Liverpool maintained their 100% record in the Premier League after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
It was Jurgen Klopp’s men who started the game the brighter and took the lead after 14 minutes through a well worked free-kick. Liverpool had the ball on the edge of the Chelsea box, Salah rolled the under his foot to create a better angle before Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped a brilliant strike into the corner of Arrizabalaga’s net.
Tammy Abraham had a glorious chance saved when the game was still only 1-0, Andreas Christensen played a defence splitting pass for the striker to run onto and with only the keeper to beat the young forward couldn’t find the net. Lampard’s men then thought they had found the equaliser through captain Cesar Azpilicueta but the goal was ruled out by VAR for an offside in the build up.
Just minutes later Liverpool had doubled their advantage after poor marking from another free kick left Roberto Firmino alone in the box and he buried his header with confidence.
After the break Chelsea were the dominant force as Liverpool looked a little leggy. Klopp’s men made more errors than usual and the home side eventually made them pay. N’golo Kante went on a great run, side stepping a couple of Liverpool players before curling the ball out of Adrian’s reach and into the top corner of the Spaniard’s goal.
Kepa had to produce a brilliant save to deny Firmino a second, but it was Chelsea who looked the more likely to get a late goal. Chances for Mason Mount and Michy Batshuayi in the last 15 minutes will leave Chelsea fans wondering what if, but there were plenty of positives to take away for this young side.
Let’s see what we learned…
Liverpool’s winning streak continues
Liverpool’s win in the late kick-off on Sunday made it six wins from six Premier League games for Jurgen Klopp’s European champions. Their perfect start to the new season carries on the Merseyside club’s winning streak towards the back end of the 2018/19 campaign, meaning Liverpool have now won 15 top-flight games in a row.
Victory today ensures that Klopp’s side stay 5 points ahead of Manchester City at this early stage, despite Pep Guardiola’s men thrashing Watford 8-0 yesterday. Liverpool have now scored 42 goals in their 15 match game winning streak and have hit the back of the net at least twice in all of those games.
Such imperious form in front of goal means sides have to score at least three times to have a chance of claiming all three points and with the likes of Virgil Van Dijk protecting the Liverpool net that prospect is very unlikely. The early signs are ominous for the rest of the division, as the eighteen time title winners look determined to go one better in the league than last time out. Since April 2017 Liverpool have now played 61 games in which they have scored first. Out of those games the Reds have won 52 and drawn nine. Klopp appears to have found the perfect balance throughout his side and City must be fearful of the threat they pose.
Liverpool have played in more Champions League finals in the last 18 months than they have had Premier League defeats ? pic.twitter.com/hH10Kyn1NT
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 22, 2019
Chelsea can’t win at home
Frank Lampard’s men are still yet to claim three points at Stamford Bridge this season. Chelsea played well in the second half of today’s fixture and were the better team in the last 45, constantly putting Liverpool under pressure and scoring a great goal through the effervescent Kante.
The damage was already done in the first period however, and their poor defending, especially for the second goal, once again let them down. The Europa League champions have already failed to beat Sheffield United and Leicester in West London this season, and although losing to Liverpool by one goal is nothing to be ashamed of these days, it will still disappoint Lampard.
Chelsea now sit 11th in the table after the weekend’s results, not a position they would have desired to be in at this stage in the season. The fans at the Bridge would have been encouraged by several aspects of their team’s performance though and on another day they could have snatched a point.
If Lampard can get Antonio Rudiger back fit to compliment the impressive Tomori and Christensen, to shore up his side’s leaky defence then there is no reason why they can’t climb the table. Chelsea will always score goals with the way their former midfield maestro sets his team up, they just need to find a way of keeping them out at the other end.
If Lampard is going to secure a top four finish and attain Champions League football then he is going to need to amend Chelsea’s poor early season home form.
Eight points from six games and a negative goal difference clearly isn’t a great start to the Lampard era, but Chelsea can take heart from the fact that none of Arsenal/Spurs/United have pulled away.
Next ‘big six’ opponent is City on November 23 #cfc
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) September 22, 2019
Both sides have only kept one clean sheet between them so far this season, so it was no surprise to see a few goals and both teams finding the back of the net. Chelsea found the oul onion bag five times last week against Wolves and recorded a further three away from home at Norwich a couple of weeks before.
Whilst Liverpool hit four on the opening day at Anfield and netted three against Newcastle and Arsenal since then. Goals then were always going to be on the cards at Stamford Bridge and the game didn’t disappoint. The score could have been even higher as both sides had good chances saved or the victim of poor finishing.
With the terrifying front three Liverpool possess and the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Willian on offer for the Blues you always sensed the game may hinge on whose defence copes best. The battle was ultimately won by Van Dijk and his merry men, with Chelsea failing to deal with a Liverpool free kick that found Firmino free in the box, and the Brazilian converted his header in typical fashion.
⚽️ N’Golo Kante ends Chelsea’s run of 11 PL goals this season scored by English players – with his 1st shot on target since his previous goal, v Burnley on April 22
He has scored 5 goals from 7 shots on target in PL since the start of last season pic.twitter.com/RXabmGhpVM
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 22, 2019
Abraham fluffs his lines
Tammy Abraham has won many plaudits recently for his goal scoring exploits and rightly so. The 21 year-old Englishman scored seven goals in three games prior to today’s result. Nevertheless, there are still question marks about the young strikers ability to produce the same sort of match winning moments against the biggest and best sides in the Premier League.
Abraham’s goals have come against Sheffield United, Norwich and Wolves this season. With all respect to those sides none of them are in the top six or competing for trophies. Chelsea have played two top six rivals so far this season in Manchester United and now Liverpool.
On the first day of the season, where Chelsea lost 4-0 at Old Trafford, Abraham was bullied by Harry Maguire before being substituted just after the hour mark for Olivier Giroud. Today the former Aston Villa loanee had a guilt edged chance saved by Adrian when through one-on-one against the stand-in keeper. In big games against top level opposition strikers may only get one chance all game and it is vital that they take them, that is what separates very good strikers and very good teams from world-class strikers and world-class teams.
Abraham runs the risk of being placed in the same bracket as Romelu Lukaku, not in terms of their style of play but in terms of the games in which they score their goals. The former Chelsea and United front-man would score the vast majority of his goals against opponents outside of the top six and draw a blank in the bigger games. Abraham is still only 21 and deserves to be given more time and opportunities to do it against the big boys, but he will have to step up sooner rather than later in order to convince Lampard that he is the man to keep hold of the number 9 shirt.
Firmino the star man
The brilliant Brazilian scored his third goal of the season in his ninth game, to go with his tally of five assists in all competitions. That’s eight goal contributions in nine games for Firmino and that doesn’t even do his importance to this Liverpool side justice.
He has become an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s side and arguably the least replaceable piece of the famed front three. There are not many, if any, other strikers in the world who would be prepared or able to do the job that Firmino carries out for the team. His unselfishness and work-rate is second to none and pivotal to the way the former Dortmund coach sets out his Liverpool side.
Firmino drops deep between the lines, either dragging a centre-back with him and creating space in behind for Mane and Salah to attack, or finds himself in space with which he has the talent and skill to exploit. Many Liverpool fans may worry about an injury to their prolific wide men as that is where most of the goals come from, but it is in fact Firmino who they should be concerned about. Origi or Shaqiri can come on and do the same job as Mane or Salah, albeit to a much lesser extent, but there is nobody who can replicate what Firmino does for the team.