Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge…
THE changes are fascinating. So too are the substitutions.
More so than the game, which felt like one Liverpool had decided they were hanging in through at all costs, in all circumstances. I think, in a way, this mentality both helps Liverpool gets a point and hinders all three.
The changes, then. It is odd to me to see Curtis Jones come from nowhere, but I am fine with it and think he does alright. Not well. But alright. I’d like him to start against Arsenal. Get some rhythm up. Let’s see.
Roberto Firmino looks short of a yard but you’d have guessed that. Joe Gomez looks short of games at right back but you’d have guessed that too. Joel Matip has a torrid evening but manages to just about hang in there. Kostas Tsimikas looks like Andy Robertson’s deputy.
He looks like the sort of full back who starts for Liverpool in 2011, a Stamford Bridge throwback, a footballer built to drive you mad. He is Liverpool’s outball and it hard to escape the notion that that suits Chelsea more than it does The Reds.
Were it not for Alisson Becker, we would have had to watch Liverpool desperate to score a goal. Being relaxed about an away draw more often earlier this season would have made a ton of sense. Now? That’s a tougher sell for me. Partially because there is no proof that Liverpool are getting anything from Leeds, West Ham and Leicester, even before a big last day against Southampton.
But everything has to start and end somewhere, and perhaps tonight can be another corner turned. Another reset started. Another restart setted. Being sceptical is understandable. It was, on paper, the toughest remaining away game by miles — them bringing Raheem Sterling on without 10 to go proof of that. It being a Saturday-Tuesday bounce on the road not good either.
There has to be more than this, though. It has to improve. The concerns are many but one is they looked like a side on game 36, not 28.
The substitutions should have made us better, more likely. They don’t. Yet simultaneously it seems wild that both Matip and Diogo Jota end the game on the pitch.
Liverpool fought for each other. They dug each other out. They rode their luck. They fouled and scrapped like the best of them. They played away from home for 97 minutes. That this is noteworthy across the board is part of what has brought the current league table to pass.
Come the end of the season, the question will be if this is a point and performance which is valuable for its sternness or lamentable for its lack of creativity. In January, the former would have been nailed on. Right now?
Right now it is a slog, but we need to rouse ourselves for Sunday and we need to find a run. Those around and above us are nothing special, but did you see tonight? Did it feel special?
It will need to be better. Ten to go. And we cannot rely on luck. We need judgement.
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“It was a pretty dire affair, especially from Liverpool’s point of view. The Reds looked liked they’d never met before…”
“To change three of the back four, it just brought too much indecision.”
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— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) April 4, 2023
Not buying 2 badly needed midfielders in January was ridiculous . Six new first team signings needed for next season ; a similar number should be offloaded . Play a 4 4 2 . Will Arthur ever get some minutes ?