There is no clearer proof N’Golo Kante has shaken off the injuries that hampered him during the close of last season and the start of this one than the goal he scored against Liverpool.
Typically, no sooner had he excelled in the defensive third of the pitch as Sunday afternoon’s game at Stamford Bridge entered its final quarter, he was then making an eye-catching impact at the other end with a goal of extraordinary self-enterprise and clean-striking of the ball.
Sadly that was only to halve the deficit against our opponents who were on course to maintain their 100 per cent start to the Premier League campaign. Chelsea could not find the net again so lost 2-1.
Kante had excelled in the UEFA Super Cup match against Liverpool in our second match of the season but then after the domestic game that followed he was out for five weeks while his injuries were overcome.
After his return this weekend, with characteristic modesty he did not want to talk in detail about his goal but he did look at the bigger picture.
‘It was good to come back,’ Kante said. ‘I was happy to come back in front of our fans and for this big game. I am disappointed by the result but I am happy to be back to help the team to try to win.
‘We tried our best during the game and we are disappointed by the result. With the two set-pieces they scored they put us in difficulty but had some good chances. As soon as they scored to make it 2-0, we went in the changing room believing all together that we can do it and as soon as I scored, we had the chance to come back into the game but we were not able to get the result we wanted.'
Looking at the free-kicks that put the Reds in the ascendency, Kante makes a distinction between the two goals.
‘The first one was a beautiful goal but the second one we maybe could do better but at the end, we played well, we tried to come back but the set-pieces meant Liverpool won.
‘We played very well in the second half. We were able to score one but not to equalise, but there were some good points in the performance and we need to take those points on to have a good result in the next game. If we keep working this way we can get a win in our next game.’
That next outing is at home to League Two Grimsby Town on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup where Kante and his colleague will be aiming for a first home win of the season. In the Premier League we face Brighton at home on Saturday. We are currently one of six teams in mid-table with eight points from six games.
‘It is not a great start, we have work to do,’ Kante admits. ‘We are not where we want to be but we can fight and change this in the next games.’
Read: N'Golo Kante on FIFA FIFPRO shortlist - team to be announced today