‘Attractive and vulnerable’ – national media verdict against Liverpool after draw with Chelsea

Liverpool started their Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

Luis Diaz opened the scoring in 19th minute after finishing off a free-flowing move that saw Alexis Mac Allister and Mohamed Salah combine. Axel Disasi levelled proceedings 18 minutes later but only after Liverpool had a second goal chalked off after Salah drifted into an offside position.

VAR then came to the Reds’ rescue after Ben Chilwell thought he’d put Chelsea into the lead.

With both clubs at loggerheads in the pursuit of Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo, they couldn’t be separated on the pitch either as honours ended even.

” Chelsea and Liverpool played out their traditional draw but it felt like a morale, rather than a moral, victory for the home side. If this is what Pochball 2.0 looks like – with Mauricio Pochettino returning to the Premier League as Chelsea head coach – then bring it on.

“Chelsea were entertaining, vibrant and vulnerable but they will also feel as if they should have won. As will Liverpool. Both sides had long periods of dominance and had the chances but, as in their previous six meetings, it ended in a draw.

“In the executive boxes sat the owners – Chelsea’s Todd Boehly and Liverpool’s John W Henry – prompting the conclusion surely that the pursuit of the Brighton midfielder, Caicedo, would have been up for discussion.”

Sam Cunningham of the i: “It was a moment of peak Liverpool perfection. A goal made from back to front. Scything through an entire opposition team with positioning, pace, passing. The final passes: Alexis Mac Allister finding Mohamed Salah out wide, the slight delay before the sensational through ball into Luis Diaz, the slide in to convert. The problem was the rest of it.

“So much of Jurgen Klopp’s success at Liverpool has revolved around that front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. For a period, it was up there with the best in the world. The Liverpool manager has forwards at his disposal now, but can he get anything close to resembling that past?”

“For the first 66 minutes against Chelsea he tried a front four, almost: a three of Salah, Diogo Jota and Diaz, with Cody Gakpo just behind. But with the game edging in Chelsea’s favour, Klopp swapped Jota, struggling with an injury following a clash in the first half, with Darwin Nunez. Remember he was an £85m striker once upon a time?

“Salah may be 31 but judging by his Instagram photos his body is at least a decade younger. Even last season, there were spells when his powers were questioned and he ended up scoring 32 goals in 53 games. He has still got it. And judging by his reaction to being substituted in the second half – denying him the opportunity to continue his run of scoring for Liverpool in every opening game of the season – he knows it.”

‘Back to the mix of irresistible and vulnerable’

Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail: “As Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez caught a corner in added time and initiated a counter attack towards the sunshine, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held his hands above his head like a man who feared a catastrophe may be about to unfold before him.

“On this occasion it didn’t happen. The Chelsea move did carry them 90 yards in to the Liverpool penalty area only for Alexis MacAllister to apply a rather desperate but perfectly timed tackle at exactly the right moment.

“But this, in one moment, was the essence of Liverpool during what could yet be a protracted period of transition. It’s impossible to take your eyes off them at either end of the field. Brilliant for the TV cameras but less palatable when you have designs on winning the Premier League.

“Klopp fielded four forwards at Stamford Bridge and his team could have been halfway to victory after thirty minutes. By that time they had scored once though Luis Diaz, hit the bar and had another goal, from Mo Salah, ruled out for a tight offside.

“But by the end, they were back to that familiar last season mix of irresistible and vulnerable. Indeed, by the time Salah was sulking his way towards the substitutes’ bench after being withdrawn with 15 minutes to go, Liverpool had long since lost any semblance of control of the game.”

Ian Doyle, Liverpool ECHO: “John Henry didn’t have to travel thousands of miles to see firsthand proof of what Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp knew for weeks.



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