Red Letter: Chelsea to show how far Klopp’s men have progressed

Date published: Thursday 15th September 2016 8:17

Jurgen Klopp: Sets out title ambitions

Jurgen Klopp: Sets out title ambitions

Liverpool’s form this season has Dave Tindall gushing with praise in this week’s Red Letter – but he admits the trip to Chelsea represents the toughest challenge yet.

This 2016/17 season… yep, I’ve seen enough to form a clear opinion now. This is going to be a good ‘un. Maybe very, very good.

It’s not just blind optimism though.

I think we Liverpool fans are right to get our hopes up now after taking seven points out of nine against the teams that finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd last season.

Two of those games were played away from home and we scored nine goals over the three matches against Arsenal, Spurs and Leicester. As I said last week, if we keep netting them at this rate, history says we qualify for the Champions League.

Increasingly, it looks as if the Burnley defeat was a horrid aberration. It happens. And, yes, even to the best as Barcelona fans will know after their team’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Alaves just a few hours after we’d thumped the current Premier League champions.

It’s not quite the Nou Camp but our new stand looked rather splendid for the big unveiling against Leicester. £115m well spent, especially when you consider that’s the combined price of Paul Pogba and Moussa Sissoko (winks to camera).

The camera angle may have looked a bit disorientating (more up in the gods now) for a while but it was a brilliant and perhaps symbolic way to kick off a new era.

I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve heard the phrase “we need to turn Anfield into a fortress again”, almost to the point where I roll my eyes whenever it’s trotted out. But, without doubt, our home form is vastly improved under Jurgen Klopp.

The process started via a low-key 1-0 win over Augsburg in the Europa League last February and has gathered momentum ever since. The Leicester game felt like a new peak and hopefully it’s a level we’ll maintain.

Overall, the Anfield record that starts with Augsburg and takes us up to Leicester reads: Played 11, Won 9, Drawn 2, Lost 0, Goals For 30, Goals Against 8.

The crowd of over 53,000 last Saturday was our biggest since 1977 and our current home form wouldn’t look out of place in that season 29 years ago when we won the League, European Cup and reached the FA Cup final.

That year we pipped Manchester City by a point. Go on history, I dare you. Throw up a repeat!


Chelsea represent a tough examination

Jurgen Klopp: Handed support from Jurgen Klopp

Anyway, before I let my mind drift off to that seemingly closed door marked ‘title’ (11/1 with William Hill just out of interest), there’s another very big game coming up on Friday night – an away trip to Chelsea.

It was in this fixture last season that the thrill and possibility created by Klopp’s appointment really exploded. A goal down early, Philippe Coutinho curled in a lovely equaliser just before half-time and, sensing the kill, added another after the break before Christian Benteke (when we still thought he might be okay) sealed it.

The victory didn’t look quite as impressive as the season panned out but I’d like to think we created some of Chelsea’s self-doubt rather than just cashed in on it.

It’s a very different Chelsea we’ll face at Stamford Bridge on Friday as clearly new boss Antonio Conte has his team invested in the project again after they took the season off in 2015/16. This feature at the new Blues manager shows exactly how he’s made at impact at Stamford Bridge – but that’s not to say we can’t do a job on them.

Although he spent a huge chunk of his post-match interview bleating about being fouled, Gary Cahill was caught in possession for Swansea’s go-ahead goal last Sunday and any such dithering against us will be punished.

Conte is a master at coming up with a plan but he must surely be worried that his sometimes less-than-mobile backline will come under severe pressure from our zippy frontmen.


Sturridge for a bench role again?

Daniel Sturridge: Frustrating start to the season

Daniel Sturridge had an excellent game against Leicester and ex-Red Michael Owen, a seasoned injury-sufferer himself, made a note of saying that it seemed our striker was trusting his body again and making sprints that he’d previously shied away from.

That was encouraging to hear but…. I will be very surprised if Sturridge starts at Stamford Bridge.

Klopp has a very clear formula for these big away games and it involves Roberto Firmino playing as our furthest man forward in a front three. With Adam Lallana pushed back (but still pressing high) in a deeper midfield role, the spikes on the trident are likely to be Firmino, Coutinho and Sadio Mane.

All could inflict serious wounds on Chelsea and they combined for three goals (Coutinho 2, Mane) at Arsenal. In addition, wind back to last season and Coutinho and Firmino both found the net in the 4-1 win at Man City so it’s a system that appears to work a treat in matches we never used to win until Klopp arrived.


READ MORE: Liverpool’s attack thriving but multiple options give Klopp a problem


After Chelsea, aside from a home game against Man Utd on October 17, we have a long stretch of games against teams you’d expect us to roll over.

