The difference between Chelsea and Liverpool can best be described in one word….. MOTIVATION!
You only need to look at the table of when the top 6 have played each other this season. Then compare it to the table when the top 6 have played the rest of the Premier League teams. Look at this….
Top 6 table against each other:
In this mini league you can clearly see how pumped up Liverpool get in the big games. In the 1-1 draws against Manchester United and Chelsea last month Liverpool were the better team. Of course in the end Liverpool were lucky to get a point against Chelsea, after Costa’s missed a penalty but they had been the dominant team up to that point.
Now when you compare the top 6 against the rest of the league, things change dramatically for Liverpool…..
Top 6 against the rest of the league;
All of a sudden Liverpool are bottom of the mini league and well off the pace. Much has been made of Liverpool’s poor January, but it has been a theme all season though for the reds as they always raise their game against the top sides whether at Anfield or away from their famous passionate fans. Last night Liverpool could have been at least 5-0 against Spurs by half time! It was an incredible display by the reds who were looking to make up ground on their rivals. Liverpool will probably wish they could play top 6 teams every week!
The one good omen for Liverpool is that should they get into the Champions League you can be sure they will go far in the competition. Against the big clubs of Europe, Liverpool will again lift their game….but only on one condition! Klopp, the new tinker man, must not make the same mistakes as he did in January and start experimenting with youth and reserves in cup games.
If you compare Liverpool’s results to Chelsea’s there is one obvious point that hits you straight away. Chelsea have only dropped 2 out of a possible 48 points against the ‘lower’ teams. That game was the 2-2 draw at Swansea. Even in that game a ridiculous decision by the referee to ignore the double foul on Gary Cahill, gifted Swansea their point.
Today Chelsea play another of those outside the top 6, Burnley. They are however, a top 4 team in terms of home form so not as easy a game as some would think. Add to that Chelsea could face both Ashley Barnes and Joey Barton (who? as Antonio Conte said in a recent interview). Chelsea could be in for a rough ride later this afternoon!