You can spend as much money as you want in the transfer market, but a dodgy goalkeeper will cost you everything.
That is the harsh lesson for Chelsea’s rookie manager Frank Lampard as Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp gave him a valuable illustration in football on Sunday, with the Reds winning 2-0 thanks to gifted goals for Sadio Mane.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is challenging Manchester United’s David de Gea for biggest liability of the season already. and another costly error resulted in defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Klopp took a swipe at Lampard’s 200 million pound close-season spending spree — which included Chelsea beating Liverpool to the signature of Germany forward Timo Werner.
He said his club could not act in the same way as those owned by oligarchs, in a reference to Blues supremo Roman Abramovich.
Lampard responded by saying it was “slightly amusing” to see Klopp complain about Chelsea’s transfer investments when Liverpool had spent heavily in the past.
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However, for all the lavish spending on outfield players, it was the man between the sticks that cost the game. Not that he was cheap.
Arrizabalaga became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for 80 million euros in 2018 but has struggled to justify his huge transfer fee.
He was at fault for Liverpool’s second goal on Sunday, directing a clearance straight into the path of Sadio Mane, who tapped the ball into an empty net.
“With the Kepa situation it’s a clear mistake,” Lampard said. “A clear mistake that has cost us because at that point we go on to have a penalty which we maybe score.
“Those fine margins change games at this level. We have to keep working, Kepa has to keep working. He has to have support around him, that’s very clear.”
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The 25-year-old keeper was also criticised for his role in Brighton’s goal on Monday when he failed to stop Leandro Trossard’s shot from outside the area.
“Kepa has to keep working, nobody tries to make mistakes in football, it is the nature of the game. You have to be strong and keep going,” added Lampard, who also confirmed Willy Caballero would start in goal against Barnsley in Wednesday’s League Cup game.