Jürgen Klopp’s side put on a footballing masterclass as the defending Premier League champions breezed past a lifeless Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. Liverpool controlled the game from start to finish in the capital, with Alisson called into action only on a handful of occasions.
It was the perfect introduction to life in the Premier League for new signing Thiago Alcântara, who showed his prowess and composure during his impressive 45-minute display.
After a shaky showing against Leeds, it was a return to the norm for the Reds with a solid backline a clear standout in the performance. The composed manner in which Liverpool took apart Frank Lampard’s side will excite many fans, with every player contributing something positive in this imperious display.
Klopp made one change from the side who defeated Leeds 4-3 at Anfield last weekend. With Joe Gomez (minor knock) and his backup Joël Matip (minor muscle problem) both suffering injuries during the week, Fabinho stepped up at centre back to partner Virgil van Dijk.
Here are the winners and losers from the game:
FabinhoEmbed from Getty Images
Absolutely outstanding. After being thrown in at centre back at short notice, the Brazilian put in a performance that any defender would be proud of. At no point did not look out of place, at times most would have mistaken him for van Dijk, he was that impressive. With previous defensive experience in the Brazilian national team and for the Reds a couple of years ago, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that he dominated everyone and everything.
His main battle was against long time Liverpool transfer target, Timo Werner. His pace was a major strength that Chelsea were looking to exploit during his duel with Fabinho. It is safe to say that everything the German tried was fruitless as he was bullied by the former AS Monaco player all afternoon. The Brazilian won every tackle and anticipated everything the Chelsea striker attempted to do.
It is a relief to know that with injuries to any of the Reds defenders, Fabinho can seamlessly slot in and fill the void with ease. He continues to put in impressive performances that are now starting to come consistently once again. The 26-year-old is close to returning to the lofty form he has held through the vast majority of his Anfield career, with all Liverpool fans hoping it continues for the foreseeable future.
Sadio ManéEmbed from Getty Images
What superlatives do we have left to describe this man? Once again, he was absolutely phenomenal. All the major positive incidents for the Reds during the game went through the Senegal international. Reece James and Andreas Christensen are both relieved that they only had to endure the 28-year-old for as long as they did, as he ran them into the ground.
The key moment in the game came at the end of the first half, as Mané caught Christensen on his heels, going clean through on goal after a wonderful ball from Jordan Henderson. The Danish international proceeded to rugby tackle the winger to the ground denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. The subsequent red card was a game changer for Sadio, as the space he would be afforded in the second half would dramatically change the outlook of the contest.
This space afforded by James proved detrimental for Chelsea, as Mane struck twice in the space of five minutes to kill off the London sides challenge. The first was a stunning team move between Liverpool’s prolific front three, ending with a clinical header from the former Southampton man. His second, taking advantage of a casual Kepa Arrizabalaga, blocking a clearance from the Spanish goalkeeper and coolly finishing into a gaping goal.
The winger has been at Anfield since the start of this Liverpool rebuild and has been an imperative part of every stage on his way to becoming a world class player. Like this game, he will be called upon on several occasions during the season to provide the Reds with a piece of quality to gain valuable wins. It is fair to say most Liverpool fans, have full confidence in him being able to come up with the goods whenever required.
AlissonEmbed from Getty Images
The Brazilian generally had a quite game, being called into action on limited occasions. However, it was these occasions that have landed him as a winner. The efficient manner in which he took control of every situation he was called upon once again shows his quality. At no point was Alisson in trouble as everything he did was judged to perfection leaving nothing for opposition players to pounce upon.
His main contribution to the game was his penalty save from Jorginho. After Thiago brought Timo Werner down in the box, the Italian stepped up to give Chelsea an avenue back into the game. However, he was denied by the former Roma man, casually diving to his left to grasp the ball away from the corner.
It was a showing of composure from the 27-year-old with his ever dependent distribution highlighting his quality once again. With a fully fit and in form Alisson, the sky is the limit for the Reds, with another golden glove possibly arriving on Merseyside in the near future.
No-one after a performance like that.
It was a display that epitomised what Jürgen Klopp was looking to achieve when he walked through the door at Anfield. It was dominance reminiscent of the Liverpool teams from the 80’s that Chelsea couldn’t contend with.
Hopefully, Liverpool can continue on this path and produce many more showings like this throughout the season.
Never miss a thing
Get all of our content sent straight to your inbox — free of charge.