After winning the Europa League last season, Chelsea will face Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final in Istanbul on Wednesday. Beating the Champions League winners and Premier League runners-up will be no mean feat, but a revolutionised attack could do the trick for the Blues.
Chelsea kicked off the campaign in disappointing fashion on Sunday as they lost 4-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Frank Lampard set up his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Pedro as a three behind Tammy Abraham up front.
Throughout the match, Abraham cut a lonely figure up front, managing just 24 touches– the least of any player from the Stamford Bridge outfit’s starting XI, including goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The trio behind the 21-year-old did not offer enough from a defensive point of view. Chelsea were far too open whenever they lost the ball, allowing United to quickly carve through them on the counter-attack.
Against Liverpool meanwhile, Lampard and co will require a certain set-up to nullify their opponents’ strengths.
Liverpool’s main threats come on the flanks. Obviously, whoever the full-backs are will likely have been told to stop Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but Jurgen Klopp also has danger men from an offensive perspective in defence. Between them, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson registered 23 Premier League assists last campaign, and the former Borussia Dortmund boss relies on them to bomb forward.
Lampard, therefore, should start with a three of Pedro, Willian – who looks to have recovered from injury having travelled to Turkey with the squad – and Christian Pulisic behind the striker. They all share one thing in common: pace. This will be vital as the Blues look to prevent the Anfield outfit from playing out from the back, and they will also be able to track Robertson and Alexander-Arnold going backwards on the occasions when they do get away.
In the main striker role, Olivier Giroud should be given the nod. In this match, Liverpool should have more possession, and it could be difficult for Chelsea to get a foothold at times. With the Frenchman though, they will have someone who can hold the ball up and bring others in to play. He works well with teammates, as he showed with Eden Hazard at times last season.
It represents a drastic change from the weekend when Lampard favoured youth in Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, but utilising the new-look foursome will give physicality up front, a speedy triumvirate behind and – in theory, at least – the Blues a better chance of lifting the trophy.