On the day Liverpool would hoist their first Premier League trophy, their first league trophy in 30 years, the biggest headline was not the ceremony. Instead, it was just a kid from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Although he did not get to start the match for Chelsea, Christian Pulisic made sure his impact was felt when he was subbed on with around 30 minutes to go and Chelsea down 4-1. Almost immediately upon entering, he sliced and diced his way through the Liverpool defense, setting up forward Tammy Abraham for an easy tap-in goal. Pulisic’s crafty footwork and desire to push the ball forward was the reason for that goal. Scoring that goal made the game 4-2.
Then, if it couldn’t get any better, Pulisic scored just a few minutes later. This time, teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi put a nice lofted cross in the box and Pulisic displayed a nice bit of control and composure before smashing the ball into the top corner.
That goal pulled Chelsea back to 4-3. Although their comeback was short lived, United States Men’s National Team fans had a lot to be happy with. Before our eyes, a star is forming and only getting bigger. Let’s explain exactly why.
Goals and assists are nice and all, but a big thing about Christian Pulisic’s play is his ability to make everyone around him better. His constant attacking mindset is really proving to be a lot to handle for opposing teams. Going back to the assist he had yesterday against Liverpool, he picked up the ball around the halfway line and his immediate reaction was to attack. He dribbled right at the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho and Joe Gomez. Those are three world class players, but it does not matter when there is a player going at them with speed, confidence and determination.
The point of Pulisic’s play that needs to be emphasized is his dribbling. Not many players take the ball and run at defenders like him. He is quick, the ball is tight to his feet and he is constantly looking to get others involved. Against Liverpool, you saw him bring a whole new energy to the Chelsea side when they needed it the most.
It really was a breathtaking performance from all aspects. It was great to see a player take it to a Liverpool side which has been very good defensively. He finished the game with 100% passing accuracy, three successful take-ons, three ball recoveries, one big chance created and the goal and assist. It was just a great all around individual performance.
In his post match press conference, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard had a lot to say about Pulisic and him being compared to another club legend named Eden Hazard:
“He is hugely important. He has had that impact. I was here for Eden’s first year and it’s not easy to come into the Premier League, even for Eden in that first year, and adapt to the Premier League.”
Being compared to a player like Hazard is very good praise. But, let’s not put a cap on where he can go as a player. Lost in all of this hype is this fact: Christian Pulisic is still just 21 years old. This is just the tip of the iceberg for him. In a lot of ways, Pulisic can only improve from here, and for him to show what he has been showing now is crazy.
After yesterday’s performance, Pulisic sits on 10 goals and 10 assists on the season in just 32 appearances. And, he is not done yet. This Sunday, he’ll have an opportunity to add to that when Chelsea takes on Wolverhampton. Also, Pulisic has a chance to win a trophy of his own in the FA Cup final. Christian Pulisic will plenty of opportunities to continue to light up our lives.