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Mount confirms Chelsea status as Salah outburst sums up Liverpool’s issues

With a shift to his right and an unerring finish into the bottom corner, Mason Mount delivered final confirmation.

Final confirmation that the reason he was treasured by Frank Lampard, why he is prized by Gareth Southgate, is that he is a mighty fine player.

One of England’s best.

Everything he does shows a young player with a brilliant footballing brain and the execution skills to match.

He was too clever, too sharp for Liverpool to handle, typifying the current difference between these two teams.

If you had to choose one of these to back for a top four finish, it would be Thomas Tuchel’s team, particularly as Liverpool’s issues at the back continue.

Mason Mount scores Chelsea’s winner against Liverpool

People have stopped totting up the number of central defensive combinations tried by Klopp this season.

Suffice to say not many of them have inspired serious confidence.

Timo Werner will get in behind most defences with relative regularity, mainly because he loves an offside flag.

But on the first occasion he did time a run within legal limits, he went untracked and should have done something other than dolly a catch into Alisson’s arms.

While he is permanently on the cusp of offside, Werner’s movement is wonderfully non-stop and VAR had to be at its most microscopically annoying to rule out his effort midway through the first half.

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Jorginho had chipped through a simple pass, Werner skipped past another ill-judged Alisson advance and smiled when the assistant referee kept his stick down.

But sometimes, you now get the feeling characters in Stockley Park are just taking pleasure in winding people up.

They must sit back and chuckle at the social media foaming.

Anyhow, the hairline decision took a little spring from the Chelsea step but Liverpool were not in a capitalising groove.

Far from it.

And when Mount collected N’Golo Kante’s pass, ignored Fabinho’s socially distant attentions and cut inside to score, it was no more than Chelsea deserved.

Mount has confirmed his status as Chelsea's key man
Mount has confirmed his status as Chelsea’s key man

It was an accomplished individual goal but the defending was a little basic, to say the least.

A little like Klopp’s system.

Without Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield, there is insufficient pressure to block the simple ball over a high defensive line.

Liverpool’s best form of defence is to have possession high up the field and they had a little more of that after the break.

But although they had an understandable request for VAR to get involved with a Kante handball, chances – even half-chances – were at a premium.

No wonder Mohamed Salah cut an agitated figure, no wonder he threw a strop and kicked a cool box when he was hooked just after the hour mark.

Mohamed Salah cut a disgruntled figure after being dragged off early
Mohamed Salah cut a disgruntled figure after being dragged off early

There has always been what you might call a creative tension that exists around Salah. He is a sensitive sort.

But for Klopp to withdraw Salah with half an hour ago, assuming there were no injury concerns, is a shot across the Egyptian’s bows he cannot have expected.

That is why it was hardly a surprise when he started throwing his jacket around.

Klopp can handle that sort of reaction but the tantrum shone a light on the frustration that is running through Liverpool’s camp.

In contrast, this is a Chelsea team that seems to know exactly what is required under Tuchel.

Disciplined, hard-working, bright, imaginative but sensible.

Just like Mason Mount.




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