The Special One vs. The Normal One

I don’t think there’s a bigger contrast in the optimism surrounding managers than the one between Jürgen Klopp and José Mourinho. The introduction of the former Borussia Dortmund skipper, self-dubbed the “Normal One” at Anfield has immediately rekindled the belief that the Reds can challenge for silverware. On the other end, Mourinho’s team is in the midst of their worst start of recent memory, and it looks the “Special One” has lost the plot at Stamford Bridge. In this battle of iconic bosses, who will take the spoils?

Through Klopp’s first four games in charge of Liverpool, the Reds have scored just three goals. Injuries to strikers Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge have limited the attacking options that Klopp has to choose from in his opening matches in Merseyside. Saturday’s match, however, will see the return of Benteke to the first team. If there are any doubts about the former Aston Villa striker’s abilities upfront, please watch this. Benteke provides Liverpool with an experienced striker in attack, and provides a physical presence that has been missing in during his absence (no offense to Divock Origi). Going up a seemingly porous Chelsea backline, look for Benteke to impress Klopp with a good performance.

While Liverpool’s attack has seemingly come to a halt since Klopp took over, their defense has been nearly perfect. Only two teams have found the back of the net against the Reds, and no club has managed to score more than once. The vastly improved form of Simon Mignolet from last season paired with the budding partnership between Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel in the heart of defense have made Liverpool one of the best defensive teams in the league. Depending on which Chelsea show up Saturday, these three could be in for a busy afternoon dealing with the Blues creative attack, or they could spend most of the match sitting and waiting.

Hazard and Mourinho

The man in the hottest seat of all right now is José Mourinho. The Portuguese manager has struggled to one of the worst starts of his professional career as Chelsea sit with just 11 points from their first 10 games. This abysmal start from the reigning champs has placed them 15th in the table and just five points above the relegation zone. While it is highly unlikely that the Blues will be fighting for survival come May, it’s becoming a real concern that they may be fighting to qualify for even the Europa League. To top off Mourinho’s struggles as of late, the Special One got himself ejected from last week’s match against West Ham, where his club would eventually fall 2-1. Another high profile loss could be the nail in the coffin for one of the most successful managers Chelsea has ever seen.

One of the biggest surprises of Chelsea’s season so far, other than their record, has been the involvement level of their biggest star: Eden Hazard. The Belgian winger dazzled the league last year with his creativity on the ball and his nose for goal, but he has yet to find the back of the net this season. This poor form earned him a spot on the bench during Chelsea’s match against Aston Villa, and rumors began to creep out suggesting the 24-year-old may be looking for a transfer sooner rather than later. During the Blues League Cup tie against Stoke City midweek, it was Hazard’s saved penalty that eliminated the Blues. Confidence is key for a player in Hazard’s position, and right now it doesn’t look like has any. A big performance against Liverpool could spark a return of the winger we came to love last year, or it could further his downward spiral.

If there were a way for both of these teams to lose, I would pick that as my prediction. Sadly, current Premier League rules make that impossible. With that in mind, I have to pick Klopp’s side to take home three points. Chelsea looks like a shadow of the team that won the title last year, and Liverpool has all the hope in the world behind them. Final Score: Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool and next week I will be writing an article about possible replacement candidates for Mourinho.


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About the author: Collin Carpio


I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.


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