CLG vs Team Liquid
Team Liquid vs. Counter Logic Gaming sounds like an absolute shellacking and yet it might end up being a lot more competitive than any of us could've ever imagined coming into the second half of 2021. And that, in short, is possible only because of the fact that Team Liquid seem to have regressed without any apparent reason.
Moreover, they've been struggling behind the scenes as well, which obviously resulted in Alphari getting benched. Now, swapping your players out at the first sign of trouble is rarely a good sign. The fact that it's Alphari we're talking about makes this whole thing all the more bizarre. He's the best top laner in the West and was undeniably one of Liquid's most potent catalysts back in Spring. Now sure, he did deteriorate performance-wise over the last couple of months, but he's still a spectacular player in every which way. Why Liquid have decided to go down this route is anyone's guess at this point, but they probably didn't do it lightly.
Counter Logic Gaming, on the other hand, looked pretty darn good last split once Broxah was able to get his visa approved, although they were by no means spectacular or anything. Most of us thought they'd enter the second half of 2021 swinging for the fences, but if their first game was anything to go by they're still the de facto bottom-tier dwellers, and that probably isn't going to change any time soon.
In the end, we're going to side with Team Liquid on this one although we're doing so with quite a lot of doubt and hesitation. They're better across the board, but that doesn't mean much if they can't get on the same page and execute as a unit. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how well they'll acclimate with Jenkins in the top lane.