Jai Singh looks back at the week’s Premier League action.
Liverpool are back
Liverpool endured arguably their worst run since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in the last 6 weeks. Having beaten Crystal Palace emphatically in the middle of December, the goals and points subsequently dried up. 2 wins and 3 losses would follow, with only 1 goal scored in that run. Seemingly, Liverpool looked to be on the ropes with two tough fixtures in London. However, the Reds showed exactly why they are Champions, and why they should not be ruled out of any title challenge. First up, Tottenham on Thursday night. Having avoided a few early scares, Liverpool went on to dominate the game with 3 excellent, although somewhat fortuities goals. However, if their 3 goals against Spurs were ‘lucky’, the same can not be said about Sunday evenings fixture against in-form West Ham. 3 different, but equally impressive goals meant it was two away wins on the bounce for Jurgen Klopp’s men. With Liverpool looking back to their usual best, and at least a couple centre backs joining to strengthen a depleting area on deadline day, do not rule out the current Champions.
It cannot be said that Frank Lampard’s sacking as Chelsea manager last week came as a surprise. Chelsea are a club who historically do not give their managers time, and there had be a cloud of Lampard’s position at Chelsea ever since the results started to disappear. Almost immediately, Thomas Tuchel was the front runner. The German had himself recently been sacked by PSG, his lack of current club possibly speeding up what can usually be a drawn out process. Nevertheless, the German arrives with a somewhat mixed reputation. No one doubts his tactically and managerial ability, but his handling of people could be a cause for concern, especially at a club which has always had an aura of player power. With that being said, the German will not be accused of having favourites in the way Lampard was, in particularly with Mason Mount. Tuchel made several changes from his first to his second game in charge, even re-calling Marcos Alonso who had been frozen out of the team by his former boss. It is something Chelsea fans can continue to expect from their new manager, picking players and the system dependent on the opposition, rather than his favourites.
Leeds adapting after Leicester win
An argument of all Bielsa sides, including his Leeds one, are that they are so set in their ways of attack, attack, attack that ultimately it will cost them results and heavy defeats (like at Manchester United). 13 minutes into their fixture against Leicester, that looked like it was about to continue. However, they were able to turn the result around comfortably come away with all 3 points following strikes from Dallas, Bamford and Harrison. Going forward, Leeds were their usual self, playing quick football with plenty of movement. Defensively however, there seemed to be a greater resolve. Granted, Leicester were missing their biggest threat in Jamie Vardy, and could easily have been having an off day in an attacking sense. However, there were periods in the second half where Leeds were unusually without the ball, but looked solid, and took their chances as they came. This could be a sign of a more resolute Leeds going forward, which could see them climb up the table.
Spurs look lost without Kane
Harry Kane suffered an injury which could keep him out of the side for a while. Whilst this has happened a few times, Spurs still haven’t figured out a way to look dangerous without him. The side from North London seem heavily reliant on him to score and create. It has been an issue which has caused them problems over the years, but when they have to resolve. Two defeats in two against Brighton and Liverpool are one thing, but a total xG of 0.59 for 180 minutes of football simply is not good enough. Son doesn’t look like he can lead the line and hold the ball up as well as Kane, and Vinincius just isn’t up to the same quality. Spurs either need to invest again, or find a way of living without their talisman if they are to keep pace with the top 4.