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Liverpool Evidence New Mentality and Attitude Under Klopp in Chelsea Victory

Published by Bleacher Report on Sun, 01 Nov 2015

Jurgen Klopp delivered his first Premier League win in some style, his Liverpool team convincingly beating troubled Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.This was a performance that evidenced the changes Klopp has made at the club in less than a month in chargemost notably the change in mentality.Under former boss Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool consistently failed to beat the top teamsin six games against Chelsea as Reds boss, Rodgers suffered three defeats and three draws, per This Is Anfield. Indeed,Rodgers oversaw just five wins from 25 attempts againstManchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.The assertion frequently aimed at Rodgers was he was unable to tacticallyoutmanoeuvre the likes of Jose Mourinho and co.Klopp arrived into this game having suffered one defeat in four previous games against Mourinhowhile in charge of Borussia Dortmund.Proving the new mentality under Klopp was the manner of this victory for Liverpool.In the previous league game, at home to Southampton, Klopp spoke post-match of the player's failure to respond after conceding."We did not give up physically, but we didnt believe any more that we could turn this game, and that is a problem," he said, relayed byThis Is Anfield."I wouldnt say it is a negative mentality. First of all, you have to recognise it is like it is. It is not a sickness, and you can change everything."And change it he already has. This was the first time since December 2014, away to Leicester City, in which Liverpool had conceded first and gone on to win a game.Going behind after just four minutes when Ramires was afforded too much room to head home a Cesar Azpilicueta cross, Liverpool dominated possession in the first half and eventually got their equaliser in stoppage time before the interval.It was a superb goal from Philippe Coutinhoa player who had been out of form in recent weeks and largely anonymous for the 45 minutes prior to his turn and curled effort from the edge of the box. Big players deliver in big games, and Coutinho proved his pedigree as Liverpool's match-winner.Klopp's DecisionsViewers watching in England were subject to the laughable commentary of BT Sport and, in particular, Trevor Franciswho hasn't managed a football club in 12 years.Francis constantly told viewers how Liverpool were playing without a recognised strikerdespite the fact Roberto Firmino played the role last season on occasion with Hoffenheim and in the summer for Brazil at theCopa Americaand that he thought Liverpool hadn't worked on the shape they were using despite the fact they were playing the same shape they had in all four of Klopp's games in charge to date.Francis and lead commentator Ian Darkeeven suggested after just six minutes that Liverpool needed to think about making the change to bring on Christian Benteke.While Francis managed mid-table clubs and no longer manages anybody, a top coach such as Klopp had a game plan, and it worked perfectly.Liverpool dominated possession away to Chelsea, using Firmino as a player who could drop deep and make up extra numbers in midfield.Klopp then introduced Benteke in an attacking move, replacing James Milner, with half an hour to go.Bentekeprovided the knockdown for Coutinho's second and added the third himself.Meanwhile, Francis was left wondering why Liverpool didn't have a target man to throw the ball up to in the first half.Benteke's introduction wasn't the only decision that showed Klopp's bravery. When Lucas Leiva narrowly avoided a second yellow card, most supporters were expecting the Brazilian midfielder would be replaced imminently. But Klopp showed huge faith and kept Lucas on.Instead, Jordon Ibe who was introduced for Firminowho was starting his second game in four days after returning from injury. It was another bold sub from the German and again showed the new mentality at Anfield."We can do much better than today," said the manager after the match, per thePress Association (via This Is Anfield). Standards are being set high.ChangesWithout the political games of Rodgers and the consequent lowering of expectations, Liverpool as a club look united. Players are happy, being picked in the correct positions and trusted to carry out their work.Alberto Moreno may receive criticism for his failure to track Ramires' run for the opening goal, but credit must go to the Spaniard for not losing his head and performing well thereafter.Firmino revelled in a central rolethe role in which he shone in the Bundesligarather than being asked to play as a wide midfielder sitting in front of the full-back, as he was by Rodgers against Manchester United.Indeed, if you compare the performance and attitude displayed in the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford under Rodgers in September with the one displayed in a 3-1 come-from-behind victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, there'sproofKlopp has improved Liverpool.That Old Trafford defeat was against a Man United team that wasn't fantastic, but Liverpool were incredibly negative. Rodgers deployed Firmino and Danny Ings as wide players who performed more like wing-backs, meaning Liverpool at times had six at the back.Dejan Lovren started that day. Against Chelsea he came on in midfield in stoppage time for his first league appearance under Klopp.Meanwhile, the man Rodgers dropped for Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, has been Liverpool's best player across the four games under Klopp and again showed his leadership and dominance against Chelsea. His raking pass set up Benteke's knockdown for Coutinho.Alongside him, Skrtel kept Diego Costa quiet with a solid performance.Both games featured a midfield three of Lucas, Emre Can and Milner, but the difference in how they were set up was stark. Even Lucas is being asked to get forward and into the boxevidenced by the below stat from Andrew Beasley.It also means that Lucas has already created more chances in the PL this season (9) than in the whole of last season (8). Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) November 1, 2015These are the same players, but they are being coached entirely differently and given a new mentality. "Its a new mentality, new tactical play," said Sakho in an interview on Soccer AM(h/t This Is Anfield). "Everything is different, which is good for us."The performance and attitude on display against Chelsea proved Klopp has made impressive changes.Follow @mattladson
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