Lampard on Chelsea’s character, Werner’s bright start and the need for patience

‘I’m disappointed to lose three points as you always will and should be but I’m actually happier today in many ways than I was at Brighton. I saw spirit, desire to defend by a lot of our defenders – Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori when he came on.

‘The midfield were giving everything to block gaps and you play half a game with 10 men, you don’t make that mistake for the second goal, you score the penalty – then it’s 1-1. I know that’s not football and I can’t reflect on that but those are the realities. The players should take heart, it’s how we go forward from here now.’

Frank felt Christensen’s red card was a decision that could have gone either way…

‘It’s not a definite one – they can get given or not. Once the yellow is the first decision, you feel it needs to be absolutely critical that it’s a red to make that difference and I’m not sure it was. I’m not going to sit here and complain too much but it was one I felt could be given or not.

‘My team talk at half-time was to be more confident on the ball because we had little moments where we received it in midfield and got our full-backs in the game. That’s how we needed to carry on going forward but then the red card changes the whole team talk.’

Kepa gave the ball away for the second goal and Lampard insisted his keeper needed to regain confidence…

‘My job is to try and give him confidence because a goalkeeper absolutely relies on confidence. It’s a clear mistake that’s cost us and Kepa has accepted that as he should do – he holds his hands up. We have to be a group and accept that with joint responsibility because these things do happen but it’s obviously a clear mistake. He has to keep working and have support around him.

‘I can say now that Willy Caballero will play and that was always my feeling to play him in the game on Wednesday [against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup] regardless of today so I don’t want people to make judgements on that.’

Werner did not score but won the penalty in the second half and had another positive game…

‘I’m very pleased with his start. We brought him to the club for the attributes that we’re seeing – speed, individual moments and we will see goals from him. In the second half it was difficult for him but he came up with a moment that could have got us back into the game. I’m delighted with him and we’re going to see a lot more.’

Lampard was also asked about his choices at centre-back…

‘We now have five centre-halves at the club and I can’t pick a squad that has three of them on the bench so that’s the way it is. I have to pick the squad from training and different situations and that was a selection one today.

‘I went with Tomori [as a substitute] and he did really well when he came on. He hasn’t played for a while and has been struggling with fitness like most of the squad but I was delighted with him. He started last season as the fifth-choice centre-back in most people’s eyes and played more than 20 games for Chelsea so I hope he feels the trust in him.’

The boss finished by discussing where the team are at after a very brief pre-season…

‘Normally with new faces, you get a month or so of pre-season to work on your patterns of play and how you want to play so we have to have time. Every team that is successful in the modern day has had time and a process so now our process starts here.

‘Last year was a squad where we couldn’t do much business so we worked and worked to come fourth. Now it’s a new start – our objectives are higher, our expectations are higher and that’s fine. It will take some time but today I saw a lot of character and spirit.’

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Match Report: Chelsea 0 Liverpool 2

Werner then fed sub Tammy Abraham who drew a fine stop from Alisson, low to his left, as time ran out. Chelsea did not go down without a fight, and Kepa made two good late saves, but it was the damage done either side of the interval that decided our opening home game of the season, and condemned us to defeat against the champions in SW6 for the first time since Manchester United won 3-0 here in 2002.

Home run over

Defeat also brings to an end our excellent streak of six straight home victories in which just a solitary goal, Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick in June, was conceded. It is a shame we will not know how the match would have panned out with 11 against 11, as we were right in it up until the red card. 

What’s next?

The Blues are back at the Bridge on Wednesday for our first cup action of the campaign, Barnsley the visitors for a Carabao Cup third round tie.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; James, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho (c) (Abraham 79), Kovacic (Barkley 79); Mount, Havertz (Tomori h/t), Werner.
Unused subs Caballero, Azpilicueta, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud.
Sent off Christensen 45+1

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Robertson; Keita (Milner 64), Henderson (c), Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino (Minamino 86), Mane.
Unused subs Adrian, Tsimikas, Jones, Origi.
Scorer Mane 50, 54

Referee Paul Tierney

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Team News: Chelsea vs Liverpool

The Croatian was suspended at Brighton on Monday following his FA Cup final red card, but is back in place of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

That means Kai Havertz and Timo Werner make their Stamford Bridge debuts from the start, and Reece James is again preferred at left-back. Jorginho is captain on the occasion of his 100th Chelsea appearance.

Explaining his team selection, Lampard said: ‘It’s a change from my point of view. Different games bring different problems. We’re playing the team that were the best in the country by a long way last season and Kovacic gives you some presence in midfield.

‘We want to play and get on the ball. Against Brighton it was tough for us to do that for different reasons but today hopefully we can get more of the ball there.’

Liverpool make one change from their opening-day win over Leeds, with Fabinho replacing Joe Gomez and expected to play at centre-back. Their new signing Thiago Alcantara is on the bench. 

Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa, James, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho (c), Kovacic, Havertz, Werner, Mount. 

Subs: Caballero, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Giroud.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Robertson, Keita, Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Salah, Fabinho, Mane. 

Subs: Adrian, Tsimikas, Thiago, Milner, Jones, Minamino, Origi. 

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Lawrence Dallaglio backs Blues to lick Liverpool

Timo Werner to hit the net and Chelsea to run out winners against the Reds – that is the mouth-watering prediction from another famous fan who is entering our new Play Predictor game this weekend.

Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio OBE is the latest famous Chelsea fan to share his predictions for our new Play Predictor game on The 5th Stand app.

The former England star enjoyed an 18-year rugby career during which he won a host of club trophies with Wasps, as well as helping his country to the Six Nations Grand Slam and World Cup glory in 2003.

Since retiring from the sport in 2008, in addition to following his beloved Blues, he has dedicated his time to the charity he founded, Dallaglio RugbyWorks, which helps young people in need of life-changing support to achieve a positive, productive future.

It is a 2-1 win he is forecasting for his team versus Liverpool and an even earlier impact by Werner than the penalty he won at Brighton. The Rugby World Cup winner even thinks we will have a greater share of the ball than the champions.
 

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Blues fuelled up for Stamford Bridge return

However for the real picture of how unusually short the break between campaigns has been in this very different year of 2020, you need to take off two more weeks for the FA Cup final and the conclusion of our Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, and the one that has already passed at the start of this season since our first game away from home at Brighton.

So just over a month basically for rest and recuperation and then the pre-season preparations – a very different programme in these very different times.

Frank Lampard has spoken about the flexibility in his team he is aiming for with his reshaped squad, and there has been flexibility too from his coaching team in meeting the very different requirements of summer 2020.

Back in lockdown the story was well told of players maintaining their fitness alone, although that was with regular group Zoom sessions with the fitness coaches, all the squad and the management staff, as well as individual programmes that were monitored daily.

Then there was Project Restart with its short prelude at Cobham in high summer temperatures before an intense fixture programme with so much at stake. Shortened holidays followed and then it was back to work.

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