"Poetry in motion" - How the press reacted to Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Chelsea
As Liverpool’s players were embraced by an ecstatic Jurgen Klopp and received a standing ovation from the travelling Kop, a song rang around Stamford Bridge – “poetry in motion” sang the Scouse contingent.
In what became one of Liverpool’s great away days in recent years, Jordan Henderson’s Steven Gerrard-esque finish was enough to secure three points for the Reds in style with a finish which will surely be a contender for goal of the season.
It was another unexpected man who opened the scoring, with Dejan Lovren stabbing home having been given all the time and space in the world by some slack marking from a new look Chelsea defence, with David Luiz returning to Stamford Bridge and making his second debut for the club in place of the injured John Terry.
Phil McNulty wrote for the BBC on how this victory was trademark Klopp, with the style of play of the German not giving Chelsea a chance right from the very start:
Klopp’s tried and trusted “gegenpressing” style and the pace provided by the likes of Daniel Sturridge and new £34m striker Sadio Mane appeared to leave Chelsea overcome with caution from the kick-off.
Conte’s side, missing the influence and direction of injured captain John Terry, simply sat too deep and did too little, especially in the first half. It was an invitation to assume superiority that Liverpool, tactically progressive and proactive under Klopp, were never going to pass up.
For Chelsea, there will be much to consider. Whilst the Blues are rarely at their best without captain John Terry, some, such as Henry Winter, writing for the Times, were astounded to see the gap he left in defence. He said:
Much of the inquest into this match will inevitably focus on Chelsea’s defeat, on Conte’s strange delay in introducing his substitutes, a triple change occurring in the 84th minute. Much of the spotlight should burn on the haphazard nature of Chelsea’s defending with at times half playing the offside trap and the other half admiring the view. They missed the urgency, communication and organisational strengths of the injured John Terry.
There were also comments on David Luiz’s return, which attracted an array of comments. Gary Neville labelled his performance under Conte as like him dating Miss World, but not all were so critical. David Hytner in the Guardian praised the 29-year-old, saying:
Brazilian’s general performance was solid, marked by that familiar chest-out strut, the sweatbands on both wrists and the crazy hair bouncing all over the place. He saw a lot of possession and his decision making with it was generally on point. He passed with plenty of fizz and, although not every one of them came off, many of them did.
There could also be long-term implications from the fixture, with the two sides now level on points behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the standings. Dominic Fifield of the Guardian discussed:
Liverpool, for the second season in succession, have prevailed in this corner of south-west London to cast the locals into grisly retrospection and condemn the new regime to their first defeat. Jürgen Klopp’s wild celebrations on the final whistle reflected the psychological significance of this win. These teams are now level on points below Manchester City but, on this evidence, it is the side from Merseyside who have the more realistic aspirations to contend for the title.
The game was perhaps best summarised though by Henry Winter, with his superb closing line:
Poetry in motion? Persistence too.
Whilst football fans often like to label Liverpool fans as overly expectant of title challenges and over-excitement as such results, it’s clear that after Friday night’s victory it is not just Reds fans who are starting to believe the hype.
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