Chelsea: Thiago Friday, Jota Saturday, Sadio Sunday – YNWA
This weekend was one that very few Liverpool fans would dare have dreamed of, and it was only right that Sadio Mane was blessed with the opportunity to top it off aright for the reds.
Liverpool going up against Chelsea this early in the season is a fixture very few reds would have wanted, especially considering the kind of signings Chelsea have made. Admittedly, you’ll have to play everyone twice, but who in their right mind is in a hurry to go up against Timo Werner and Kai Havertz this early in the season?
The news of Thiago Alcantara’s signing was one that some fans had given up on. Jurgen Klopp’s comment about certain clubs being financed by oligarchs or countries must have been a way to set up the fans for a “happy” “sucker punch”. I had even lost interest in the transfer window altogether. All I was hoping for at that point (and still hope for) was an injury-free season.
The disappointment of losing Timo Werner to Chelsea still left a bitter after taste in the mouth. Showing up to Stamford Bridge and him grabbing a winner would surely have ensured lots of fans lose their faith in Klopp or/and F.S.G.
Thiago Alcantara signing for Liverpool on Friday was a welcome addition. I have not really watched him so I wasn’t exactly excited at the reported interest in him, but then he came highly recommended. If the people whose opinion I trust say he is good, then he must be that good.
If #ThiagoFriday was one we had almost gotten tired of waiting for, then #JotaSaturday was a shocker. Out of the blues, Diogo Jota who I had watched and admired, was a Red.
Just like the news of Liverpool’s interest in Fabinho had lasted less than a day before he signed for the reds, so also, news of Liverpool courting Jota had only gotten serious on #ThiagoFriday yet by the time Manchester United filed out to lose to Crystal Palace, Diogo Jota’s signing was officially confirmed.
I must say though, if Jota had signed early enough to make the squad on Sunday, and had come on instead of James Milner, Chelsea will likely have suffered a heavier defeat.
With both signings made, Liverpool fans were looking forward to the match against Chelsea. After Chelsea’s struggle with Brighton, this was supposed to be the match where their team clicked. Frank Lampard getting into a shouting match with Jurgen Klopp, as well as Klopp’s recent comments on Chelsea’s spending was meant to be the tinderbox that sets Chelsea off.
Chelsea trying to get into an end-to-end game with Liverpool got the match off to an explosive start. The Blues were being worthy opponents. As good as Liverpool were being, Chelsea stood a chance.
All of that was flipped on its head when one of Chelsea’s attacks ended up in Alisson Becker’s gloves. He sent the ball to Jordan Henderson and one pass forward, Sadio Mane was through on goal to kick off #SadioSunday
Andreas Christiansen made the wrong choice by foiling Sadio’s run with an unbrotherly hug which would have been more appropriate for rugby. V.A.R like a recurring character in a telenovela got involved just as it has done all weekend and Christiansen was sent off.
It is always going to be difficult for any team to go up against Liverpool as eleven men. Going one man down is an uphill task that very few teams will be interested in daring to take on. Maybe Bayern Munich though. Burnley on their day too. Athletico Madrid too. I doubt if 11-man Liverpool would be interested in playing against 10-man Athletico Madrid.
Inevitably, Liverpool got the first goal through Sadio Mane after some silky play involving Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. Kepa Arrizabalaga gifting Sadio Mane the second goal was welcomed by all in Red. It was uncalled for but welcomed anyways. After all, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
One false penalty claim later and Chelsea were opportune with a way back into the match. Jurginho has an antecedent of jumping in a funny manner before scoring his penalties. Sunday wasn’t his day though.
Alisson dived to his left to deny Jurginho and seal all three points for Liverpool.
Some people argue that Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, and Bobby Firmino are not world-class because they don’t each dominate every match the way a Christiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi will. They fail to realize that by sharing the burden of leading the team upfront, no one ever gets overburdened.
That is what Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have suffered in the last couple of seasons. The effect of this has been exaggerated more by Barcelona failing to win the league last season.
I hope Liverpool goes on to successfully defend the league. It is still two matches into the season, but I don’t mind chalking this off as two matches unbeaten.
Lincoln City is up next. I hope the kids get a chance and do well.