Graeme Souness thinks Liverpool trio Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner were “bossed and bullied” by Chelsea’s midfielders.
All the goals came in the first half at a raucous Stamford Bridge, where some fans were legally allowed to stand as part of a new trial of ‘safe-standing’ areas in the top flight.
Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic capped a stunning opening 45 minutes as they struck in quick succession to cancel out early goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Mane had perhaps been lucky to escape a red card for a challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta in the opening seconds while Pulisic also fluffed a big chance early on.
The final result left champions City, who beat Arsenal on Saturday, sitting comfortably 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
And Souness thinks that Liverpool were left “exposed” by their midfield, who were “bullied” by their Chelsea counterparts.
“Chelsea bossed midfield today. Liverpool have a great success by pushing up, all three parts of the team all being in contact with each other,” Souness said on Sky Sports.
“It only works when the midfield of Liverpool are putting the opposition under pressure, every time they get the ball and keeping the midfielders’ head down and the strikers’ head down and you can’t hold a high line.
“In the Liverpool teams I played in we knew there would be half a dozen times where we’d get caught by holding a high line that might cost you a goal but the advantages over the rest of the season by playing that way you win more games than lose.
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 2, 2022
“Liverpool this year, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner were not at the races today.
“They were bossed and bullied by Chelsea’s midfield. The possession stats tell you that, 130 more passes tells you that and it wasn’t the Liverpool we’ve seen the last three or four years where they bully teams.
“Liverpool need more of a maestro in there, Thiago is certainly a better footballer than what they have but by doing that you lose that in momentum in terms of pressing and being on the front foot.
“They were exposed today Liverpool by the midfield not really managing to control Chelsea.”
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