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Liverpool 1, Chelsea 2: First Thoughts

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Chelsea end Liverpool’s League Cup run before it began, with a little help from their Friend.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Liverpool 1 - 2 Chelsea

Liverpool: Sturridge 58’
Chelsea: Emerson 79’, Hazard 85’

  • Pre-Match Thought: Ah, the League Cup. The silverware no one cares about unless you win it, and even then it can’t make up for an otherwise shitty season. But we have a big opponent in the way of Chelsea, so that makes an “Meh” evening a little bit interesting. Kloppo promised between the minimum and maximum number of changes, and true to his word, he was somewhere in between 0 and 11. Though, at 8 changes, he is closer to the latter. Still, it’s a relatively strong lineup, at home, and a full debut for Mr. Rebeca Tavares (AKA Fabinho).
  • Chelsea are the first to threaten, playing the ball into Liverpool’s box several times, including the first shot on target from a corner. Thankfully it was straight at Mignolet, and weak enough for the Belgian to catch.
  • Alberto Moreno not really making a strong case for his spot early, being beaten easily several times on the flank and giving away a free kick in a very dangerous position.
  • A strong appeal for a penalty from a Chelsea handball in the box falls on deaf ears. See. VAR can’t fix everything.
  • CLOSE! Chelsea really should have opened up the scoring there, with Morata absolutely fluffing his lines, not once, but twice, after making a perfectly-timed run to get one-on-one against Mignolet.
  • Twenty minutes in and James Milner picks up a well-earned yellow after hauling down a Chelsea attacker. Professional foul, that.
  • And now Matip goes in the book. No Chelsea players booked yet for making very similar fouls to Milner and Matip. Typically “consistent” from Kevin Friend.
  • There’s shit refereeing, then there’s Kevin Friend. Another strong penalty appeal denied after Keita appears to be impeded by Cahill’s outstretched leg. Um, this is a VAR match, no?
  • ANOTHER fucking handball! Is this the Europa League final again?
  • Liverpool have started playing their way into this match as the half approaches. The best move of the night came from a perfectly-weighted chipped pass to the back post by Xherdan Shaqiri, but Sadio Mane could not beat the keeper with his header.
  • Halftime Thought: On one hand, Liverpool are lucky they didn’t concede from Morata’s pair of golden chances. On the other, they can feel aggrieved at not being awarded at least one penalty from the multiple handballs. An eventful and open first half. Liverpool have shown the sort of defensive and attacking struggles you’d expect from such a changed and out-of-sync side.
  • Oh Danny...Sturridge latches on to a poor back pass, rounds the keeper and...puts the shot several feet wide of the open net. Wow. Did not expect that from the typically clinical striker.
  • Fabinho earns his first yellow in Red. Welcome to Anfield.
  • GOAL! Danny made amends, and then some! Naby Keita drives into the box after Milner recovers the ball deep in Chelsea territory. The keeper palms away Keita’s shot, but Danny latches onto the rebound with a beautiful scissor kick, putting the hosts up 1-0.
  • Klopp makes his first change of the night, Jordan Henderson coming on for James Milner. It appears to be a straight-swap, with Fabinho maintaining his spot as the deepest holding midfielder.
  • Shaqiri seems to have a bit of a Coutinho “I want to score a worldie” problem. He’s fired a few low-percentage shots from outside the box tonight, with options ahead of him. He’s largely impressed tonight, but this is a habit that Klopp should try to temper.
  • Mane should have won a corner with his last action tonight. But. You know. This referee. Anyway, Roberto Firmino comes on for the Senegalese international.
  • David Luiz basically puts a boot through Shaqiri then drags him to the ground. But you know, no foul is given, let alone a card.
  • And now Keita goes into book. Naturally.
  • Goal. And Chelsea score on the resulting free kick. Mignolet does well to keep out the initial Ross Barkley header, but cannot keep out the follow up. There is a VAR review for offside, but it is not given. Of course.
  • Goal. Well, if the first one was controversial, the second one was world class. Hazard picks up the ball on the flank, weaves through about four defenders, and beats Mignolet with a venomous strike.
  • Mohamed Salah is the last substitute of the night, coming on for Fabinho.
  • Final Whistle Thought: It was a largely sloppy affair, and the visitors had more than their fair share of help from the refs, but Liverpool’s League Cup run is over. On to bigger and better fish.

We’ll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today’s game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven’t already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we’ll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.