Jamie Carragher praised Thomas Tuchel for sticking to his ‘very brave’ game-plan after Chelsea’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Liverpool and said his ‘big decision’ to start Timo Werner up front in place of Olivier Giroud paid dividends at Anfield.
Chelsea secured victory thanks to Mason Mount’s sublime curled finish in the 42nd minute and Thursday night’s result ensured Tuchel’s unbeaten record since replacing Frank Lampard remained intact ten games into his reign.
Werner proved to be a threat all night and the German looked to have opened the scoring earlier in the first half only to have his goal disallowed by referee Martin Atkinson for offside.
Chelsea kept hold of their narrow advantage to seal their fifth Premier League win since Tuchel took charge. Liverpool, meanwhile, suffered a fifth successive loss on home soil for the first time in their history.
On Chelsea’s impressive display, Carragher told Sky Sports: ‘They looked a real top outfit, they really did. It was almost like a European team coming to Anfield.
‘I’ve played in games like that myself where you think you’re going to get after a team and everyone is short. That’s what it felt like tonight watching Liverpool.
‘You could maybe criticise Liverpool’s press or look at Chelsea’s quality.
‘I’d look at Chelsea’s quality and very rarely did Liverpool really get someone, nick the ball off them and put them in any kind of trouble.
‘It was very brave of Thomas Tuchel to come here and play like that. That’s his way of playing, he’s not going to change and I’ve said that before the game.
‘He’s had some tough games here himself so he knows what it’s like playing against Jurgen Klopp.
‘He’s been here with PSG and with Borussia Dortmund so he didn’t change his game-plan, he’s been very brave.’
Eyebrows were raised as Tuchel opted to recall Werner up front, with Giroud left on the substitutes bench and Tammy Abraham omitted altogether on Merseyside.
The German was unfortunate to have his first-half goal ruled out for offside and the performance he produced was arguably one of his finest in a Chelsea shirt, despite not scoring in his 89 minutes on the pitch.
‘His big decision was playing Timo Werner as a centre-forward for the first time since he took the job and it paid dividends,’ Carragher added.
Chelsea moved into the top four with the result, while Liverpool remain stranded in seventh.
‘You saw the game – it was a tight one, it was a close one, it was an intense one,’ a disappointed Jurgen Klopp told BBC Sport shortly after the final whistle.
‘We forced them to make mistakes, they forced us to make mistakes. They used one, we didn’t use ours.
‘Against Chelsea, it would be surprising to play them off the pitch – but we were in the game.
‘It is just annoying to talk about the same things again and again. It is tough. We have to fight through this.’