Ten takeaways from Chelsea vs Liverpool

USA Today Sports

It was a match that flipped my predictions upside down when Liverpool took down Chelsea on Saturday.

Antonio Conte, the Italian grandmaster in charge at Chelsea, should have shown his pragmatic defensive side.

Instead, the Liverpool attacking freight train out-ran, out-harassed and out-played Chelsea in an entertaining match.

Liverpool won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, but what else can we take away from the match?

1. Adam Lallana is the best player in the Premier League

Every match this season that I’ve seen Adam Lallana play, he’s been one of the best players on the pitch.

Every time you see a player being closed down, it’s Lallana. Every time you see a storming run forwards, Lallana is near or on the ball.

Lallana will never reach Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi status but it’s easy to see him rival and surpass the likes of Eden Hazard in terms of status as a player.

Liverpool fans beware. Barcelona might come calling in a mega-money transfer if his performances continue.

2. The top four keeps getting more interesting

Every league prediction should be ripped up.

After Leicester City won last season and triggered all the big transfers during pre-season, it was obvious to predict the usual suspects as top four.

We’re one game into week 5 and it’s impossible to guess who the top four will be. After Liverpool’s recent performances, how can anyone not include them in a top four finish? It would be crazy.

3. Chelsea needs John Terry

If John Terry was playing, would Dejan Lovren score? If so, there would have been organization and discipline in Chelsea’s defense.

Antonio Conte wanted Leonardo Bonucci from Italian club Juventus. He failed in his pursuit and ended up signing David Luiz. Bonucci can organize a defense, while Luiz cannot.

This was the difference on Friday night.

4. Sadio Mané will become a Liverpool legend

During the second half, Chelsea had the ball out wide. There was no defender close and it looked like an inevitable cross.

Sadio Mané appeared out of nowhere. Once again, this forward put another shift in. Like Adam Lallana, Mané is everywhere, all the time, and he’s already becoming a fan favorite.

Last season for Southampton, Mané dropped off in the second half of the season. Whether this happens for Liverpool is unlikely considering the demands of Jurgen Klopp.

If performances like this continue Mané will become a club legend for sure.

5. N’Golo Kanté is still formidable

Despite losing, N’Golo Kanté still looked like the immovable object from Leicester City’s title-winning team.

Even though Liverpool overwhelmed, in the moments Kanté was one-on-one or even two-on-one, he mostly came out on top.

The player’s ability to break up an attack is second to none. It’s just unfortunate for him and Chelsea that Liverpool swarms. No player can win three, four or even five-on-one, which was often the case on Friday.

6. Liverpool can press and run-all-night

Liverpool closed Chelsea down from the first minute, right until the end. This level of effort and energy is extraordinary because they do it every game.

The high-pressing game plan is truly devastating against possession-based teams. If you build up from the back you better find an alternative tactic against Liverpool.

7. David Luiz proved me wrong

David Luiz played well. I’ve said it.

The transfer still makes little sense considering that John Terry, a defensive stalwart who commands the defense, is the hole that Chelsea needs plugging.

Luiz did show that his once calamitous mistakes and haphazard forward runs might be a thing of the past. Fingers are crossed for Chelsea fans and Antonio Conte.

8. The perfect way to stop Diego ‘Bruce Banner’ Costa

Diego Costa might have scored but this was his quietest game of the season.

The Liverpool defense and midfield managed Costa perfectly. Instead of slugging it out they just surrounded him, either letting him run into traffic or picking off his pass.

By the time Chelsea started playing more direct and needed Costa to hold up, the ball had dropped. This forced Chelsea into long diagonal passes which made it easier for Liverpool to pick off.

9. Jordan Henderson is a Liverpool captain

Jordan Henderson is the anchor of a Liverpool team full of pace, energy and flair. Just watching Henderson and how he leads through example is reminiscent of Steven Gerrard.

Liverpool fans might want to compare him to Gerrard, but they shouldn’t. Henderson is a player who embodies everything Jurgen Klopp demands.

He’s mobile, plays with passion, leads with energetic runs and most importantly, keeps Liverpool ticking.

10. Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte are fantastic to watch

There is something about a manager who cares that captures the attention and heart of fans.

Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte are such managers.

Whether it be Klopp’s trademark celebrations or Conte’s disapproving body language, this emotion is always on the show.  During Friday’s game it made for entertaining and endearing watching.