Jose Mourinho had previously suggested that the side that faced Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League would look markedly different from the one that had faced Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg last week, and he was true to his word.
But few would have suspected a first senior start for 20-year-old Czech defender Tomas Kalas in what was still a vital game for the Blues' derailed but not destroyed title charge.
What was perhaps even more surprising was the ease with which Kalas slotted into Chelsea's back-line, excelling despite an onslaught from the hosts and current league leaders.
As you can see from the Opta stats below, Kalas made nine effective clearances against Liverpool, along with three effective headed clearances. He also won two interceptions and had 18 touches of the ball during his 90 minutes on the pitch.
|Effective Clearance||Effective Head Clearance||Interception Won||Touches||Mins|
In short, Kalas did exactly what Mourinho would have asked of him, and it is testament to the young player's mentality that he stepped into a vital position for a huge game and looked like a natural.
But what did the fans make of Kalas's performance? We took to Twitter after the game to gauge the reaction, and you can read a selection of what we found below:
Tomas Kalas is my man of the match!— Folabomi (@Folabz_) April 27, 2014
This kid tomas kalas is playing like john terry at only 20 years old— aldo piedra (@WheresAldo_) April 27, 2014
Tomas Kalas is quality— thumbyy (@ryanhurst69) April 27, 2014
TOMAS KALAS have played very very well for his 1st game— portion (@DTEFLON1) April 27, 2014
Tomas Kalas? More like Tomas CLASS, AM I RIGHT LADS?— Adam Young (@AdamYoungg) April 27, 2014
Tomas Kalas is having a superb game, looking a great talent!— Calum Galley (@MrGalley7) April 27, 2014
Tomas kalas has been terrific, take a bow son— Rain™ (@Naz4Rain) April 27, 2014
This tomas kalas looks like a damn good centre half— Ross Maher (@derker_bum) April 27, 2014