Liverpool battled their way to a 2-1 win at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, as the Reds made it six wins from six to begin the season – and 15 league wins in a row overall, a new club record.
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League, Stamford Bridge
September 22, 2019
Goals: Alexander-Arnold 14′, Firmino 30′; Kante 71′
Adrian (out of 10) – 8
The Spaniard faced his biggest game yet for Liverpool and he passed with flying colours.
He raced from goal to thwart the goal-bound Tammy Abraham and also showed good handling, despite one slight first-half fumble.
Growing in confidence all the time and looking much better in possession.
Alexander-Arnold started despite some expecting Joe Gomez to come into the side, and he shone.
The right-back put the Reds in front with a superb effort from a free-kick, with echoes of hero Steven Gerrard about his strike.
He was also dogged in his defensive work all afternoon up against the tricky Mason Mount, but did get a little erratic late on.
Joel Matip – 9 (Man of the Match)
Matip’s inclusion was no surprise after an immaculate run of form and he was yet again was a formidable presence at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
He dealt well with Abraham, who was dangerous, and enjoyed the odd trademark foray into Chelsea‘s half, using the ball well.
In the final minutes, Matip earned his Man of the Match award, winning endless headers and holding the defence together more than Virgil van Dijk.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Van Dijk made an uncharacteristic mistake at Napoli in midweek, but he was much improved against the Blues.
Barking instructions and organising throughout, the Dutchman impressed, showing physical strength and positional sense in abundance.
He did play Mount onside in stoppage time, though, and wasn’t quite as imperious as he can be.
Andy Robertson – 6
Robertson was back to full fitness after looking short of it in Naples, but he was one of Liverpool’s less effective players.
The Scot was more solid than spectacular, and although he defended well in general, he epitomised some of the Reds’ second-half sloppiness.
He got the assist for Roberto Firmino‘s goal, crossing well for the Brazilian to head home, and made a brilliant last-gasp burst forward, winning a free-kick to essentially seal the victory.
Fabinho – 8
Fabinho has been earning rave reviews all week and he showcased his brilliance in west London.
The 25-year-old was colossal both in and out of possession, spraying crisp passes and biting into tackles, while a driving run proved key in Sadio Mane winning the free-kick for the opener.
He was poor for N’Golo Kante’s goal, however, not getting to the midfielder quickly enough, which robs him of the Man of the Match prize.
Jordan Henderson – 8
The skipper started to the right of Liverpool’s midfield three, as is the norm, and it was an excellent showing from him.
He harassed the life out of Chelsea‘s players, doing so much unnoticed good work and showing good game management.
One criticism would be a lack of top quality with his final ball, with a few chances to play in teammates coming to nothing, but he was a big reason for the win.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Wijnaldum came back in for James Milner, and his performance was more about efficiency than eye-catching midfield magic.
That’s what the Dutchman does so well, though, and he was a key cog in the machine, knitting things together in unruffled fashion.
Moved to left-wing for the final quarter – one shot was so wayward it’s on its way back to Merseyside!
Mohamed Salah – 5
Salah returned to his former club looking for his first goal back at Stamford Bridge, but he was his side’s worst player.
The Egyptian King’s touch evaded him numerous times and he struggled to get involved – it became problematic as Chelsea began to dominate.
There was still some good thrown in, with one effort diverted wide for a corner, but he can do far better.
Sadio Mane – 6
Mane was searching for his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool, and although it didn’t arrive, he was always busy.
Like Salah, he will produce far better displays this season, but he worked Chelsea‘s defence and won the free-kick for the opener.
Some frustratingly heavy touches and pieces of play allowed Chelsea to build momentum.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Firmino has been the Reds’ star man so far this season, so it was no surprise to see him contribute on Sunday.
He got sloppy as the minutes ticked by, though, like so many, but his work-rate remained exceptional right up until the final whistle.
Firmino has been involved in 17 goals in his last 21 Premier League appearances (11 goals, six assists).
James Milner (on for Mane, 72′) – 6
Failed to stop Chelsea‘s dominance, giving away a needless foul. Off the pace, like in midweek.
Adam Lallana (on for Henderson, 83′) – N/A
Not on the pitch for long enough, but looked slow and lacking match practice. A couple of fresh air kicks.
Joe Gomez (on for Salah, 90′) – N/A
Only on the pitch for stoppage time.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Brewster
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Some of the football on show in the first half, and the way Liverpool bossed the opening 45 minutes, summed up the job he has done in transforming the Reds.
He will be annoyed by the sloppy second half, however, for which he deserves to take some blame, and Adam Lallana‘s introduction was baffling.
The winning mentality Klopp has instilled was a major reason for Liverpool’s biggest win of 2019/20 yet, though.