That Burnley defeat offers the stark warning of complacency or at least a reminder that not everything goes to plan but is there good reason why we can’t get right amongst the leaders while some of the other big guns have their heads turned by Europe?

Firmino (my favourite player these days), Mane and Lallana are flying. Sturridge and Coutinho have plenty of goals in them. Jordan Henderson is coming back to his best. Emre Can is set to return. Joel Matip has added some much-needed calmness to the defence. And James Milner has plugged a lot of those leaks at left-back.

The Chelsea game won’t decide anything but it’s another intriguing opportunity to see how far we’ve come and just how far we might go.


Dave Tindall


With Man City top of the Premier League, we have written another betting preview for our partners Betsafe ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.

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Home Forums Red Letter: Chelsea to show how far Klopp’s men have progressed

This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Number8wasgr8 4 months, 1 week ago.

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    James Marshment

    Liverpool’s form this season has Dave Tindall gushing with praise – but he admits Friday’s trip to Chelsea represents the toughest test yet.

    [See the full post at: Red Letter: Chelsea to show how far Klopp’s men have progressed]



    Typical Liverpool talk! We hear the same thing every year. 🙂



    What a load of crap, one game doesn’t mean anything, teams have had very heavy defeats and still gone on to win the league, did Utd not win the league after being destroyed 5-0 by Newcastle? I hate it when journo’s try to make out that one game defines a season.



    Way too early to start thinking about a title challenge or anything like that. Let’s just take one game at a time and see where we are around Christmas time. We are still too inconsistent,and until that is sorted,its very unlikely we will be challenging for the title



    No chance of even coming close to the title with our defence in the state it is. He may be doing a decent job there, better than Moreno, but Milner is out of position and teams like Chelsea will target that. This season i see us pushing for the CL spots with Arsenal & Spurs seeming to be the teams we could catch, but thats it. If we’re in and around the top 4 come Jan and we buy a proper LB, then maybe we could have an outside chance, but that’s more of a pipe dream until next season, where we will have a full pre season with a proper LB.



    There is the obvious weakness at left back, we look wonderful going forward, but only in spells if we can get more consistency in that department even with our defence we could blow teams away.


    nine nine nine

    I can’t see a title challenge coming from Liverpool until the defence is sorted out and you would imagine that playing a right sided middield player at left back is only a temporary measure until a more long term solution can be found.

    As Paxman rightly says one game no matter what the result is wont define Liverpool’s season.


    Sean the sailor

    it be a miracle if we got top 4 considering the teams we are up againest and what they have spent. we finished 8th last season. To even make the leap to 4th is ahuge ask.

    title talk is very very silly. Kop on ffs




    Well I’m not as pessimistic as some here. Anything is possible and if we keep this momentum and improve in defence who is to say we can’t win. Don’t get me wrong im not saying we will win it after our fantastic start but if we are in top 3 by Jan then I expect our second half form to push us and then anything is possible considering all too clubs playing in more competions.
    My main concern is how will Mane leaving to the African Nations Cup effect our fluidity and directness.



    The barometer for me is being able to compete with 5 quality and capable teams:

    Manchester City
    Manchester United
    Tottenham Hotspur

    That’s in itself is a challenge with only 4 Champions League places available.

    For me personally, it’s more about being able to match these above teams head-to-head, build up a real consistency in not being beaten and improving from our League position of last season.

    If I had the choice, I’d much rather the team finishing in the top 6 than top 4 and winning 2 domestic cups.



    SensibleS7 I’m pretty much in line with your thoughts. For me most important is that we are progression and make Anfield into a fortress again and win at least one cup and finishing at least 4th.



    I’m not reading too much into this article for a few reasons.
    1. I don’t see the Burnley game as a one off like some are presuming it was, most teams we play will set up deep to make it hard for us to score & we usually struggle with this sort of team. Yes we done well v Leicester but until we show we can break these teams down regularly I won’t see these games as a 1 off.
    2. It looks pretty obvious to me the top 3 teams are going to be different from last sEason. Yep no doubt Arsenal & Spurs are going to be hard away games for most but I think it will be city, Chelsea & manu pretty much gaurenteed the top 3 positions & fighting for the title, making our next game the 1st real test against the big guns.
    3. Obviously our left back dilemma, whilst Millie is doing a job I can see the top teams pounding that area & getting success. Add to that the lack of a true holding mid to protect the back 4 is an issue, whilst Hendo has done a job so far I can see him struggling with the top teams & those with a big physical midfield.
    Mane missing for the African nations period will also effect us in s negative way as he is so important to the way we approach games.
    It’s not all doom @ gloom from me though, our early performances have given me hope we could jag that 4th spot if a few things go our way. At the very least we will see an improvement & I think most games will be pretty good to watch with all our attacking intent.

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