Just like that, a new Premier League season is up and running. Liverpool went to Stamford bridge and after a feisty affair, secured a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw. There were some good things and a recurrence of issues from the past. Let’s get into the big stuff.
1. Liverpool need…*GASP* a defensive midfielder –Debutant Alexis Mac Allister was played in the No. 6 role on Sunday and while he performed admirably, you could tell it was limiting to what he is really capable of bringing to a match.
I love Cody Gakpo, but him being required to play on the left side of midfield is not the solution. His defensive abilities are severely lacking, as one would expect from a Winger/Center Forward.
He was almost non-existent during Sunday’s draw as he struggled to find a sweet spot and make his mark. He was subbed off for Curtis Jones and looked exhausted. A proper defensive midfielder will allow the Dutchman to move back up top and Mac Allister can also probe the opposing defense with more gumption.
It was clear there was a missing cog in the engine room and it is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
2. The Liverpool Defensive Lapses Are Not Going Away – This one is equally frustrating as it is destructive to what the Reds want to achieve this year. Chelsea were the better side in the second half and at points, it looked like Liverpool would be lucky to salvage a draw.
The only Chelsea goal came from a scramble situation where a ball was cleared only to be sent right back in the box.
All hell broke lose as once again, the Liverpool defense turned off and lost their shape. Trent Alexander-Arnold could not cover the far post in time from a somewhat tame effort from Axel Disasi.
The Blues had a second goal chalked off as Ben Chilwell was inches offside. However, the fact that Liverpool allowed the left-back to carve through them like butter before confidently rounding Alisson does not reinforce confidence.
The defense had strong moments as Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk had their sequences of solidity. However, the almost weekly mental or positional breakdowns in defense show no sign of slowing down.
Jurgen Klopp needs a fresh face in the defense and must find a way to keep this unit locked in from start to finish.
3. Dominik Szoboszlai is going to have little trouble transitioning to the English game – The Hungarian, a £60 million arrival from RB Leipzig, had a rock solid debut. He is known for being an attacking midfielder at heart, but during the match on Sunday he put in a proper shift.
He was playing a box-to-box role as he was getting stuck into every tackle he could while constantly making himself available when Liverpool were in possession.
When on the ball, he showed his typical confidence and aggression as he was always trying to get the ball forward. He made one particularly incisive run on the ball as he got past two defenders and was seemingly setting up a left-footed strike inside the box before Diogo Jota lashed the ball over.
It was a shame we didn’t get to see what the Hungarian had up his sleeve. Szoboszlai was played for the full 90 during Sunday’s draw and he was an ever present figure. He is going to be a vital cog in the Reds midfield.
On this early return, he is going to settle quickly and will only get better and better. He could prove to be an instant hit and return on value.
These were some of the biggest things we noticed as Liverpool got a solid point away to one of the “Big 6” sides. A draw isn’t the worst scenario in the world, but the performance to get there left a little to be desired.
The Bournemouth match cannot come fast enough, but there is work to be done before it gets here.