Premier League Talking Points – Klopp Leaves Jose on the Brink

Could Chelsea actually be relegated?
Could Chelsea actually be relegated? /

Welcome to the Premier League Talking Points column on Playing for 90, by co-editor Kevin Kelly. This week we look at a host of key talking points which arose from the weekend’s action, including how Jurgen Klopp left Jose Mourinho befuddled at Stamford Bridge, Man City left it late to see off Norwich City, and Manchester United’s creativity problems continue. All that and more below..

Klopp Masterclass too Much for Mourinho

Things keep getting worse for Jose Mourinho. While today news broke that former Chelsea Club Doctor Eva Carneiro is personally suing both Mourinho and Chelsea, he saw his side suffer their second defeat in a week, and 6th in the Premier League this season, thanks to a Klopp masterclass on Saturday’s early kick-off.

The Reds beat Chelsea 3-1 on the day, and despite going a goal down after 3 minutes, largely controlled the game throughout, scoring goals at key times during the game to dampen any hopes of a Chelsea come back. Liverpool kept the ball in a manner former boss Brendan Rodgers would have appreciated, but penned in the Blues with an authority rarely witnessed under the Northern Irishman.

Liverpool now take on Crystal Palace next Sunday, in what could easily be billed as another fixture in which Liverpool face their demons of 2013/14, and come out the other side tasting glorious victory under their new enigmatic German manager.

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City Leave it Late but March on

It was late – and it was fare from great – but Manchester City march on in the title race, courtesy of a 2-1 victory at the Etihad against Norwich City on Saturday evening. City went ahead through a powerful Nicolas Otamendi header in the 2nd half, but it looked like Norwich were going to leave with a surprise draw when Joe Hart fumbled an innocuous cross straight into the path of Cameron Jerome who passed it into an empty net from very close-range.

However, City inevitably pressed forward for the goal and following another keeper mix-up – this time from John Ruddy – Raheem Sterling was able to shoot on goal with defender Russell Martin comically diving for the ball and saving it with his arm. He was of course subsequently red carded and Yaya Toure slotted the pen to make it 2-1.

The tale didn’t fully end then though, as the Citizens were awarded ANOTHER penalty in the final moments, again won by the substitute Raheem Sterling. While the £50m wanted to take the penalty, Aleksandar Kolarov who’s so often potent from the dead ball, insisted on taking responsibility to put the game to bed. However, Kolarov hit it wide, in what was illustrative of City winning while for the most part being very unimpressive throughout.

United Have the Tools, but Van Gaal Lacks the Courage

Manchester United’s truly curious season continues, with the Red Devils sitting 4th in the table, and to be fair they have had some good games this season, notably the victory over Liverpool. However, for the most part they have won without playing well.

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While some may mark this as a side capable of much more, it could equally if not more so be argued it is a sign of a club masking big problems which will ore their ugly head sooner rather than later. That may very much be the case, but United’s problems are set-up mainly, rather than personnel.

The Wayne Rooney debacle has become very boring of late – more so than usual – but his performance on the weekend symbolises both the problem and the solution. While he has been criticized – largely rightly – for his laboured performances, he cannot be blamed for the lack of chances he is seeing come his way.

Why won’t Van Gaal actually play him in the 10 role, and move Anthony Martial up top? Memphis could be brought back in to play left-wing and perhaps Ashley Young or more likely Juan Mata right-wing. The options are available for Van Gaal. It isn’t simply a decision to either drop him or not. Football isn’t binary, and it’s time for a clever reshuffle than a titanic shift at Manchester United.