Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool: 5 reasons why the Reds lost the game | FA Cup 2019-20
- Highlighting five reasons why Liverpool fell to defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Both sides came into the fixture in less than ideal circumstances; the Reds' loss to Watford over the weekend marking their first defeat since January of last year, while the Blues' 2-2 draw with Bournemouth leaving them in a precarious position for the top four.
In what was an unexpected start to the game, the hosts began on the front foot and forced Adrian into many saves before deservedly going ahead when Willian struck from the edge of the box in the 13th minute.
The rest of the first half saw the two teams play with plenty of drive but a lack of real goalmouth action although the Merseysiders forced Kepa into three quickfire saves.
Chelsea continued to fashion the best chances after the restart, with Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount hitting the post, while Pedro also forced a save from Adrian late on.
The much-maligned Barkley redeemed some of his reputation when he charged at the Liverpool defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Adrian from 20 yards in the 64th minute. This proved to be the nail in the coffin for Liverpool, who were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Here, we shall be highlighting five factors that contributed to Liverpool's defeat at Stamford Bridge.
#5 The absence of key first-teamers
It is no hidden secret that Jurgen Klopp has not exactly prioritised the FA Cup in his five-year stay at Anfield, with more emphasis placed on league and continental action.
The 52-year-old has always fielded second-string squads in the past, while he made the controversial decision to absolve his entire first-team side in the 4th-round replay against Shrewsbury Town, which came during their two-week winter break.
Against Chelsea, he stuck to his script and handed a number of regulars a break, with key players like Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Joel Matip on the bench, while others like Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Trent-Alexander Arnold did not even make the matchday squad.
With the league all but wrapped up and a genuine chance for a maiden treble on offer, fans would have expected Klopp to use his first-team squad against the Blues but he failed to do so, electing to give run-ins to squad members like Divok Origi, Adam Lallana, and Takumi Minamino as well as youngsters like Curtis Jones and Neco Williams.
This decision backfired spectacularly and although he introduced Salah, Milner, and Bobby Firmino in a bid to salvage something, it was too little too late for the former Dortmund manager.