Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Chelsea grind down the Champions at Anfield, bouncing back into the Premier League’s top four.
The standout of the midweek fixtures saw a rejuvenated Chelsea side travel to Anfield, as the Blues they took on the current Champions of England, Liverpool. With both sides currently sitting outside the top four, a win for either team would have proved to be enough to lift themselves back amongst the race for Champions League football next season.
Liverpool had won their previous 4 Premier League games against Chelsea, losing just 1 of their last 12 league meetings against the London club.
However, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been entirely out of sorts in recent weeks, losing their last 4 Premier League home games – scoring just once in the process.
The Reds were also more than aware that they had their work cut out against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, with the visitors accomplishing 7 clean sheets in their last 9 games under the German.
The Reds were boosted by the return of both Alisson and Fabinho, who were the only 2 changes to the starting eleven that was victorious in Sheffield on Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel opted with making 3 changes to his Chelsea side, with Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner starting in place of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mateo Kovačić and Olivier Giroud.
It was inevitable that Werner’s pace would cause the Liverpool defence problems, which is exactly what Ben Chilwell looked to ignite as he played an encouraging ball forward to the German early on in the game.
Werner did brilliantly to control the ball, before immediately looking to test Alisson with a quickfire effort – which instead sailed over the crossbar.
On the 15th minute, Werner was involved once again as Chelsea’s skipper César Azpilicueta lofted a ball over his head and into the penalty area, in what was a chance created in the most unorthodox fashion.
The move was anticipated by the German who managed to quickly improvise and get on a toe to the ball, but failed to make enough contact to beat Liverpool’s Brazilian shot stopper.
Chelsea remained in control for the opening 25 minutes, and even had the ball in the back of the net by Timo Werner – which was later ruled offside by VAR.
Just minutes later, Liverpool saw their first real chance of the game, as Mohammed Salah played a pass over the top to an onside Sadio Mané who had the ball all but on a plate.
The Senegalese international looked destine to score, however failed to make any clear contact with the ball as the chance went begging.
Tuchel’s side later turned it up a gear, with midfielders Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech involved in attempts on goal, with Chelsea looking to break the deadlock.
After creating a variety of chances, the Blues were eventually rewarded on the 42nd minute, as Chelsea grabbed what was a critically important goal at Anfield.
The Blues move once again stemmed from a long ball, as N’Golo Kanté picked out a drifting Mason Mount on the left-hand side of the pitch. Mount then got the better of Fabinho for pace, as he burst into the penalty area before shooting across goal and beating Alisson to the bottom corner.
It has to be said it was a well-deserved goal for Tuchel’s Chelsea, who took control and capitalised in the first 45 minutes.
Following their recent spell of bad results, Liverpool needed a response against what was a well organised Chelsea side.
The Reds began the second half with a flurry of crosses into a compact Chelsea penalty area which was flooded with blue shirts. Roberto Firmino appealed for a penalty on the 48th minute as his cross struck the arm of N’Golo Kanté – however VAR reviewed the situation and supported the decision made by referee Martin Atkinson.
The first 10 minutes of the second period was dominated by the hosts, who saw a huge chunk of possession within the Chelsea half.
This however allowed for Chelsea to counterattack, as they came close on the 53rd through both Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech.
Through space on the left-hand side, Ben Chilwell moved the Blues forward, before seeing his shot on goal denied by Alisson from a tight angle. The rebound was then gobbled up by Hakim Ziyech, who saw his shot cleared off the line by Red’s defender Andrew Robertson.
Desperately needing a goal, Liverpool was forced into lumping crosses into Chelsea’s penalty area – which were defended each and every time by a Blues defence led by Andreas Christensen.
Chelsea sat back for the majority of the second half, yet still posed a serious threat going forward.
On the 76th minute, Mason Mount threaded a pass through to the mobile Timo Werner – who once again saw his effort saved by Alisson.
As the game unfolded, Liverpool continued to saturate the Chelsea penalty area with a combination of crosses – yet struggled to break down the visitors.
The Blues did fantastically to secure all 3 points at Anfield, securing their 8th clean sheet in their last 10 games.
After the whistle:
Despite last season fulfilling the dreams of Liverpool fans across the world, the current campaign has been riddled with injuries and tough runs of form – which has ultimately cost the Reds in their attempt to regain the title.
The defeat against Chelsea marks the 5th consecutive home defeat for Liverpool in the Premier League, with the Reds failing to score a goal from open play in any of those games.
If Liverpool are to play Champions League football next season, they will have their end losing streak at home sooner rather than later. On Sunday, Klopp’s side will hope to do exactly that as Fulham make the trip north to Anfield.
On the other hand, it is hard to criticise what was a superb Chelsea performance, who managed to come on top of a hard-fought clash in Merseyside. The Blues did excellently to continue to unbeaten run under Thomas Tuchel, who have secured clean sheets in their last 3 games against Atlético Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool.
The London club are currently enduring a great run of form, of which they will hope to continue on Monday night against fellow top four contenders Everton. The Blues will be up against former boss Carlo Ancelotti, who will be hoping to prove a point against his former club.
Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea.
- Mount (42’).
BBC Sports player of the match:
Andreas Christensen (Chelsea).
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago (80’), Wijnaldum, Jones (62’); Salah (62’), Firmino, Mané.
- Subs: Jota (62’), Oxlade-Chamberlain (62’), Milner (80’).
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta ©, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Jorginho, Kanté, Chilwell; Mount (81’), Ziyech (66’), Werner (90+1).
- Subs: Pulisic (66’), Kovačić (81’), Havertz (90+1).
Liverpool (54%) vs Chelsea (46%).
Liverpool (7) vs Chelsea (11).
Shots on target:
Liverpool (1) vs Chelsea (5).
Liverpool (5) vs Chelsea (2).
Liverpool (9) vs Chelsea (8).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | Sky Sports Football).