Chelsea may not be creating as much as you would come to expect but the Blues would still appear to have Liverpool’s number ahead of the upcoming Carabao Cup final.
The Blues have struggled to craft openings for their forwards this season and that does not just apply to Thomas Tuchel but also under Frank Lampard. Since the loss of Eden Hazard, it has been a difficult task to unlock a dynamic edge in the attack and it has become an increasing concern.
The lack of creativity could come back to haunt Chelsea when they face Liverpool later this month, particularly given their own interpretation of a creative outlet but the Blues’ have their own unique ability to control and command a game and it could prove key to beating Jurgen Klopp’s side in the final.
Thomas Tuchel’s most creative player on the eye appears to be Reece James. His menacing progression into the final third from wing-back has made him the clear powerhouse for Chelsea’s attack. While he has been recovering from injury for the last two months, there has been a noticeable disconnect in transition.
His Anfield peer Trent Alexander-Arnold remains Liverpool’s creative catalyst, while Joao Cancelo plays his role as part-time fullback/part-time creative midfielder for Manchester City. It’s been a noticeable season for the top three’s full-backs, but Chelsea are bottom of the pack in the pursuit of the Premier League title.
Even though Reece James has been out since December, Chelsea have managed to maintain a narrow gap with Liverpool in the Premier League and reach two finals in the interim. Tuchel will be looking for how he can get any sort of edge over an in-form Liverpool in the Wembley showpiece, possibly without his most creative talisman. With the fixture list not kind and with the Blues continuing to battle an injury list, winning the first piece of silverware this season looks to be a tough ask, but considering that the two clubs have been in a stalemate battle throughout the season, it may not be as difficult as we think.
As per The Athletic, the player with the most touches for Chelsea per 90 is Thiago Silva. Tuchel’s defence-heavy regime with the 3-4-3 formation warrants an increase in possession for the back three. He ultimately acts as Chelsea’s creator from deep as a result. In comparison to Liverpool, more of Chelsea’s touches come from the defensive third and significantly fewer touches in the final third. Yet, Chelsea have still managed to keep Liverpool at bay in the three games between the clubs since Tuchel took charge last year.
It is clear that Klopp promotes a more attacking setup but it has not yet had the complete advantage over Tuchel. Liverpool were very close a couple of weeks ago when they travelled to Stamford Bridge and took a 2-0 lead in the first half. However, their defensive instability gave Chelsea a way back into the game for both teams to take a point each.
Earlier in the season, Liverpool hosted Chelsea where they dominated but their creativity could not help unpick Chelsea’s defensive wall at Anfield.
The main worry for Chelsea heading into this fixture is fatigue. It doesn’t matter how creative the Reds are from wide areas or even how their front three interchange, Chelsea have already proven that if they can stay committed and hungry during their tight schedule with the travels from the Club World Cup, they have the big-game nous to secure a statement win. This match will surely determine just how strong Tuchel’s defensive setup is and whether it is a necessity or a bonus for him to add another attacking player in the summer transfer window.