Liverpool reclaimed the top spot in the Premier League table from Manchester City, courtesy of a 2-0 victory against Chelsea on Sunday.
Liverpool started the contest on the front foot and could have broken the deadlock early on, but Mohamed Salah’s mishit volley, after being found by Sadio Mane, was straight at Chelsea stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Senegalese international was then fed in by the former Chelsea man, but his effort missed narrowly.
Chelsea had also had their moments and looked threatening when they broke at pace. Eden Hazard drew a save from Alisson Becker from a tight angle, while Willian fired wide from a decent position, as stalemate ensued. Liverpool started the second half with more intently and it reaped instant rewards as Jordan Henderson played in a peach of a cross for Mane to head it in for 1-0.
Two minutes later Liverpool were two goals up for the good, as Salah scored one of the contenders for the goal of the season. Controlling a long-ball from Virgil van Dijk beautifully, the Egyptian cut inside from the right side, before unleashing an exquisite strike from 25 yards out that ended up nestling in the top corner.
Chelsea threatened a comeback, with Hazard hitting the woodwork and then forcing Alisson into a save in quick succession. But, Liverpool held firm to keep their two-goal lead intact and clinch a massive victory at home, that saw them move back into the Premier League summit, after having been replaced by Manchester City earlier in the day.
GET IN, REDS! 🔴🔴
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 14, 2019
Here is how we rated the performances of the Liverpool stars on the evening;
Alisson Becker: 7/10
The Brazilian wasn’t tested a great deal by Chelsea on the night, but was alert when needed to be as seen by his save against Eden Hazard in the first half, which was rather straightforward, before denying the Belgian again after the break. A reliable presence between the sticks for Liverpool.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8/10
One of the youngster’s most accomplished displays of the season. Was given a few troubles by Willian and Hazard later when he switched to the left flank, but stood strong in defence and did little wrong. Was always an outlet going forward, playing in some delectable passes and mouth-watering crosses. Almost scored in the second period, after executing a Cruyff turn and bursting into the box.
Trent Alexander-Arnold v Chelsea
75% Pass accuracy
1 Key pass
1/2 Shots on target
2/3 Dribbles complete
4/5 Tackles won
Liverpool's own Trent Arnold played his heart out today. The Reds needed a big performance and Trent delivered. pic.twitter.com/McxOZ5YLuB
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) April 14, 2019
Joel Matip: 7/10
Returning to the starting lineup in place of Dejan Lovren, the Cameroonian had a few issues dealing with the dangerous Hazard early on. Was turned easily leading to the Belgian’s first attempt on goal in the first period, but stayed calm and composed to deal with the threat that came his way from then on. Enjoying a solid run of form at the moment.
Virgil van Dijk: 7.5/10
Another assured, rock-solid display from the towering Dutchman at the heart of the Liverpool defence. Did not give Hazard a sniff for most of the game and kept things organized at the back even as Chelsea produced a strong reaction to going down. Claimed the assist for Salah’s goal with a precise long-ball.
Back in the side after missing the midweek game due to suspension, the Scotsman put in a typically industrious shift down the left-hand side for Liverpool. Solid defensively going up against Callum Hudson-Odoi and was a willing runner, although he did not have the same influence he usually does in attack. A slip in the second half evoked memories of Steven Gerrard five years ago, but it did not end up being as costly.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
Starting in the advanced role in the midfield once again, the Liverpool captain put in another accomplished display. Had a well-hit effort blocked by David Luiz in the first period, Henderson constantly drove his team forward, linking up well with Salah and Alexander-Arnold in the right channel.
Beautiful interplay with Roberto Firmino and Salah, before setting Mane up with a perfect chipped cross. Withdrawn after picking up a knock later in the game. Led from the front once again.
Showed why he has become such an integral part of the team with another colossal performance in the No.6 role. Fabinho set the tone for the game early on with a strong challenge on Hazard and kept making key interventions throughout to thwart a number of Chelsea counter-attacks. His use of possession too was crisp and sharp, always positive. May not always stand out, but was key to Liverpool’s win.
Naby Keita: 7/10
Preferred over James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum after two goals in two matches, the Guinean put in another hugely positive display against Chelsea. Always wanting to get on the ball and run at the opposition, Keita looked dangerous each time he found pockets of spaces in the final third. Influence faded a bit after the break though, and was withdrawn as Chelsea started to pose a threat.
Mohamed Salah: 9/10
Having been at the receiving end of some very distasteful comments from the Chelsea fans, Salah responded with a masterful performance at Anfield, that ended up denting his former club’s hope of a top-four finish. Failed to connect properly with a volleyed effort in the first half, but was a constant threat, causing all sorts of problems to Emerson Palmieri.
Involved in the buildup to Mane’s goal, before getting himself on the scoresheet with a worldie. The Egyptian is now the joint-highest goalscorer in the Premier League for the season, tied with Sergio Aguero.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
The Brazilian might not have gotten on the scoresheet on Sunday, but he put in a top-class all-round display. Linked up beautifully with his teammates, causing the Chelsea backline problems with his movement and was involved in the lead-up to Mane’s opener. His work-rate off the ball was on another level altogether.
Sadio Mane: 9/10
The Senegalese speedster was all over the usually solid Cesar Azpilicueta, causing him all sorts of troubles with his pace and movement. Saw an effort miss narrowly in the first period, but made no mistake with his back-post header to give Liverpool the lead in the second half. Has been the Reds’ most consistent performer in attack this term and once again stood up when needed.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Replaced Keita a little after the hour mark as Klopp sought more control in midfield and provided just that. Helped out defensively, kept the ball well, ensuring Liverpool saw the game out without any slip-ups.
James Milner: N/A
Solid as usual after replacing Henderson in the 77th minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A
Last-minute substitute for Salah.