Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea: 5 things we learned

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Liverpool slumped to a third defeat in seven days, as Premier League leaders Chelsea beat the Reds 2-1 at Anfield.

The home side started brightly and took the lead after nine minutes when Emre Can's shot deflected off Gary Cahill to leave Thibaut Courtois helpless.

However, Cahill amended his earlier mistake when scoring in the 14th minute and in-form striker Diego Costa grabbed the three points for his side with his smart finish in the 57th minute.

Liverpool are looking like their old selves

Last season, the Reds were a joy to watch for supporters of the club and the neutral.

Liverpool played flowing football that was quick on the counter attack, killing sides off within the first-half of game, most notably against Arsenal and Everton at Anfield.

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Luis Suarez lead most of those attacks, however since he left for Barcelona, Brendan Rodgers’ men have looked a completely different side - build-up has been far too slow and players have not gelled together.

However, Saturday’s game indicated that Liverpool are still capable of playing their former style of play. The home side started brightly in the early stages – Raheem Sterling ran at the Chelsea defence with pace and venom, and Philippe Coutinho’s dazzling runs caused the Blues problems.

Movement was key  last season and that was what caused so much success on Meryeyside. Emre Can’s goal was caused through this, given so much space to shoot due to Liverpool’s front-men dragging around John Terry and co.

Can has to be come a regular

A lot of Brendan Rodgers’ signings haven’t done much at Anfield this season and received plenty of negative criticism. There are the exceptions – Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have both done well at full-back and Adam Lallana has too settled in nicely.

The most impressive, however, has been Emre Can. The German joined Liverpool in the summer for £10 million and has been showing encouraging signs of late.

He performed well in the 0-0 draw against Hull City, likewise against Real Madrid in the Champions League and again did well against the Blues on Saturday.

The former Bayer Leverkusen man is just 20-years-old, but his recent efforts have been mature well above his age. He is blessed with an imposing stature and uses his physical attributes to his advantage – he dispossessed Edin Hazard with ease in the first half and got out of trouble smartly in the second period when under pressure from Cesar Azipilicueta.

He was too willing to drive to the Chelsea defence and his goal came from his positive play. One criticism is that he is not yet fully fit, fading as the game went on, however as Can plays more he will find his engine getting better.

Lovren needs a reality check

Since his move to Anfield in the summer, Dejan Lovren has yet to find top form.

The Croatian has started in all of Liverpool's Premier League games, but simply has not been good enough. He's yet to gel with Martin Skrtel and the pair have been fairly dreadful playing together.

Seemingly against the West London outfit, Skrtel come to realise that winning a defensive battle with Diego Costa was more important than working in tandem with the former Southampton man and that helped his side.

Lovren is a strange charcter - at times he look nervous on the ball and others he tries far too hard to impress.

Kolo Toure put in a top performance in the Spanish capital, one that deserved a start on Saturday.

The Croat was given the nod and flopped once again.

Clearly, something is not right with him. I don' t know whether he is sat on a pedestal and believes his £20 million move has warrants him a place in the side or he just cannot settle.

One way or the other, he needs time out of the Liverpool team to realise how annoying it is to sit on the bench every week. 

Rodgers has to do better with substitutions

It took the Northern Irishman 70 minutes to make his first substitute when Liverpool were 2-1 down.

By this stage, Chelsea had already shut up shop and were happy to defend their lead.

At 1-1, the away side were still vulnerable to being counter attacked, however when Costa struck in the 57th minute it was game over.

Liverpool may have started brightly, but after Mourinho's men equalised they then controlled the game. 

We saw last season in the same fixture how happy Chelsea were to defend a one goal lead and Rodgers should have remembered this. A substitute was needed at half-time to change the style of play and cause problems for John Terry and co. at the back.

10 minutes after the travellers took the lead, the Reds boss took off Can and Coutinho, arguably two of Liverpool's best performers on the day. It was a baffling move and on came Joe Allen which made even less sense.

If you read my articles, you may have gathered that I do not rate the Welshman, and I know I'm not the only football fan who doesn't. He literally does nothing in the centre-of-midfield, not contributing to attacks or helping out his defence. 

Rickie Lambert replaced Mario Balotelli which again has to be questioned. Subs are supposed to switch a side's style of play, but it was a like-for-like change that was easily dealt with.

Further pressure added to Rodgers

Three defeats in the space of seven days - that is relegation form, not a team who had title aspirations at the start of the season.

In Tuesday night's game against Madrid, the Liverpool manager left out key players such as Steven Gerarrd and Raheem Sterling in preparation for the Chelsea game and saw fringe players line up at the Santiago Bernabeu

Rodgers came out and said he was not resting players, but that he did not know his best team.

The display in Spain wasn't bad at all - Adam Lallana was threatening on the left-hand side, Lazar Markovic showed signs he could come good and Javier Manquillo defended well.

Markovic didn't even make the squad on Saturday and Lallana and Manquillo were unused substitutes.

Clearly, the Premier League clash was priority to him and threw all of his eggs in one basket - Rodgers now has egg on his face.

The defeat against Madrid leaves Liverpool an up-most task of qualifying into the knock-out stages of the European competition. One point could mean all the difference and the Reds could have grasped one in the Spanish capital with a better side out.

Considering he didn't know what his best team was, surely the good performance against Madrid highlighted some of them may be his better members of the squad.

A win was an absolute must against Chelsea, for the fact that Rodgers sacrificed a much needed point or three in Europe. He failed in both and for the first time since being at the helm at Anfield, he was met with boos when Coutinho was replaced on Saturday.

If things do not improve quickly, those hiss' could get louder and Rodgers could become under a heap of pressure.

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