Micah Richards was in awe of Chelsea’s defensive performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, and particularly one defender who he believes has transformed into a “brilliant” player under Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea had to dig deep and defend as a team throughout the majority of the second half following Reece James’ dismissal just before half-time.
Liverpool still managed to register 14 shots, six of which were on target. But Chelsea successfully prevented them from creating any big chances in the last 45 minutes.
Richards named several Chelsea players who deserved credit for their defensive work rate, but he seemed to be impressed by how good Rudiger has become, in particular.
“This how you’re supposed to defend,” the former Manchester City defender told the BBC MOTD about Chelsea’s performance against Liverpool.
“It helped that you’ve got someone like Thiago Silva, with his experience, and in the second half, bringing in [Mateo] Kovacic as well.
“Rudiger, out of nowhere, he’s just turned into some absolutely brilliant player.
“He was always good but had never been this good.
“You see the shape of Chelsea, everyone knows what they need to do.”
To be fair, even most Chelsea fans did not expect that Rudiger would be such a key player after his previously being pushed aside by former manager Frank Lampard.
Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system certainly played a big part in bringing out the best in the Germany international.
Playing in back three has allowed Rudiger to play very aggressive, without having to worry about leaving too much space behind.
He has always had the pace and the physical abilities to cover the ground when needed, but the new system has allowed him to make the most out of it.