'Liverpool making hard work of top-four finish'

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Leggy and devoid of ideas, Liverpool looked like a team who have had a busy and intense couple of weeks.

We had our chances. We probably didn’t deserve to lose, but that was probably more in part due to Chelsea’s pragmatic approach once they had gone 1-0 up than it was because of an exciting performance from the Reds.

6th May 2018

Salah nullified

For once, Mo Salah didn’t score, it seems. But he never got any chances. What was interesting was how few touches our Egyptian king had.

Chelsea cut off the source, so it will be fascinating to see whether Real Madrid do the same in the Champions League final, or whether they will just back their quality and insist on doing their thing.

Salah.png

The battle for fourth

Jurgen Klopp could really have done without a tense final match against Brighton at Anfield. Draws against Everton, Stoke and West Brom have halted our momentum in the league.

No Koppite would swap what has happened in Europe for three wins (we are, after all, merely trying to qualify for a tournament that we’re still in). However, failing to qualify would be a disaster on and off the pitch.

I’m fully expecting Spurs and Chelsea to win their games in hand, so it’s up to us not to fluff our lines. One last big effort against the Seagulls and we can approach the trip to Kiev with confidence.

We’ve made life difficult, but that’s what we always seem to do. Just look at our two games against Roma for proof of that. 

Dwindling numbers

How we could yet rue those injuries. Liverpool are missing a number of key men. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all huge misses, if only because of having the confidence of strength in depth.

At Stamford Bridge, we looked like we played within ourselves and in the cold light of day, it’s hardly surprising. In the middle, we’re one mistimed tackle away from having to play a very inexperienced player in a huge match.

Ben Woodburn is a talented lad with a huge future, but let’s be reasonable. We don’t want him lining up against Luka Modric and Isco in Kiev. Apart from anything else, it’s unfair on him.

Against Chelsea, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner looked like they were trying to survive, not create. And I think that goes a long way to explaining the lack of cut and thrust from our game in London.

Conte’s pretty passionate for a man who’s leaving

Remonstrating with refs, storming out of his technical area, Antonio Conte did it all.

So it’s really strange. If rumours are to be believed, he’ll be leaving in the summer for pastures new.

But it’s a weird one. He delivered the league last season and has recovered Chelsea’s fortunes in the current campaign.

He clearly knows what he’s doing. The Chelsea managerial position has to be the hottest seat in town.

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