Philippe Coutinho can fire Liverpool to fourth: Five things we learned from Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3
By Coral Barry
Philippe Coutinho’s quality shines through, Chelsea need Jose Mourinho and other things we learned from Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3.
Coutinho still the main man
The Brazilian may have been enduring a torrid run of form recently, but he remains Liverpool’s most valuable player. Coutinho’s two wonderful individual goals today were his first since the opening-day victory at Stoke and proved to be the defining moments of an unexpectedly one-sided clash. Liverpool had scored just nine goals in nine Premier League matches before today, but, with Coutinho at his most mesmeric, they found their cutting edge. For his first, he cleverly wrong-footed John Terry before curling an unstoppable left-footer into the top corner on the stroke of half-time. He again showed great technique for his second, creating some space before bashing a right-footed into the other top corner, this time via a slight deflection. Coutinho has the star quality to take Liverpool into the fourth Champions League spot.
Mourinho deserves more time
One school of thought is that it would be suicidal for Chelsea to sack Mourinho now. He is their most successful manager ever and deserves time to turn around Chelsea’s season. The 52-year-old may have overseen seven defeats in in 2015-16, but before then he had just six losses in 64 league games. This is an unprecedented crisis, but not one that will not be solved by axing Mourinho. It is clear he has lost the ear of some of his players, with the difference between Willian’s performances and those of Eden Hazard blatantly showing how some Blues stars have given up on the Portuguese. But Mourinho’s track record is proof that no-one is more qualified to lead Chelsea out of this crisis. He just needs more players who will fight for him like Ramires, Willian and Kurt Zouma.
Cahill and Terry need to be dropped
With just two clean sheets and 22 goals conceded this season – the equal-worst record in the Premier League – Chelsea are a shadow of the team that built their title challenge last season on a rock-solid defence. John Terry and Gary Cahill were all over the place today, particularly when Christian Benteke replaced James Milner midway through the second half and made the English centre-backs look like boys playing against one unstoppable man. Terry was miles away from Philippe Coutinho when the Brazilian curled in Liverpool’s equaliser and Cahill stood still as Christian Benteke had an age to turn and fire home in the box for the visitors’ third. Little wonder Mourinho tried so hard to sign John Stones in the summer. The Terry-Cahill partnership looks to be in its final throes.
Klopp must build his team around Benteke
As Daniel Sturridge continues his love affair with the treatment table, Beneteke has grabbed the centre-forward position with both hands. Coming on as a second-half substitute after suffering a minor knee injury during the week, the big Belgian immediately provided a blue-chip focal point to the attack. His cushioned header helped to create Coutinho’s second and then he showed what neat feet he has by making space to slam in the team’s third, his 16th goal in 21 league appearances. Liverpool have found someone they can rely on not only to score but actually play. Jurgen Klopp’s team should be built around Benteke.
Moreno should let his feet do the talking
The Spaniard should be embarrassed after slamming Brendan Rodgers’ treatment of him in the press this week. He was badly at fault for Chelsea’s goal as he ignored Ramires’ run into the box and remained unmoved as the Brazilian headed home Chelsea’s opener unchallenged. There were encouraging signs to Moreno’s display, not least when he showed Willian a clean pair of heels in racing two-thirds of the pitch to nearly add to Liverpool’s tally only to be denied by a fine Asmir Begovic save. But the 22-year has much to do to convince that he is as good as he clearly thinks he is.