Second half strikes from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah condemned Chelsea to a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Chelsea were under the cosh to get a positive result, after Tottenham and Manchester United had won their matches at the weekend, but did not make the best of starts as Liverpool controlled the proceedings for most parts early on. Mohamed Salah had the best chance of the first period for Liverpool, but fired his effort straight at Kepa, while Sadio Mane missed narrowly as well.
Chelsea did threaten on the counter, with Eden Hazard drawing a save from Reds’ keeper Alisson from a tight angle, whereas Willian fired an effort wide after leading a dangerous break. Post the half-time break, Liverpool came out with more purpose and just six minutes in, they were ahead as Mane headed home a Jordan Henderson cross.
Two minutes later Salah made it 2-0 for the hosts with a spectacular effort from distance that left Kepa with absolutely no chance. Chelsea reacted well to going down as Hazard almost struck back immediately after, only to see his effort bounce off the upright. The Belgian was thwarted by Alisson soon after, as Liverpool took the sting out of the game to hold on for a victory.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 14, 2019
The defeat means Maurizio Sarri’s side are in the fourth place in the Premier League table, just a point above Manchester United in fifth, having played a game more and three above sixth-placed Arsenal, who could usurp the fourth spot should they beat Watford on Monday night. Here’s how we rated the performances of Chelsea stars at Anfield this weekend;
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
The Spaniard made a couple of decent stops in the first period, but there was very little he could do about Liverpool’s goals in the second period, especially for Salah’s strike, for which he had absolutely no chance. Distributed well from the back.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 4.5/10
Not the assured and solid performance that the Chelsea fans have grown accustomed to from their captain. Was constantly troubled by the pace and movement of Mane and ended up getting booked in the first half for bringing the Senegalese down. Guilty of leaving him completely unmarked for the first goal.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5/10
Started off very strongly, keeping a lid on the dangerous Roberto Firmino. His day came to a premature end though, as a knee injury forced him off in the 40th minute. His absence hurt Chelsea in the second half.
David Luiz: 6/10
The Brazilian had a couple of difficult moments when he was beaten by Salah’s pace but stayed solid and composed at the back. Made a crucial block to deny Jordan Henderson’s thunderous strike, while his distribution from the back was on point as well, with a particular long-ball to set Willian on his way standing out. Not a lot he could have done to prevent Liverpool’s goals after the break.
Emerson Palmieri: 4/10
Back into the starting lineup in place of Marcos Alonso, the full-back had a forgettable outing. Tormented by Salah all game long, Emerson lost the Egyptian leading to a chance in the first period, was beaten easily by him in the buildup to Mane’s goal and couldn’t get anywhere near the former Chelsea man for the second.
N’Golo Kante: 6.5/10
A good performance in the middle from the diminutive Frenchman, but lacked the support from his fellow midfielders. Was his industrious self as he ran across the park breaking up attacks, building attacks. Was often the bridge between the two halves of the field for Chelsea and had a late header saved by Alisson.
Having shown signs of his best form in the past couple of outings, Jorginho failed to stamp his authority on the game on Sunday. Created precious little on the evening, as his passing wasn’t always as accurate as it can be, while he did not offer enough on the defensive side. Should have done better to close Henderson down in the lead-up to Mane’s goal.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6/10
The academy graduate, back into the team in place of Mateo Kovacic, had a solid first half, where he often drove at the opposition from the middle but lacked that final ball. Looked confident and eager to get on the ball, but faded after the break and was taken off for Barkley.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 4/10
The Chelsea youngster cut an isolated figure for most of his time on the field. Up against Andrew Robertson, he had very little success on the day and remained on the periphery of the game, until being subbed off ten minutes into the second half. A difficult outing for Hudson-Odoi.
Eden Hazard: 6.5/10
Starting in a false-nine role, the Belgian was, as expected, Chelsea’s most potent attacking threat. Looked lively and forced a stop from Alisson in the first period. Became more active after shifting to his usual spot on the left in the second half, but could not make the most of the two chances that came his way, striking the woodwork once, before being denied by the Liverpool goalie.
Provided Chelsea a outlet on the break in the first half, but should have taken his chance after being sent through by Luiz. Was direct in his approach and set Hazard up for a chance, but could not carve out a way back into the game for his side.
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
Came on for the injured Rudiger a little before half-time. Slotted in well and was not culpable for Liverpool’s goals.
Gonzalo Higuain: 4/10
Replaced Hudson-Odoi ten minutes into the second half. His introduction allowed Hazard to move to the left, which was a positive, but the Argentine continued to look off pace and made no impact whatsoever once again.
Ross Barkley: 5/10
Thrown on in place of Loftus-Cheek for the final fifteen minutes. Did little of note.