Kepa Arrizabalaga was excellent in goal while Billy Gilmour was the game changer as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Chelsea were on the back foot to begin with, as Liverpool dominated the proceedings in the early exchanges. However, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock, as Willian put the Blues ahead in the 13th minute, although he also had Adrian to thank for after the Spaniard spilled the ball.
Kepa Arrizabalaga kept Chelsea ahead minutes later and midway through the second half, the win was rounded off by Ross Barkley, who scored a fine long range goal. The result meant Chelsea made it to the FA Cup quarter-finals, joining Arsenal, Sheffield United and Newcastle United. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank Lampard’s men.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 8/10
Back into the side for the first time in seven games, this was Kepa’s chance to prove to Lampard that he still had a lot to offer at Chelsea. The Spaniard did exactly that, making 5 stops over the course of the game, including a tremendous triple save midway through the first half, which meant Chelsea retained their lead.
A huge moment for Kepa, who has struggled quite a bit since the turn of the year. Is a turnaround on the cards for the Spaniard?
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Azpilicueta was poor to begin with, struggling one-on-one against Divock Origi. However, his job became a lot easier once Chelsea took the lead. For the final 75 minutes or so, the Chelsea captain was fairly comfortable and negated the threat of Origi completely. Did not make a great deal of impact with the ball at his feet, keeping things simple by linking up with Willian in front of him.
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
Back into the side after being dropped against Bournemouth, Rudiger recovered from an early error to come through unscathed during the game. Had a lot of work to do in the first half, but his job became easier post the break, as Liverpool struggled to put the Chelsea defence under pressure.
Kurt Zouma: 7/10
Like Rudiger, Zouma was making a comeback, but nearly messed things up in the initial moments of the game. However, once he found his feet, there was little troubling the French defender, with the solid front put up by Billy Gilmour ahead of him helping him a great deal.
Marcos Alonso: 7/10
Playing in a back four does not always suit Alonso and it showed early on, as the Spaniard struggled to keep a check on Sadio Mane. However, this was a rather solid showing overall by Alonso, who, as always, posed a constant threat down the left flank. Came perilously close to scoring for a second consecutive game, with his free-kick just inches away from finding the back of the net.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
As is the case usually with Kovacic, he was solid in the middle of the park, guiding young Billy Gilmour through the initial tricky period. Looked to move Chelsea forward at pace and was doing his job rather efficiently before being forced off the pitch due to an injury just before half-time. A concerning situation for Lampard.
Billy Gilmour: 9/10
Making a rare start, Gilmour made quite an impression, controlling the flow of the game superbly. When Chelsea were without the ball, Gilmour, along with his fellow midfielders, contained their Liverpool counterparts with elan.
The teenager also created one chance and looked to pick up the more risky passes in order to release the forwards at pace. Some impressive things on display by the young Gilmour, and with Kovacic now out injured, coupled with Jorginho’s suspension in the Premier League, he could well be in action once again this weekend.
Billy Gilmour’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
77% pass accuracy
37 passes completed
2 aerial duels
1 chance created
Just 18-years-old. 💎 pic.twitter.com/wmop3R202o
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 3, 2020
Ross Barkley: 8/10
Another player who was back in the side, Barkley looked purposeful right form the get-go and put in a big shift off the ball. When in possession, he could be frustrating with his decision making, but the Englishman then helped kill the game off with a peach of a strike from range. Will probably be utilised more in the next couple of weeks due to the roster issues Lampard has at hand.
Hugely lucky for his goal, Willian was first gifted the ball by the dreadful Fabinho before seeing his powerful shot being spilled by Adrian. Continued to remain a bundle of energy thereafter, but like Kovacic, he had to go off injured, piling on the woes for Lampard. A punch in the gut right when he was starting to look good.
Olivier Giroud: 8/10
Giroud might not have a goal to show for his efforts, but the Frenchman made the job a whole lot easy for Chelsea against Liverpool. Picking on Joe Gomez, the veteran striker held the ball well and brought his teammates into the game. Giroud even had Virgil van Dijk’s number at times and was within inches of grabbing a goal for himself. A solid effort.
This was a game in which the Pedro of old came to the fore with vengeance. Contained by Neco Williams early on, the Spaniard slowly grew into the game and tormented the young full-back all game long. As always, he could always be counted on to put in the hard yards defensively. Did not score a goal himself, but was always at hand to leave the Liverpool defender back-pedaling. Superb.
Mason Mount: 7/10
On for the injured Kovacic, Mount continued from where the Croat left off and indulged in a relentless pursuit to create openings for the Chelsea attack. Nearly scored a third for Chelsea when his curling free-kick smashed the crossbar.
With Willian injured, Jorginho was brought on, releasing Mount upfront. The Italian international’s presence helped Gilmour provide a more solid front, which meant Liverpool were shut out completely for the latter stages of the game.
Reece James: N/A
A late introduction, James helped see the game out.