Former Manchester City full-back and Match of the Day pundit Micah Richards has admitted that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has proven him wrong after the club’s battling draw against Liverpool.
The Blues won a hard-earned point at Anfield on Saturday after Reece James was controversially dismissed before half-time after being adjudged to have prevented a goal with his hand.
First-half goals from Kai Havertz and Mohammed Salah meant the game was settled evenly, with James’ red card forcing Tuchel to make tactical adjustments in the second half.
The away side demonstrated more of the defensive resilience that was largely prevalent during their Champions League winning run last season.
Match of the Day pundit Richards compared the Blues’ stout defence to the calamity seen earlier in the day with their London rivals Arsenal shipping five goals against current champions Manchester City in a similar situation.
“Well we looked at Arsenal’s defending against City, if you want to watch defending, this is how you’re supposed to defend, it’s just brilliant,” the 33-year-old told Gary Lineker.
“It helped you’ve got someone like Thiago Silva with his experience with PSG, [AC] Milan; he’s been there and done it. In the second half, bringing on Kovacic, Rudiger out of nowhere has just turned into some absolute brilliant player.
“He was always good but never this good. Klopp mentioned nine men behind the ball, doing their jobs when they need to.
“Actually enjoying the art of defending, knowing you’re going to Anfield and it’s going to be tough, yes it was last-ditch at times, but they managed to get through the difficult moments.
“Jorginho buying fouls, giving his teammates a chance to get a breather. I was really impressed with Azpilicueta today. Liverpool were shooting from distance that’s what they were reduced to, but Azpilicueta getting back into his position, he didn’t stop, he gets back into a position where he can dictate the striker.”
He then went onto admit that the Chelsea boss has once again proven him wrong after he originally questioned about the coach’s credentials for the role after taking over from club legend Frank Lampard midway through last season.
Richards stated: “It was brilliant and Tuchel deserves a lot of praise, I was a disbeliever at first, I always thought they needed a striker then he went and won the Champions League but now they’re challenging for this league, they’ve got everything.”
Drawing 1-1 against the 2019/2020 league champions at a raucous Anfield is never a shabby result, but in these circumstances, Tuchel’s side have really shown their true selves to be credible title challengers as they look to add more silverware to the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet.