The wind was blowing and long with it brought that chilling and cold feeling even on a March evening. Stamford Bridge was packed and ready to support the Blues against an opponent with whom they had the upper hand not so long ago. In those days Chelsea would enter the field only to end up on the winning side against the Reds, but it is a different story right now – Chelsea are passing through a transition period, while Liverpool have reached a place where teams are known as the invincibles.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 3, 2020
Since Jurgen Klopp came to Anfield Liverpool became the best in Europe and it is a matter of time for them to lift the Premier League Trophy as well. But here comes a crisis from nowhere to make matters interesting – it seems, be it in life or anywhere else, a crisis is always needed to spice things up.
Frank Lampard’s boys did not expect anything big against Klopp’s brilliant unit, but they did have the intent to give their best shot – study the games where Liverpool lost recently and previously and then plan accordingly. Ultimately it worked.
— The Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) March 4, 2020
Remember how Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli stranglehold Liverpool and gifted them a defeat in their opening match of this season’s Champions League? Ancelotti showed how to win the battle at the center of the pitch and stagnate the flanks. Later on, Atletico Madrid did the same and a few days ago Watford followed it – suddenly Liverpool’s wheels are coming off. A train, which was right on track is getting derailed – Lampard derailed it further!
The Blues packed the midfield, filled the spaces and pressed hard on the flanks – Liverpool felt the heat.
Chelsea dumping Liverpool out the the FA Cup ?pic.twitter.com/VLupCHgxQq
— Goal (@goal) March 4, 2020
Willian got lucky in the 13th minute as he benefited from an Adrian error to give the home side an early lead in the first meeting of the teams in the competition since 2012 final. The Blues doubled their advantage in the second half courtesy of Ross Barkley, though not before the recalled Kepa Arrizabalaga had kept Liverpool at bay.
Look at that skill from Chelsea's Billy Gilmour! ? pic.twitter.com/jgEv48hSND
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) March 4, 2020
The young Billy Gilmour, included as a holding midfielder, produced a superb performance. The 18-year-old completed 77.6 percent of his attempted passes, made two tackles and also created a chance for the hosts. His pivotal roles played a vital role in keeping Liverpool occupied.
Even though one might say, this was not the full team in operation, but was that so?
Neco Williams started as the right-back – a crucial change. Curtis Jones, a year older at 19, was in central midfield. Adam Lallana was applied as the attacking option on the field. While newly signed Minamino was up there with Sadio Mane and Origi. Andy Robertson was there on the left-back. Virgil van Dijk was there in partnership with Joe Gomez at the defence and Adrian in place of Alisson.
Have the wheels started to come off from Liverpool? Since that defeat against Atletico Madrid they're some what jolted – time to buck up boys! #CHELIV
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) March 4, 2020
This team does not look that bad at all because Liverpool’s bench is stronger enough to overcome other teams in an FA Cup roster. In turn, they were tactically outclassed.
The pressing of the Blues had been so good that it let the Reds control over the ball and their compact midfield outweigh Liverpool’s chance to take the upper hand and dictate play. Most importantly, Chelsea, like Napoli and Atleti, won the battle on the flanks – certainly Klopp needs to rethink his plans.
Their unbeaten Premier League run is over, and so is their FA Cup campaign. There will be no historic treble, no domestic double for Liverpool.
Chelsea played well courtesy of a thorough study and a plan well executed.
It was another memorable night at Stamford Bridge for the Blues!