Chelsea v Liverpool was truly El Sh*tico but toothless is easier to fix than clueless

Sarah Winterburn
Chelsea vs Liverpool

Chelsea v Liverpool was rotten but any prospective Blues manager will think their problems can be fixed with goalscorers.

Curtis Jones fell over. The ball hit the back of Enzo Fernandez’s head. Kepa cleared straight to Jordan Henderson. Joao Felix no-look hoofed the ball out of play. Alisson patted the ball back to Kai Havertz. Konstantinos Tsimikas produced a comedic corner for the ages. Wesley Fofana attempted to head the ball back over the head of Kepa. Havertz unwittingly strong-armed the ball into the net. A throw-in hit the arse of Cody Gakpo.

There may have been more ‘highlights’ but El Shitico was not half as compelling as watching the bottom half of a live Premier League table dance and eventually settle into a formation that could see Steve Cooper rather harshly lose his job.

We probably missed at least three Chelsea attempts lobbed carelessly over the bar and a dozen or more panicked clearances from Liverpool players. This was a mid-table muddle of a game lacking in confidence, composure and any real quality outside of a handful of Chelsea players being let down by some of the worst finishing you are ever likely to witness.

This was a Chelsea side that created three Opta-defined Big Chances (and fluffed them all) against a Liverpool side that could not fashion a single one. This was Toothless v Clueless and there was never any chance of a winner.

It’s now been seven hours and 45 minutes of football between Chelsea and Liverpool without a goal. The last strike in this fixture came only 15 months and yet a lifetime ago, when Chelsea and Liverpool were fighting for second place behind Manchester City rather than slots either side of Brentford and Fulham. It was two managers, one Chelsea owner and one failed Liverpool quadruple attempt ago. The only mercy is that there will not be another such fixture this season.

There were more positives for Chelsea than Liverpool, who appear to be an utterly broken side. At least the Blues looked defensively sound with Wesley Fofana restored to the defence and N’Golo Kante to the midfield, while Reece James and Enzo Fernandes showed their ease on the ball. Both Felix and Havertz showed moments of quality until the very moment they caught sight of those big white posts.

Liverpool, though. Wow. For so long we have talked about the Reds needing a midfield fix but this is a team that needs major surgery to pretty much every department barring the goalkeeper. No fluidity, no energy, no f***ing idea how to play football outside of Anfield. The starting XI felt like a protest by Jurgen Klopp; the performance looked like a dirty one by the players.

The bar is now so low at Liverpool that Klopp hailed this as a “step”. After three consecutive defeats (following the really quite ludicrous 7-0 shellacking of Manchester United), simply claiming an away point was almost a victory. They will be incredibly relieved to get back to Anfield on Sunday, even if the opposition is the best in England. On their travels they are truly abysmal.

Any prospective Chelsea managers will believe they can fix this Blues side with a pair of natural goalscorers; they have youth on their side and the potential to be so much better when the squad is more manageable. Right now Liverpool look like the bigger challenge and we are yet to truly discover if Jurgen Klopp is willing to accept it. Has any Premier League manager ever fixed his own broken team?