Chelsea’s top four hopes were given a major boost tonight after the Blues secured a hugely impressive 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield.
Thomas Tuchel has clearly introduced a possession-based approach at Chelsea since taking over from club legend Frank Lampard, and right from the off, it became evident that the German coach was not about to change his ideals just because he was visiting the home of the champions.
Time and time again during the opening exchanges the Blues would impressively play around and through Liverpool’s fabled high-press with a confidence and accuracy that few sides manage to execute at Anfield. Chelsea’s possession was far from sterile though, with Timo Werner – selected ahead of Olivier Giroud as the central striker – looking a constant menace with his pace in behind the Reds high defensive line.
On 24 minutes Tuchel’s decision to start his countryman Werner looked a masterstroke when the German attacker beat Alisson to a ball over the top before poking into the empty net. However, VAR would step in and adjudge that the £52 million man was offside by an armpit hair and the goal was disallowed.
Chelsea would however take the lead for real on 42 minutes, through academy graduate Mason Mount. The young England international latching onto N’Golo Kante’s long-range ball behind the home sides defence, before cutting inside from the left and firing expertly into the bottom corner.
Liverpool upped their intensity levels after the break and began to dominate possession, although Jurgen Klopp’s side once again seemed somewhat devoid of ideas once they reached the final third as Chelsea comfortably held on for a deserved victory.
The victory sees the Blues move up into the top four, a point ahead of fifth-place Everton and four clear of opponents Liverpool who drop to seventh. Speaking afterwards Chelsea boss Tuchel was understandably delighted with his side’s performance.
“We played with courage, had excellent moments with the ball, had moments we needed to suffer Never lost the attitude and desire and a deserved win and big performance,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.
“It was a very good team performance. They ask you a lot of questions and we need to have the answers.
“Everyone was very brave and everyone was sharp. It is a six-point game because the others lose. The race is on, there are still 11 games to go. We go step by step. We can never rest and never celebrate, there is no time.”
Next up for Chelsea is a home clash against top-four rivals Everton next Monday.