Liverpool kicked off their new year with a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday – and the game showed there may be plenty of improvements to be made before 2022 is out.
Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic capped a stunning opening 45 minutes as they struck in quick succession to cancel out early goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
And one star Liverpool player’s performance received particular criticism following Christian Pulisic’s equaliser for Chelsea.
The game had plenty of talking points, from Mane’s goal to the depleted squads.
And it comes as outgoing Reds transfer guru Michael Edwards’ final plan to replace Mohamed Salah fell flat.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah catapulted Liverpool into a commanding 2-0 lead inside half an hour, only for Kovacic and Pulisic to fire a four-minute riposte before half-time.
There were plenty of talking points as Mane ended his goalscoring drought, a familiar duo combined to score and the goalkeepers stealing the show in the second half.
Mirror Football has run through all of the game’s flashpoints.
Van Dijk slammed
Virgil van Dijk has been slammed for “lazy” defending in the build-up to Christian Pulisic’s equaliser for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic raced onto N’Golo Kante’s chipped ball during first-half added time to dab past Kelleher with a fine first-touch finish.
But former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and ex-Reds defenders Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher were highly critical of van Dijk’s role in the goal.
The Sky Sports pundits tore apart the Liverpool backline as they analysed the Chelsea goal.
Salah replacement plan falls flat
Michael Edwards’ time at Liverpool has been hugely successful and the departing sporting director has pulled of some major transfer coups at the club.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Alisson have been central figures to Jurgen Klopp’s achievements in recent years and Edwards helped bring all of them, and others, to Anfield.
But with Salah’s contract set to expire at the end of next season, contingency plans on bringing in his replacement are bound to be needed.
And talks around one young talent who would be the perfect fit appear to have now fallen silent.