, and so did Spurs’ two full-backs, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, whose pace and power created problems for Chelsea.
Another interesting tactic used by Pochettino was the use of the aerial advantage against Azpilicueta. Deep crosses flew in at the far post, where Alli got the better of the Spaniard.
Liverpool are expected to play fluently with Sadio Mane around. The trio of Mane, Coutinho, and Firmino likes to interchange their positions making life difficult for defenders to mark any particular player. Both Milner and Clyne are capable of producing good crosses into the box, and it is upto the likes of Firmino or Lallana (tall players) to take aerial advantage.
Above all, Liverpool have done well against teams who have tried to play an open game. The Reds have struggled against sides that have come to Anfield with an intention to draw. This is probably why Klopp’s record against big teams is so good. Roll on Tuesday night!
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