Liverpool v Chelsea: Match in pictures
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Thomas Tuchel’s plan to utilise Timo Werner’s speed against Liverpool’s high line paid off as Chelsea defeated Jurgen Klopp’s side 1-0. Werner was returned to the starting line-up in place of Olivier Giroud, with Tuchel believing his speed could cause the Reds problems.
And so it proved, with Tuchel’s men beating the Liverpool defence’s high line time and time again in the first half.
Nine minutes in, the Blues showed how they believed they could defeat Jurgen Klopp’s side, with Ben Chilwell playing a ball to Werner on the edge of the box, with striker firing just over.
Werner has scored just five times this season but continued to threaten, and thought he had opened the scoring 25 minutes in.
Jorginho played a long ball forward, Werner got behind the Liverpool defence, touched the ball past Allison and slotted home, only to see VAR rule the goal out for offside.
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But it was exactly what Tuchel was looking for, with the German revealing before the game that he thought Werner could have success against Fabinho and Ozan Kabak.
“Speed, speed, speed. Speed against the high line. We expect that’s what we need and Timo brings that speed. This is why he’s in,” Tuchel told Sky Sports before the game.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp agreed that Werner’s speed would be the key to Chelsea unlocking Liverpool.
“Talk about playing that high line because of the pace of Werner, you might see as the game goes on, they sit back a little bit because one thing you don’t want to do is let Werner go one v one,” he said on Sky Sports ahead of the match.
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Though he failed to score, Chelsea’s decision to utilise the long ball to release Werner, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech in behind did pay for Thomas Tuchel.
It was that tactic which created the Chelsea’s opening goal, with N’Golo Kante finding Mount with a long ball over the top.
Mount then cut inside Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold before curling a brilliant finish into the bottom corner.
Sky Sports pundit Ashley Cole pinpointed the importance of Werner’s runs to Mount finding the back of the net.
“We spoke about Werner coming short attracting players, leaving Mason to make that run in behind,” Cole said in his half-time analysis.
After the break, Chelsea continued to enjoy success against Liverpool’s high defensive line, with Liverpool failing to adjust.
The win is just Tuchel’s third against Jurgen Klopp since he replaced the latter as Mainz manager in 2009.
It also marks his first victory at Anfield after two losses, with the decision to utilise Werner’s speed crucial to his rare win.
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