By Lewis Rooke – @LV_Rooke
The race for the Premier League title has rocketed into top gear after Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield, courtesy of goals from Sadio Mané and an absolute worldie by Mohamed Salah.
The build up to the game was all about whether the Reds can avenge the infamous ‘slip’ game of 2014, and Jurgen Klopp’s men certainly went a long way to doing that.
Here’s how the lads rated…
Alisson: 8 – Clean sheet. Did his job. Boss.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7 – I won’t lie, my defensively analytical brain completely fell off in the five minutes after Mohamed Salah blasted in from absolutely nowhere – so these defender ratings are likely to be well off. You can blame Mo for that one. Thought in an attacking sense, Trent did terrific up that right hand side – however defensively Eden Hazard didn’t half have some joy down his side. Anyone bothered though? No, not me.
Joel Matip: 8 – Another one I was too dazed to take full notice of, did rattle the dangerous Hazard once or twice though. He’s done alright deputising for Gomez, hasn’t he?
Virgil van Dijk: 8.5 – The most unflappable player I’ve ever seen. In the heat of that battle when Hazard looked threatening, many would panic and give away ground. Not Virg though. Player of the season. Technically registered an assist too.
Andy Robertson: 8 – Had some horrendous deja vu with that slip with Liverpool 2-0 up, luckily this time absolutely nothing came of it. Again, I was too busy picking my head up off the floor to notice how he played. Looked sound though.
Naby Keita: 8 – Looks rejuvenated since he notched his first goal against Southampton and is thoroughly deserving of his place in the team. A superb platform for next season to build even more.
Fabinho: 8 – Tackles absolutely everything doesn’t he. Seemed to swallow every loose ball up in midfield and was useful in possession too.
Jordan Henderson: 9 – What a changed man he is. Absolutely fantastic work to tee up Sadio Mané who nodded home – once again proving this more advanced role is suiting the Englishman down to the ground. Sad to see him go off injured but he absolutely ran the game in the middle of the park.
Sadio Mané: 9.5 – Went close just before the break after being set up by Mohamed Salah but couldn’t quite find the target. Did get his well deserved goal after some terrific work by the transformed Jordan Henderson. Almost did what Maurizio Sarri couldn’t do and nearly had Kepa off and capitalised by scoring but couldn’t quite keep it in play. Azpilicueta will be having nightmares about the Senegalese’s heels tonight.
Roberto Firmino: 9 – Worked relentlessly up top which is so typical of Firmino’s game and tested Kepa’s gloves quite a few times throughout. Selfless and technical, the Brazilian was fantastic this afternoon.
Mohamed Salah: 10 – Don’t care about the rest of his performance. I swear to all the gods, I pissed my pants when that shot went in from absolutely nowhere. But for how sweet a connection the Egyptian hit the ball, I will happily embrace my new found warmth. Went close in the first five minutes with a tough volley while he was open in the box. After the goal he looked liked a man possessed and Chelsea looked utterly terrified whenever he received the ball. Man of the match.
Gini Wijnaldum: 7 – Poor lad’s lost his place in the team despite doing sod all wrong. Love Gini, but couldn’t care less as long as Naby and Hendo keep running the midfield for fun.
James Milner: N.A – Calm as you like.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A – Better bringing him on than Iago Aspas.