Can Sarri’s Chelsea contain the Liverpool attack this afternoon?

The hacks on the Sunday Supplement were informative this morning.

The Mirror’s Northern Football Correspondent Dave Maddock said that Virgil Van Dijk has been the difference.

Dave said, ““He’s not been dribbled past in the Premier league for over a year. Since March last year.”

Does Eden Hazard know that?

Looks like Hazard’s next game at Anfield will be for Real Madrid.

Chelsea want £100m but Madrid  don’t want to spend more than the £85m they paid for Gareth Bale.

In the last ten days I’ve found myself thinking about a Liverpool  match I did not comment on at the time.

They had a challenging Friday night game in Southampton April 5th.when Shane Long gave the Saints a shock lead in 9 minutes and the home team then dominated for the next 20 and then Keita levelled it with a header in 36.

Southampton 1 Liverpool 1 at half-time.

It was still 1-1 after 55 minutes and after 65 and after 75 and then Southampton won a corner and James Ward-Prowse took an inswinger from the left but the ball was cleared for a another corner on the right, so Ward-Prowse went over to take an outswinger from that side.

Then Liverpool scored a breakaway goal from that Southampton corner.

I thought : Man City cant score that goal because they are not equipped to make a lightning break straight down the centre of the field..City can score other goals but not that one.

Sadio Mane, an exemplary warrior, flew in for a block and then took off on a run that never quite caught up with the rocketing support sprint of Robbie Firmino.

What a sequence !!!

An electrifying tackle, a fantastic forward pass, and a phenomenal support sprint by the Brazilian to help the Egyptian. I’d give Firmino an assist for his run, even though he didn’t touch the ball. While Firmino sustained his lung-bursting sprint, Mane slowed down because he realised that the main man wasn’t going to pass.

Having collected the ball and scooted through centrefield, Salah let the ball run towards the edge of the penalty area and then fired a wondershot that dipped and bounced just inside the post.

That was a team goal that had everything. A fierce challenge to win a 50-50 ball, a thrilling counter-attack, a preposterously cool dribble AND an astounding shot.

Firmino then provided an assist after another long sprint down the right touchline. He  checked back beautifully and played a killer ball in for sub Jordan Henderson to stab in from six yards to make.

Southampton 1 Liverpool 3

Coaches talk a lot about intensity and that’s what I saw from Mane, from Firmino and Henderson, from every Liverpool player. That second goal demonstrated even more intensity, as Mane raced in to win a 50-50 like a man possessed, a commando compelled by a feeling that time is running out, that the only moment that matters is now, the next action.

 Without ball-winning warriors you will never win the league.

Why? Because the second most important moment in football is when one team loses the ball and the other gets it back. That moment usually provides a range of exciting possibilities  .

That’s why Mo Salah’s 22nd goal of 2018-19 is my Goal of the Season.

Today’s teams show Sarri starting all his best ball-players.

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3)  : Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Substitutes: Mignolet, Lovren, Wijnaldum, Milner, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Origi.

CHELSEA (4-3-3) Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Hudson-Odoi, Hazard, Willian.
Substitutes: Caballero, Christensen, Barkley, Kovacic, Giroud, Pedro, Higuain.

Referee Michael Oliver.