Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea handed Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool a fifth straight home defeat at Anfield – something that has not happened to Liverpool since the club was formed in 1892. A solid, well-coached Chelsea side came out of the gates strong against an out of form Liverpool and scored just before the half. The spectacular solo effort from Mason Mount was enough to win the game for the visitors who spent the rest of the game defending Liverpool’s front three – who slowly ran out of ideas to break down Chelsea as the game went on.
Klopp’s high line came under immense pressure during the first 45 minutes. Within 25 minutes, Chelsea’s Timo Werner had broken through the Kabak-Fabinho pairing for two clear chances. The first should have been converted by the out-of-form striker – the second chance was, however VAR ruled out the goal with Werner’s armpit judged offside. The home team picked up the tempo after a dominant half an hour by Chelsea, despite Mane, Firminiho and Salah looking dangerous – there were no clear chances for Liverpool’s front three.
Just before the break, Kante played a ball over Liverpool’s high line in a rapid counter attack to find Mason Mount on the wing. Mount, Arjen Robben-esque, cut in from the wing and buried the ball in the bottom-right corner with a powerful curved shot. Alisson, at full stretch, was never going to reach it. Liverpool’s high-line, which had been threatened numerous times during the first half, had been broken by the in-form Englishman. Perfect timing for Mason Mount – putting on a show for England manager Gareth Southgate who now has a tough decision regarding England’s no.10’s.
Jurgen Klopp must have had some strong words for the men in red who came out swinging after the break. Although Liverpool’s possession and pressure were futile against a well-organized, solid Chelsea defence. Tuchel’s new defensive tactics looked to have rejuvenated a previously shaky Chelsea defence with a back three of Antonio Rudiger, Cezar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen playing admirably.
Klopp made a big decision to take off the star-man Mohamed Salah at just 60 minutes – in a double swap Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Diego Jota came on for Salah and Curtis jones. A decision that Salah was visibly upset with as he stormed off the pitch and onto the bench.
As Liverpool’s confidence and creativity drained, Chelsea’s counter attacking tactics looked to punish the home team. They almost did – Timo Werner’s eager runs were starting to pay off and the German looked dangerous, his best chance came in a one-on-one with Allison who made a strong diving save in the 76th minute.
As the final five minutes rolled around, Klopp’s Liverpool ramped up the pressure to another level. The reds were starting to look dangerous with Firminiho firing a low-driven cross through four Chelsea defenders to find an unready Andrew Robertson – who scuffed his shot on goal.
After three minutes added time, the final whistle blew and despite a final push from Klopp’s men, Liverpool had failed to unlock a sturdy, well-made Chelsea defence.
This was an important fixture in the battle for the top four – both United and Leicester dropped points in their last games. This victory puts Chelsea, for now, in the top four one point above Everton while the reigning champions sit in seventh place – four points below Chelsea.