Chelsea's midweek trip to Anfield was all but over within 45 minutes, with first-half goals from Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Geoginio Wijnaldum putting the Blues 3-0 down early on.
A goal from Olivier Giroud and a late resurgence lead by substitutes Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic was not enough to save anything for the Blues, here is five things we learnt about Frank Lampard's side from the 5-3 defeat on Wednesday evening.
The same formation will not work against everyone
In Chelsea’s last outing against Jurgen Klopp’s side, a 2-0 victory in the FA Cup, they found success by using a 4-3-3 formation. However, last night Frank Lampard chose to stick with the 3-4-3 shape that was successful in the Blues 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday at Wembley.
Against a side such as Liverpool, who are so strong in midfield, players like Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho often found themselves overrun by the Reds’ midfield three.
Despite it not being successful against the champions, Lampard is expected to go for a three-man defence once again against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday to try and match Nuno Espirito Santo’s sides shape.
Must sort out defending from corners
Conceding goals has become a serious problem for Chelsea this season, against Liverpool they conceded their 54th goal in the Premier League, meaning they have now conceded more goals than anyone in the top half of the table.
Another serious problem has been conceding from corners, and last night was no different after Wijnaldum was able to make the most of Chelsea’s inability to clear an Andy Robertson corner and fire beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.
For Wijnaldum’s goal, Mateo Kovacic was first unable to clear at the front post, and then Olivier Giroud’s clearance rebounded off of the arm of Jorginho and into the path of the Dutch midfielder.
If Chelsea are to beat Wolves this Sunday and confirm a top-four spot this will be a key area to improve in.
Keeper troubles continue
Despite Kepa Arrizabalaga not being directly at fault for any of Liverpool’s goals last night, one moment during second-half injury time showed just how the Chelsea backline feel about the Spanish shot-stopper. Following a free-kick from Andy Robertson, which flew across Kepa’s six-yard box, seven Chelsea players were seen to express frustration towards the Spaniard, either shouting his name or lifting their arms in frustration.
Arrizabalaga has now conceded eight per cent of Chelsea’s all-time Premier League goals despite only being at Stamford Bridge for two seasons. Also, between keepers with 25+ appearances in Europe’s top five leagues this season, Kepa has the lowest save percentage at just 53.5%.
If he is to concede against Wolves on Sunday, Kepa will equal the record for most goals conceded by a Chelsea goalkeeper in a Premier League season. With talk of Chelsea looking to bolster their attacking options this summer, a new keeper should perhaps be at the top of Frank Lampard’s shopping list.
Pulisic MUST start against Wolves
Since the restart, Christian Pulisic has arguably been Chelsea’s best player, with four goals and two assists since football returned, the American’s direct style has begun to earn him comparisons to former Blues man, Eden Hazard, who he was arguably brought into replace.
Within minutes of coming on at Anfield, Pulisic picked up the ball on the left-wing, went past three Liverpool players with ease and then played a perfect ball in for Tammy Abraham to score. Shortly after he chested down a cross in from Callum Hudson-Odoi, and with his back to goal, managed to outdo two Liverpool defenders and fire past Alisson.
Pulisic’s importance to Lampard’s side was made clear last night, with the Blues scoring twice and only conceding once in time he was on the pitch, meaning it is vital that Chelsea’s Captain America is in the starting eleven on Sunday against Wolves.
This squad has character
For most sides, going 3-0 down early on at Anfield would be game over, players would begin to become frustrated and Liverpool would usually go on to win six or seven nil.
However, last night Frank Lampard’s side got back into a position where they were trailing Liverpool by just a goal with 20 minutes to go, and with momentum in their favour.
Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Londoners but after the game, Lampard had plenty of praise for how his side got themselves back into the contest.
“I have belief in the players,” he told Chelsea TV. “I have seen a lot in the last two games, particularly with Manchester United and then with Liverpool, of what we are about. There has been spirit and character in those two performances and we have to carry it on for one more game in the league.”