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30. David Luiz

Started by BlueLion.,

7,821 posts in this topic

For David Luiz and Chelsea, Everything’s Perfect. Until Suddenly It’s Not.



LONDON — Muttering under his breath, shaking his head in regret, David Luiz was the last player to disappear from the field. He had taken his time after the final whistle. As Liverpool’s players went over to celebrate with their fans, and as his Chelsea teammates trudged disconsolately toward the tunnel, Luiz lingered.

He stripped off his jersey. He bestowed a few handshakes on eager young fans reaching their arms out for him to brush. He made sure to wave to almost every corner of the stadium; only that pocket of jubilant Liverpool supporters avoided his gaze. Only when his tour of duty was complete did he depart, frustration etched on his face.

In that, he mirrored those fans streaming out of the stadium. Until the 89th minute, Chelsea had seemed destined for a victory that would have moved Maurizio Sarri’s team — which he acknowledges is a work in progress — above Liverpool in the Premier League standings, to a share of the lead, separated from Manchester City only by goal difference.

It had been a game of fine margins, not quite one of those wild rides the Premier League imagines is its calling card, but a high-speed, high-caliber occasion, the first meeting of genuine peers in the early season. The difference, the only difference, was that Chelsea had taken its chance — a move started energetically and finished exquisitely by Eden Hazard, midway through the first half — where Liverpool, on half a dozen occasions, had not.

That had, in no small part, been Luiz’s doing. Not simply because he had appeared, at the last moment, to stop a header from Roberto Firmino that would have drawn Liverpool even, but because he had produced a performance of precision and poise, control and concentration, to keep the visitors’ forward line at bay. Liverpool, of course, boasts the most expensive defender in the world, the similarly impeccable Virgil van Dijk. Luiz’s display was a reminder as to why, until last January, he had held that title.

There was nothing he might have done — nothing anyone might have done, really — about the goal that salvaged a point for Liverpool, that sent that corner of red dancing into the night.

Daniel Sturridge, on the field for only four minutes, picked up the ball outside Chelsea’s penalty area, glanced up and lifted a swerving, dipping shot beyond the reach of Kepa Arrizabalaga for the draw. Its brilliance offered little solace to Luiz, or to his teammates.

The goal capped what has been an unlikely renaissance for Sturridge. This summer, his Liverpool career appeared to be at an end. He had been sent out on loan to West Bromwich Albion last January, in desperate search of playing time in a vain hope of forcing his way onto England’s World Cup squad. He played six times. He did not score. West Brom was relegated.



much more at the link

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