Chelsea and Liverpool serve up entertaining glimpse of football without defensive midfielders

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Both Chelsea and Liverpool are in pursuit of Moises Caicedo, with both clubs willing to pay over £100m for the player. The recent match between the two clubs highlighted the gaps in their midfield, as neither side had a specialist defensive midfielder. The absence of players like Claude Makelele and Javier Mascherano, who used to snuff out danger in the midfield, added to the entertainment of the game. Despite the previous four clashes between the teams ending goalless, the 1-1 scoreline was deceptive as both sides had goals disallowed due to fractional offsides.

The result of the match did not provide the statement that either team needed to put last season’s underachievement behind them. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s debut as Chelsea’s manager showed promise compared to Graham Potter’s failed project and Frank Lampard’s previous tenure. Chelsea displayed more spirit and played with greater pace than the previous season. They showed ambition and excitement, although they still appeared to be a work in progress.

Pochettino named four debutants in his starting 11, and only three of his substitutes had prior Premier League experience. Ben Chilwell, who was given the role of vice-captain, played in a more advanced position on the left wing and set up a goal for Axel Disasi. Levi Colwill, who was tasked with defending against Mohamed Salah, had a difficult time containing him.

For Liverpool, their midfield was missing their targets Caicedo and Romeo Lavia. Alexis Mac Allister, who wore the No 10 shirt, played a constructive passing game in the midfield. Liverpool threatened to dominate the game in the first half but were muted in the second half. They took the lead through a swift break with Luis Diaz scoring the goal.

Despite missing out on extending his record of scoring on every opening weekend of the Premier League season for Liverpool, Salah came close to scoring. Chelsea capitalized on a defensive lapse from Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Disasi scoring the equalizer. Chelsea showed more mettle than they did in the previous season, leaving Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp embracing at the end of the game.

However, both teams still have a gap in their midfield, and the pursuit of Caicedo further emphasizes the need for a defensive midfielder. The match ended in a draw, but both London and Liverpool are in need of reinforcements in their midfield.

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