A few huge fixtures in the Wednesday Champions League match day ,had a tough time choosing what to watch here. Ultimately I didn’t regret watching these all time great European clubs with a rich history. Liverpool manager Klopp made huge calls in regards to the starting 11 leaving out Mane and Virgil and starting with Origin and Matip. After a comfortable opening 20 minutes for the reds this looked a not so bad decision. When Milan roared back with two quick fire goals, it suddenly didn’t look so much a great decision. Gomez was found particularly wanting in the build up to Rebic’s equalizer. The Croat was in for the injured Zlatan and ably deputized for the Swede.
Donnarruma’s departure to PSG meant there would be some huge shoes to fill for the goalie coming in to replace him for Milan. Frenchman Maignan had an awesome game saving a Salah penalty expertly( a rarity in English soccer), but was powerless to stop the Salah second half goal. Brahim Diaz is another guy with huge shoes to fill following the departure of the brilliant number 10 Hakan to Inter. He played very well. So where did Milan go wrong? Sitting back. They dropped deep at the start of that second half and paid for it. The Rossonerri could have introduced Giroud earlier than they did, the Frenchman’s aerial prowess would have certainly caused more problems to Gomez who was the weakest link in that red’s defence.
A masterful defensive display from the Blues after going a man down just before half time. Maybe it was the rare ineptitude of the Reds attack that helped them 🤔?I must say have never seen Liverpool’s front three struggle as much as they did in that second half in a long time. Chelsea’s display showing the likes of Arsenal how it is done with 10 men. The red card for Reece James was farcical. Look, I do not have an issue with the penalty in itself. The ref’s interpretation that Reece prevented a goal from being scored is well within reason and the annals of the law.
What really gets me going is the fact that he viewed it as a sending off offense. A guy who intentionally wants to remove a ball from the line with his arm will not lead with his thigh first. He will do a Suarez VS Ghana World Cup 2010, swipe it away full on. Anyway special mention goes to Harvey Elliott who put it the best midfield performance for Liverpool, I predict he is going to have an impact this season. Christiansen and Thiago Silva with an assured defensive display for Chelsea. Lukaku did his job well leading the attack especially in the second half, his hold up play was top notch providing relief at times to the beligured back four. Last thing on Liverpool. When it became apparent with 10 minutes to go that his side was struggling to break down Chelsea, Klopp didn’t have the big striker there to cause aerial trouble for Chelsea’s backline. Jota,Salah and Mane are not the best in that respect. I call it the Jose Mourinho way and it sometimes works when you struggling to score.
Sick of hearing about the European Super League? Well my aim is to take your mind off the politics of the game and focus on what the game really is about. What happens on the pitch. One of the clubs involved in the breakaway league Liverpool were in action Monday night against Leeds United in a revival of the Yorkshire versus Merseyside dynamic.
Liverpool dropped more points and its teeth gritting for their fans that they did it from a winning position. Both goals were as a result of errors, Mane putting the final touch in the 31st minute, Leeds keeper Meslier committing himself to challenging Alexander-Arnold prematurely. Spanish defender Diego Llorente getting the jump on Ozan Kabak to level matters with three minutes to go. How many teams can say they outfoxed the Reds in the possession category with Liverpool having pass-masters Thiago and Wijnaldum in midfield? 66 percent possession was the final tally for the Whites who we think could actually have taken all three points here. Bamford got unlucky striking the woodwork. Crucial interceptions by Allison and Fabinho also saving Jurgen Klopp another fan-scrutinizing defeat. Liverpool remain sixth two points behind West Ham in 4th and a point behind Chelsea in fifth with the Blues having played a game less.
Speaking of Champions League, you know Boldeagle got so much love for this tournament. In everything there is a time to move on to better things. We believe the Super League is a response to the UCL failing to rebrand and push on with the times. Whether its the right decision or not to form it is not up to us at the end but this is a wake up call to UEFA to do something with the tournament that will make the bigger clubs interested in participating in it. Some of the matches in the UCL have been dull and one sided for a while now.If the NFL can do it with American football and NBA with basketball, why not ESL with soccer. Digest that for today.
Klopp has to admit his team selection was not the best here. Selecting Keita ahead of Thiago proved to be a mistake as Modric and Kroos dictated play in the first half as Los Blancos surged to a 2-0 first half lead. Once Thiago came on the penetration in attack was now evident and its little surprise they pulled one back.
Trent Alexander Arnold
The England right back lost his place in the national side over the international break and Gareth Southgate looks vindicated in his decision. His defensive capabilities have been in question this season. Boldeagle thinks he is better suited with a defensive minded right back behind him on the flank whilst he operates as a right winger. Clearly at fault for the SECOND goal, his header back easily intercepted. Trent deserves credit for assisting the Salah goal though but the critics are vindicated in that he is not a complete right back.
The Brazilian youngster does not score enough goals but last night he showed the predatory instinct. He misses a lot of chances but his stats against Liverpool should please Zidane. He is more effective as a winger than an all out strike though. If there is a weakness to his play it is in heading the ball. Look at the header he made after 12 minutes from a Ferland Mendy cross. All in all, man of the match performance.
Lastly, Boldeagle is no fan of early substitutions. Keita being hurled off by Klopp after 43 minutes last night is bound to demoralize the player and there is absolutely no excuse for it. It was not as if the Thiago would have turned the match on its head in those two minutes to half time. Ozan Kabak for me is now a full fledged RED after a great performance marking in-form Karim Benzema.
Arsenal can have no complaints whatsoever with the result. Liverpool played them off their own patch. Arsenal could not string a combination of passes to save their lives. The key for the Reds was winning back the ball as quickly as possible once they lose it. Aubameyang and Lacazette were lonely figured up top. The introduction of Jota changed the game in favour of the reds. For such a small guy,his aerial threat is very high. Looks like the only route back into Europe for the Gunners is winning the Europa League. Liverpool now back into contention for champions league place,2 pts adrift of Chelsea in fifth although Everton and West Ham have games in hand.