Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte believes that his side need to learn from their 2-1 home loss to Liverpool at the weekend if they are to avoid a repeat of last season’s disappointing campaign.
Jürgen Klopp’s men were dominant for the first forty-five minutes, with Conte’s side struggling to get into the game. The Reds took an early lead through central defender Dejan Lovren’s volley from a free-kick. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson then scored a goal of the season contender that Chelsea ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois couldn’t get near. It meant that the home side went in 2-0 down at half-time and needed to show drastic improvements in the second-half.
Diego Costa, who had been kept quiet for most of the match by Liverpool’s defence, did pull one back for the West London club but the siege that the home crowd might have expected after the goal never materialised. Liverpool held on comfortably to ensure that they have now taken seven points from trips to The Emirates, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge, as well as having beaten the defending Premier League champions 4-1 at a new look Anfield.
The loss is Conte’s first as Chelsea manager and his first league home loss as a boss since 2013. After the game he spoke to Sky Sports and bemoaned the nature of the goals his side conceded. He said, “You have to pay attention to details if you want to think like a great team. We must feel the danger and sometimes we don’t, that is the truth”.
The Blues were without the club captain John Terry who picked up an ankle injury in their 2-2 draw with Swansea City last weekend. It meant a second debut for David Luiz, with the Brazilian having returned to Stamford Bridge from Paris Saint-German for around £34 million on Deadline Day. The defender’s debut the first time around came against Liverpool in a match that Chelsea lost 1-0, meaning this weekend was a case of history repeating for the 29-year-old.
The Blues had their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s last season, leading to the sacking of José Mourinho in December. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was replaced by Guus Kiddink on an interim basis. The Dutchman had previously been appointed in a similar capacity when Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich sacked Luis Philippe Scolari back in 2009. Then he won the Blues the FA Cup but in his second spell in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat he was only able to lead them to a tenth placed-finish.
Conte, perhaps aware of Abramovich’s trigger-finger when it comes to under-performing bosses, is keen to ensure that Chelsea avoid a similar season this time around. He said, “we have to reflect a lot on this game because it is important to understand the situation if we don’t want to have another bad season. Chelsea is a great team but we must be a great team on the pitch and think like one. We have to pay attention in all situations and sometimes we don’t feel the danger”.
Conte was disappointed that his side didn’t stay focussed for the duration of the match and took too long to get going in the first-half. He said, “At this level it is important to pay attention to every detail if you want to win. We conceded two goals and the game became very difficult”.
The Italian felt that his side improved in the second_half and were maybe a little unlucky not to find an equaliser. He did, however, praise Liverpool’s attacking play and admitted that Chelsea were perhaps punished for giving them too much room to play in. He said, “In the second half our approach was good, we scored and could have had another through Costa. When you concede space to Liverpool it is very difficult because their three forwards are very fast with good technique. We tried to not let them have space but we conceded two goals, the first after a quick free-kick and the second after a throw-in and Henderson was free”.