Premier League giants: What’s going on at Liverpool and Chelsea?Subscribe to Showmax Pro
Who would’ve thought that a game between Liverpool and Chelsea in the middle of the season would end up being a mid-table clash?
With the two underperforming giants facing off at Anfield this Saturday (live on Showmax Pro, courtesy of SuperSport), it could be a moment that rejuvenates the campaign for the winner while really compounding the season’s misery for the loser.
Problems at Liverpool
Still fatigued from last season
Liverpool played every single possible game that they could possibly play last season as they made a serious challenge to win four different major trophies.
They ended up winning two in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup while missing out on the biggest two, the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. While the season would have to be deemed a success, it’s probably fair to say that it ended as a downer for the Reds emotionally.
The exhausting nature of that campaign has clearly taken its toll on the first team and they were unable to hit the ground running in a tactical system that demands peak athleticism.
Seventh year syndrome for Klopp
While Jurgen Klopp’s credentials as a manager are not in dispute, there is a pattern in his managerial career that is starting to look like more than a coincidence.
The German has been at Liverpool for seven years now and the results have dipped dramatically. The same happened after seven years at his two previous clubs (Mainz and Borussia Dortmund).
It would be foolish to say that Klopp’s time at Anfield is done, but it would be accurate to say that his squad needs more reinforcements and there needs to be some patience while the team gets rebuilt.
A team that needs rebuilding
In all areas of the field, Liverpool are looking more and more vulnerable than in the recent past.
The midfield is an area that’s arguably underperforming the most and it’s a crucial component for the whole team to successfully pull off Klopp’s high-pressing tactics.
In attack, short-term replacements for Sadio Mane and long-term replacements for Roberto Firmino haven’t hit the ground running. In defence, more and more goals are being leaked.
Whichever way you look at these problems, they don’t look like issues that can be resolved overnight.
Problems at Chelsea
Dealing with a change of ownership
Not all on-field problems should be blamed on off-field ones, but the uncertainty that’s surrounded the club throughout a change of ownership has clearly had an effect throughout the club.
Roman Abramovich’s historic reign at the club came to a sudden end due to the Russo-Ukrainian War. With that came a change of ownership with American Todd Boehly coming in, which in turn led to a change in manager with Thomas Tuchel going out.
Needless to say, most current Chelsea players signed for a completely different looking club and the uncertainty in identity and playing style is showing on the pitch.
Teething problems for Potter
Many eyebrows were raised when Graham Potter was appointed as manager. Everyone has been impressed with his career path: the Chelsea job did look like a big step up.
There will always be the same questions that are asked when young managers are hired at big Premier League clubs (especially when they’re British). Will they make the step up? Will they be able to deal with all the big personalities? How will they deal with the increase in pressure?
With only two wins in his last nine games, it’s fair to say that Potter is probably struggling with at least one of the above.
Too many signings
While it’s always important to reinforce a squad with new signings, Chelsea have been guilty of overdoing it recently without enough care to get the right type of players in.
The most notable recent failure is Romelu Lukaku, who was bought back at the club at great expense only to now be on loan in Italy.
There’s always a good starting 11 within any Chelsea squad. The trick is finding out who those best combinations are and having the patience to have them play together enough to gel.
Currently, there’s too much chopping and changing of personnel as well as tactics (which is a problem that stemmed from before Potter’s days). If they are to salvage something from this season, they’ll need to work better together soon.
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