Thomas Tuchel is looking for his players to jazz things up with a virtuoso performance at Anfield – and can’t wait to watch Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku battle Virgil van Dijk.
Jurgen Klopp once famously described Liverpool’s style as “heavy metal football” in a bid to capture the high intensity with which he likes his team to overwhelm the opposition.
The Chelsea manager has barely missed a note since taking over at Stamford Bridge in January, taking the Blues to the highest levels.
But when asked to sum up his own philosophy, he struggled to compose his own response.
“I think it is very hard to answer in a typical style of music,” he said. “It is very hard to describe which style we play but, of course we want to play a certain style and it is a good comparison to draw to an orchestra.
“But it has to be possible that someone has to play a solo on his own and others can adapt to it.
“Not everything is planned because we rely on creativity, courage, and intelligence to feel moments in the game where it is good to break out of the rhythm to do something unexpected and brave.”
He struggled to come up with the word, but jazz would offer a fair approximation of the ideal he was trying to illustrate. It is certainly a better answer than Tuchel’s first recorded musical love.
“Imagine if our team played like ABBA, how would we win games?” Tuchel chuckled.
In his defence, he added: “I was very young when I listened to ABBA and maybe I was more in love with the singers than I was with the music!”
Nevertheless it is tempting to see this early-season clash as something of a Winner Takes It All situation.
With the freak results of last season expected to disappear with the return of full stadiums, the direct battles between the genuine title contenders could well dictate the destination of the title.
Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool is the first of these and offers up an intriguing battle to see which soloist will be the headline act: Lukaku versus Van Dijk.
“I’m looking forward to it,” admitted Tuchel unapologetically. “And I think many fans of football are looking forward to that battle.
“Of course also for Romelu it’s a big challenge. He’s had one match with us which was pretty impressive and a good start and from now on we are into details and adapting and to connecting better and better.
“But when we signed him we knew we were getting a very experienced player, in terms of playing big matches. He loves these kinds of stages and that’s why I expect the best we can see from him right now.
“I’m not sure he has yet reached top level, maybe not, because he only has one game in his legs.
“But he will have a good match tomorrow, because he loves to play in these types of matches, he’s a tough competitor, and against strong opponents.”