Chelsea had no answers to Liverpool’s early onslaught as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Friday night.

 

Chelsea faced off at Stamford Bridge against a Liverpool side who came into the match high on confidence after dismantling the defending champions Leicester City 4-1 at Anfield in their previous league game.

The Reds continued their big-match form as they took a 2-0 lead within the first half of the game as Chelsea seemed to have no answer to Liverpool’s unrelenting attacks from the start. The Blues managed to pull one back in the second half through Diego Costa but could not find the equaliser, which put an end to Antonio Conte’s long-lasting unbeaten home record.

TheHardTackle takes a look at a five important talking points from the game.

1. Henderson leads from the front

Jordan Henderson has often made public his desire to become the next great leader for Liverpool and at Stamford Bridge, the captain led from the front, scoring an absolute scorcher of a goal from distance.

Even though Henderson was the Man of The Match for almost everyone, his first-half performance beat his second half by a mile as he ran the show in the middle of the park at Stamford Bridge. The Englishman has become a key figure under Klopp and is starting to show the leadership qualities that a captain of a Liverpool side needs to have.

2. Chelsea suffering from Courtois cooldown

Although Chelsea have had a rather good start to the season, Thibaut Courtois is yet to get going in the Chelsea goal and it is slowly starting to reflect on Chelsea’s overall result.

The keeper must improve the quality of his performances and return to his best form, which is what the Chelsea fans and his teammates expect from the Belgian international.

3. Diego Costa’s form the only bright spot for Chelsea

There was much talk about Diego Costa’s future at the club under Antonio Conte and the striker had reportedly acknowledged himself that he wished for a move back to his former club Atletico Madrid. However, it seems Costa has forgotten the summer transfer window disappointment and is determined to prove himself in the Premier League once again.

The player’s on-pitch aggression seems to have struck a chord with Conte, with the Italian encouraging Costa’s warrior instincts on the field. Costa’s form has been a huge part of Chelsea’s wonderful start to the season and Conte would be relying on the Spain international’s contribution in his quest to put the club back among the elites after a disappointing last season.

4. Liverpool must find balance between early blitz and late blips

Liverpool’s intensity in the beginning of any game, with this game in particular, is almost unparalleled. The Reds seem to be have put their foot on the pedal from the get-go and were duly rewarded with a 2-0 lead going into half-time. But the Reds let Chelsea crawl back into the game and a result that really should’ve been secured way earlier looked a rather nervy affair heading into the final minutes.

Friday’s win is not the only match where this has happened. Even Klopp has admitted to feeling unsure about a result until the final whistle and while some of it could be chalked down to the intensity and competitive level of the league in England, it is often Liverpool who appear to cool down in the second half. Klopp would have to address this burn-out issue quickly if they are to mount a serious title challenge this season.

5. Chelsea fail in their first real test of the season

Despite amassing 10 points from the first four games and remaining unbeaten through the period, Chelsea had not faced an opposition that are likely to be up there fighting for the top honours at the end of the season. Their four matches before the Liverpool game were against West Ham, Watford, Burnley and Swansea.

While a case could be made for West Ham, the Hammers were missing several key players during their trip to Stamford Bridge and Liverpool’s game was really the first true test for Conte and his men. The first-half was a stark reminder to the Chelsea players, Conte and the fans that there is still a long way to go before the damage of the last season is fully healed.

The first-half resembled an almost identical image of their games from early last season and there were even some boos around the ground as the teams entered the tunnel at half-time. While Conte is likely to be given time to improve the team, the Italian’s honeymoon period is well and truly over and he will know that there is still a lot of work left to be done before this Chelsea team returns to its former glory.

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