Liverpool Beats Chelsea 2-1: What We Learned From Antonio Conte's First Defeat

Conte
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte watches from the sidelines during his team's 2-1 loss to Liverpool. Reuters / John Sibley

Antonio Conte suffered his first defeat as Chelsea's manager after his team failed to come from behind on Friday and lost to Liverpool, 2-1.

Poor marking from the home side saw Dejan Lovren tap in from close range, before Jordan Henderson hit a powerful drive that dipped under Thibaut Courtois' crossbar.

A driving run from Nemanja Matic on the hour mark was prodded in by Diego Costa, Chelsea's savior on three occasions so far this season.

Conte looked to save the tie by making a triple substitution with 10 minutes to go as Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro entered the game.

But there was no last-minute dive into the crowd for Chelsea's charismatic Italian manager. Instead, he watched his side lose ground on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The loss also marked Conte's first home defeat in 30 games, a streak that stretched back to January 2013.

Luiz No Replacement For Terry

David Luiz, who signed a major contract last summer, provided exactly what Chelsea knew he was capable of, both good and bad. Within minutes, the Brazilian was using his passing range to spread Chelsea's play to Willian and Eden Hazard on the wings. Yet it was unforgivable for Luiz and company to leave four players unmarked at the far post.

Chelsea is struggling to replace the man who prevents these things from happening: John Terry. He sat just a few rows behind the Chelsea bench, sidelined after twisting an ankle in the final minute of a 2-2 draw with Swansea City on Sunday. Conte faces a tough task in turning Luiz into a the world-class player he thinks he can become.

Liverpool Lives Dangerously

A comfortable 2-0 lead at half-time at Stamford Bridge is a rare occurrence for any visitor. And Liverpool was in top form, as it was against Arsenal and Leicester City, in the first half.

The team frequently performs at its best against the league's best teams. But defeats to the likes of Burnley need to be eradicated. Liverpool lost 2-0 to Sean Dyche's promoted side in the second week of the season.

But it held onto the lead on Friday. During the first five games of the season, the team has faced the top three squads from the last campaign and taken seven points, while on Friday night, Liverpool beat a powerful Chelsea side.

For Liverpool to have a chance at the title, it will have to keep beating the powerhouses of English football and grind out results against the Premier League's lesser clubs.

Fabregas Offers Exactly What Conte Needs

As Chelsea struggled, Conte had a player who could have helped, sitting three yards behind him on the bench: Cesc Fabregas. The midfielder has failed to start this season due to his poor defense. But on offense, he provides something Chelsea desperately needs.

Case in point: N'Golo Kante, the ever reliable warrior, appeared to lose the ball on Friday night more than he did for Leicester City all last season. Like Jose Mourinho before him, Conte has been impressed by Oscar, but in west London, the Brazilian did not perform. The rigid Liverpool midfield ran past him with ease, while Nemanja Matic struggled to get a hold of the ball.

Fabregas was given his chance with ten minutes remaining. But by then, Chelsea was desperately launching balls into Liverpool's penalty area in search of an equalizer and failed to truly test Simon Mignolet.

Liverpool Beats Chelsea 2-1: What We Learned From Antonio Conte's First Defeat | Sports