Liverpool were unbeatable. At least in England and when playing their first team. And then, rather suddenly and unexpectedly, they weren’t after losing their first league game of the season to relegation-threatened Watford.
Rather than being a sign that, perhaps, they’re vulnerable, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says that Liverpool’s recent defeat shows just how good of a season they’ve had—and how hard a task Chelsea are up against in the FA Cup.
“Liverpool have just had a couple of results like the rest of us do,” he noted. “They’ve been out on their own this season. It has been an incredible feat from Jürgen Klopp and the whole squad and they have just become slightly normal.
“They have become relatively human for one game. It can happen in this Premier League, which is incredibly competitive. It shows how well they have done in the last year or so, particularly this season.”
As such, Lampard is expecting a difficult match—and isn’t expected to rest or rotate heavily, likely instead relying on a strong squad and treating today’s cup tie as though it were a regular Premier League fixture.
And while in the present he’s focused on Liverpool as opponents, in the larger picture he’s also focused on the journey the Reds have made under Jürgen Klopp, seeing it as something of a template for what he hopes to achieve.
“I remember them [celebrating] when they drew with West Brom,” he added. “I watched a documentary recently where it came up [and they were] ridiculed for it at the time. But to me it is very symbolic of the journey of a team.
“It’s a reference point in terms of what a work in progress looks like and it can take time and behind what we can see now is a lot of sweat and hard work from everyone involved, which is what I’m trying to do here.”