Liverpool, England — The second half of Romelu Lukaku wasn’t particularly appealing. There were a lot of runs, jumping into the pieces of space on either side of Liverpool’s central defender, hoping for a rare ball. There was a fair amount of quarrel and wrestling with Joël Matip, especially two scrubs to every corner of the ground.
On the contrary, there weren’t many touches. After half-time there were only 20 in all, not one every two minutes. Over the entire 45-minute period, there was only one scoring chance, the moment Lukaku tried to remind him all night, a snapshot from just inside the penalty area. He caught it well. As soon as Virgil van Dijk blocked it, it left his foot.
Of course, this is a lot of strikers. As they move away, all of their arms rise and the glorious moments of compliments poured on them from the stands are invisible, unyielding, and often countless underrated jobs. It is a product of time. All goals are rewards for all efforts spent silently. Lukaku, now in Chelsea for the second time, has been doing this for long enough to get used to it.
Still, a one-on-one draw in Liverpool on Saturday would have felt like a tough night. The situation showed that Lukaku spent much of the second half backwards rather than positively. Chelsea are leading through Kai Havertz’s clever headers, and when Reece James handles the ball at the goal line, the clock is ticking towards halftime.
James-eventually-was sent off, Mohamed Salah converted the penalty, and Anfield smelled blood. From that moment on, it’s clear that the second half of Chelsea will focus on holding up rather than pushing, and Lukaku, who returned to the club for $ 135 million this summer, will endure a quiet night of hardship. Probably.
Lukaku is the last piece of the puzzle, thanks to both his cost of being the most expensive player in football history in terms of cumulative transfers, and his status, at least until Kylian Mbappe joins Real Madrid. There is a natural tendency to assume It is also most important that this Chelsea team is currently being built for and around Romelu Lukaku.
His first exhibition at Arsenal last week rarely criticized anyone for the concept. He played there with all of the hero’s intentions and threats of revenge, scoring within 15 minutes of the start of the second spell in England. He may have stolen a piece of confidence from his immediate enemy, Pablo Mali, for several years with one hand.
His second game on Saturday served as a reminder that the final piece could only exist if the puzzle was nearly complete. Lukaku was an optional extra in many of the games against one of the presumed rivals of the Chelsea title, but club travel fans still had the final whistle of approval roar.
Of course, Thomas Tuchel’s team didn’t win in the strict literal sense, but the championship was also built on moral victories, which echoed. Chelsea played in a disadvantageous situation after James played against one of the world’s most powerful offensive tridents in football in front of the crowd, but with very amazing control, calmness, and I showed calm.
For most of the first half, Chelsea frustrated the host and seemed to be nothing more than a stamp on the vast green expanse of Anfield, an open expanse where Liverpool flourished. Every time the Jurgen Klopp team turned around, there was a blue jersey. Chelsea has the relentless ability to fill space and blind all alleys.
Liverpool was growing a bit in a hurry and was a little shabby as it was looking for a way out of its vise. Van Dyck and Trent Alexander Arnold began to despair each other loudly across the width of the field at some point: Van Dyck wanted him to move forward with his teammates. Alexander Arnold couldn’t know where he should go.
Penalties and red cards eased the pressure, but doubled Chelsea’s determination. Tuchel reorganized: Thiago Silva at the center of the defense, Cesar Azpilicueta shift to the right side, indomitable Mason Mount hold midfielder, aggressive midfielder, and auxiliary right-wing back Also played an active part.
Chelsea injured Engoro Cante during the break and was the third cause of regret, but his spirit seemed to choke his team. In the 45 minutes when Liverpool dominated the ball and Lukaku rarely featured, it did not create a single clear chance. Efforts from the range were only a handful, but they couldn’t get through, avoid, or get out. Even Klopp could barely contain his praise in the aftermath. “Extramen are not a big advantage over those with the defensive skills they have,” he said.
What makes Chelsea such a threat is the invincible, reliable and solid air that Tuchel has given to the team during his eight months as a coach, as much as Lukaku’s threat. Chelsea has the firepower to see off the majority of Premier League teams. But just as important is that it has a battery to keep out the great and the good.
In the summer frenzy, when a new player arrives at Garland’s old team, it’s important who can call the most talented team, and the title is the most dazzling team list and the biggest spending.
But that’s not how it works. There are other stages in the process. Those resources must be shaped into working units, and all those talented individuals are built into teams. Lukaku may still prove the last piece of Chelsea’s puzzle. But more importantly, Tuchel had already put together the rest.