Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
Premier League, Stamford Bridge
20 September 2020
Goals: Mane 50′, 54′
Sent-off: Christensen 45′
Alisson (out of 10) – 8
Alisson hasn’t quite been at his dominant best of late, but this was a productive afternoon for him.
He showed good judgment in allowing a Timo Werner shot to drift narrowly wide in the first half, and his distribution was reliable overall.
The Brazilian then saved Jorginho’s penalty after the break, at a time when things could have got sticky for the visitors. His first penalty save for the Reds.
Alexander-Arnold is a wonderfully gifted technical footballer and his talent was on show on Sunday.
Caught out a few times at the back, but that’s going to happen when you’re such an attack-minded full-back and not yet fully up to match speed.
Fabinho – 9
He started superbly, twice defending well up against the dangerous Werner and looking assured at the heart of the defence, and never looked back.
On this evidence, he is a strong centre-back option, showing what an intelligent, versatile player he is.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
The Reds’ Mr Ever-Present was again a key man at Stamford Bridge, marshalling the troops with trademark aplomb.
Fabinho was the better of the two, simply because Werner peeled onto him so often, but the Dutchman was faultless throughout.
Virtually a spectator with each passing minute.
Andy Robertson – 8
Robertson was arguably just the more noticeable of Liverpool’s full-backs, proving to be typically strong in everything he did.
He defended well when required, used the ball efficiently and provided attacking thrust, often making decoy runs to create space.
Became particularly involved in the second half, endlessly linking up with Mane.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Henderson was rusty and below par against Leeds, having been rushed back after his injury, but he was excellent this time around, prior to leaving the field at half-time with a thigh problem.
The skipper was the most prominent member of the Reds’ midfield, constantly receiving the ball on the half-turn, pinging it wide and playing a key role in Andreas Christensen’s red card, playing a majestic through-ball to Mane.
The hope is that his injury isn’t too serious.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Wijnaldum is often criticised for quiet away performances, and while he was perfectly effective on Sunday there were times when you were left wanting more.
The 29-year-old kept things safe in possession when he could have been a little more forward-thinking, but his positional sense and defensive work could not be questioned.
Given more freedom after the interval and was more lively, almost scoring in the dying seconds.
Naby Keita – 6
We are still waiting for the full-throttle Keita to fully emerge, but he was a key cog in the machine for Liverpool.
Like Wijnaldum, he was more solid than spectacular, but he was never rushed on the ball and he helped the midfield comfortably outperform Chelsea‘s.
He looks nicely in-tune with Liverpool’s system now, though.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Salah was electrifying in his last outing and he was looking for similar success in west London.
The Egyptian King was hungry from minute one, but it never quite happened for him in comparison to Mane, who stole his limelight.
He kept trying to wreak havoc, however, and played a key part in Mane’s opener, playing a neat one-two with Roberto Firmino.
Denied late on, as he desperately searched for his 100th goal in England.
Sadio Mane – 9 (Man of the Match)
If Mane was quiet against Leeds, he was Liverpool’s hero in what was a big early-season win for his side.
The Senegalese won the foul that saw Christensen sent off, headed home expertly to open the scoring, and pressed Kepa Arrizabalaga to grab the second.
Rhys James stuck doggedly at his job up against Mane, but his head must be spinning this evening. Liverpool’s No.10 was relentless.
Roberto Firmino – 6
Firmino isn’t quite at his best at the moment, still feeling his way into the campaign. His silky touch evaded him too often and he was guilty of showboating on one occasion.
He still laid on an assist for Mane, though, proving that he can still be a key man even on an off day, and worked his socks off.
Thiago (on for Henderson, ’46) – 7
No mucking around, the Spaniard made a swift debut at Stamford Bridge. He looked supremely balanced from the moment he took to the pitch, running the show from the No.6 position and always looking for the ball.
Gave away the penalty, but we can forgive him for that.
James Milner (on for Keita, 64′) – 6
Did his job. Typical Milner.
Takumi Minamino (on for Firmino, 86′) – n/a
No time to make an impact.
Subs not used: Adrian, Tsimikas, Jones, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 9
In what was a major early test for his side, Klopp came through proceedings with flying colours.
His decision to play Fabinho at centre-back paid off handsomely and the rest of his selections were spot on.
Klopp masterminded a measured performance of champions and a win never felt in doubt, even at 0-0 when it was 11 vs. 11 before half-time.
Seeing him give Thiago a warm hug prior to the midfielder’s introduction was a highlight.