It was billed as a clash between the ‘Normal One’ and ‘Special One’ as Jurgen Klopp travelled with his Liverpool team to play a Premier League game against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with the Blues hoping to end a wretched sequence of form by their standards, with just one victory earned during October. That win arrived via a 2-0 home win against Aston Villa but the Reds were unbeaten under the management of the German and that record remained intact during another worrying afternoon for the ‘Special One’.
Yet when Ramires headed Chelsea into an early lead, there were few signs of what was to follow as Liverpool were unable to score a swift equaliser. The leveller arrived just prior to the interval via Philippe Coutinho who has generally struggled to recapture his best form this season but appeared more like his normal self on Saturday with his penetrating runs and deft passes.
As Liverpool gradually asserted control of the match, there seemed to be more energy in their play compared to the laboured efforts of Chelsea and it was no surprise when Coutinho added a second goal after 74 minutes. A Christian Benteke goal seven minutes from normal time was no more than the Reds deserved as they clinched a 3-1 victory.
For Chelsea, this was a third Premier League defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge where they were beaten only by English League One team Bradford in the FA Cup during the previous campaign. Newcastle were the first team to inflict a defeat on the Blues in December last term but already six league defeats have been incurred since August by Mourinho’s team as confidence among his more valued players appears to evaporate.
John Terry and Gary Cahill now seem ponderous in defence with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa failing to reproduce their goals from last season. However, the Klopp effect at Liverpool has helped rejuvenate the form of Mamadou Sakho in central defence with the midfield also showing more appetite for the game. It is also worth noting that the Reds are now unbeaten in eleven competitive games with Daniel Sturridge still to feature as a player in a Klopp Liverpool team.
There will now be renewed speculation as to the position of Mourinho at Chelsea as his opening day argument with club doctor Eva Carneiro appears to have lit the fuse on a troubled season to date for both management and players alike.
That situation contrasts with Klopp at Liverpool as his enthusiasm on the touchlines contrasts markedly with the more conservative style adopted by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, with players and fans becoming increasingly supportive of the former Borussia Dortmund boss.
Liverpool may have won a football match 3-1 at Stamford Bridge but the demeanour of the respective high-profile managers on the touchline could not have been more different as they contemplated their immediate futures.