Micah Richards applauded Chelsea’s defensive performance in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday afternoon and singled out Antonio Rudiger as an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The Blues took the lead after a cleverly-flicked header from Kai Havertz looped over Alisson Becker into the Liverpool net.
However, they suddenly found themselves in a difficult position after Reece James was sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity when he appeared to handle the ball on Chelsea’s goal line.
Mohamed Salah confidently dispatched the resulting penalty, which meant that 10-man Chelsea had to find a way to stop Jurgen Klopp’s side from taking the lead in the second-half.
Stopping a side with Liverpool’s attacking prowess was never going to be easy, but Tuchel’s team dug-in to earn an incredibly well-deserved point – one that could prove to be very important later in the season.
Speaking on BBC’s Match of the Day, Richards declared: “This is how you’re supposed to defend.”
Although the former Manchester City star thinks that Thiago Silva’s experience, as well as Mateo Kovacic’s control, helped to establish a steeliness to Chelsea’s shape, Richards thinks that Rudiger is turning into one of the league’s best defenders.
“Rudiger, out of nowhere, he’s just turned into some absolutely brilliant player,” he added. “He was always good but had never been this good.
“You see the shape of Chelsea, everyone knows what they need to do.”
There was talk that Rudiger was considering leaving the west London based club at the beginning of this summer’s transfer window, but with Tuesday’s deadline now in sight, it seems as though he is firmly part of Tuchel’s plans for the season.
Chelsea may still sign Jules Kounde before the end of the transfer deadline, but given how well Rudiger has been performing, it will take a lot for the Frenchman to come in and demand a place in the starting line-up.
Chelsea now have a break before their next game against Aston Villa on September 11, with the Champions League getting under way the week after as the reigning European champions host Zenit St Petersburg.
Source by Football London