Liverpool have to play the waiting game to secure a top four spot after they were suffered a 1-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday

The Reds started the game on the front foot as Roberto Firmino forced Thibaut Courtois into a sharp save just three minutes into the game. Sadio Mane then came close to scoring, only to be denied by Courtois as Liverpool maintained their dominance in the game.

But, it was Chelsea who went on to grab the lead just after the half-hour mark as Olivier Giroud nodded into the far corner from Victor Moses’s deflected cross. Thereafter, the hosts largely concentrated on protecting their lead by sitting back and playing on the counter.

But, Liverpool failed to play at their usually high tempo as Antonio Conte’s men held on to their slender advantage. The Reds are now looking over their shoulders, with Tottenham and Chelsea just 3 and 2 points behind, respectively, with a game in hand over them. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Loris Karius: 7/10

Karius did not have a great deal to do on Sunday with Liverpool dominating much of the proceedings. Whenever the ball did reach his area, he showed a lot of confidence in dealing with the threat, even stopping Eden Hazard in his tracks. He couldn’t have done much about the winner.

Nathaniel Clyne: 5/10

Clyne was a surprise selection on Sunday, which was perhaps a result of Klopp starting Henderson on the bench. While it was a big game on the Englishman’s return trail, he still looks extremely rusty, and was often slow to deal with the threat on his flank. To make matters worse, he made no impact going forward. Still has a long way to go before he can be a regular.

Dejan Lovren: 6/10

Like the rest of the Liverpool defence, Lovren wasn’t asked to do a great deal on Sunday. He defended well for the most part when required and distributed the ball smartly as well. Should have perhaps, done better to stop Giroud from scoring the winner, but it was going to be a losing battle nine times out of ten.

Virgil van Dijk: 6/10

Not his and Liverpool's day. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Not his and Liverpool’s day. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The player who should have rather been marking Giroud, considering his prowess in aerial situations. Other than the moment, van Dijk marshalled the backline well, letting little past him other than a couple of moments when Eden Hazard tested him with his nippy movement.

Andrew Robertson: 6/10

With Liverpool dominating the possession for the most part, Robertson went on several surging runs to create overloads in the final third. But, his crossing was not up to the mark on the day. Was also caught on the backfoot one too many times against the pacy Victor Moses, with one such moment leading to Chelsea’s winner.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5/10

Another game when Alexander-Arnold got the opportunity to showcase his versatility by playing in the midfield. But, the youngster failed to impose himself, with a poor pass rate of 75.6 per cent, with his crosses not reaching their targets either on most occasions. The 19-year-old will see better days in future.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10

With Henderson on the bench, Wijnaldum was deployed in a deeper role by Klopp. The Dutchman kept things tight down the middle and rotated the ball quickly and smartly to keep his side’s dominance intact. Displaying tremendous energy levels despite being right at the business end of a long season.

James Milner: 5.5/10

A poor outing for Milner, who was understandably not at his best as far as energy levels are concerned. An early knock hampered him further, and the veteran was also lucky to escape a booking for a rash challenge on Hazard. Did not impose himself enough whenever on the ball, which deprived the visitors as well.

Mohamed Salah: 4/10

Making a return to Stamford Bridge, much was expected out of Salah. But, the tired Egyptian never got going on the day, with Antonio Rudiger neutralising his threat completely. A forgettable outing was further capped off by a booking for diving. Klopp would be hoping he is saving his best for the Champions League final.

Roberto Firmino: 5/10

Firmino was quick off the blocks on Sunday, testing Thibaut Courtois with a fine effort. But, that was as good as it got for him, as the Brazilian was kept in check by Gary Cahill and N’Golo Kante. His usual work-rate was visible for all to see, the end product was nowhere to be seen.

Sadio Mane: 7/10

The only positive in a poor unit, Mane was the most threatening outlet for Liverpool. The Senegalese made some dangerous, driving runs into the Chelsea box, one of which forced Courtois into a smart save. But, for all his efforts, the Reds just couldn’t get the all important goal(s) on the day.

SUBSTITUTES

Jordan Henderson: 6/10

On for Clyne at the hour mark, the Liverpool captain cut a tired figure, and couldn’t do much to change his side’s fortunes on the day.

Dominic Solanke: 5/10

On for Milner for the final 15 minutes or so, Solanke got two fantastic opportunities to get at least an equaliser, but he couldn’t convert from either of his headers.

Alberto Moreno: N/A

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