It required a bit of patience and nerve, but Liverpool got the job done with a 2-0 win over their toughest remaining challenge: Chelsea.
Liverpool played well in the first half but failed to create any clear-cut chances, bar a scuffed volley from Mohamed Salah. But all that changed in the second, as the Reds went up a gear and blew Chelsea away. Two goals in 2 minutes sealed the deal, with a Sadio Mané header and a Salah wonder strike giving Liverpool the victory.Embed from Getty Images
A few tense minutes followed the goals as Eden Hazard came close to goal a few times, but Liverpool slowed things down and saw out an important vicroty to take them back on top of the Premier League.
Every Liverpool player put in a proper shift today but how did they rank?
Didn’t have much to do really, but did come up with a good save to deny Hazard from pulling one back.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8
Had a few worrying moments after Hazard moved to his flank, but apart from that he had a great game. Did well defensively and caused Chelsea some serious problems with his passing.
Joël Matip: 8.5
Didn’t give Hazard any time and space when he was playing up front while also making some crucial tackles and interceptions.
Virgil van Dijk: 8.5
Just like Matip, van Dijk didn’t allow Chelsea’s attackers much of anything. Dominated both on the ground and in the air just as he normally does. A typically van Dijk performance.
Andy Robertson: 8.5
Again an ever-present in both attack and defence, he provided a constant outlet on the left as he and Mané caused some serious problems in the first half.
What a monster! Fabinho was everywhere today. Seemingly winning every 50/50, gathering every loose ball, getting his foot to everything and also making some amazing challenges on Hazard early in the game. Every time Chelsea looked to start an attack, Fabinho was there to end it.
Jordan Henderson: 9.5
The game that surely has silenced all his critics — when Liverpool needed him most, the captain delivered with a man-of-the-match performance. Today was the perfect game to emphasize that Henderson’s future lies in the “8” role. He controlled the game, worked his socks off and was crucial at both ends of the pitch, including a superb assist for the opener. A true captain’s performance from Liverpool skipper.
Naby Keïta: 8
Many were surprised to see Keïta’s name on the team sheet, as Jürgen Klopp historically has his preferred midfield for big games — the Guinean did not disappoint. Keïta’s off-ball work has been a major talking point, and today we saw him do his best work yet out of possession. Along with linking the midfield and attack wonderfully, Keïta was always tracking back, following his man and all-round putting in a shift at both ends. He finally seems to be getting to grips with what is needed of him..
Mohamed Salah: 9
What a goal. Always caused problems for the opposition left-back and was a constant threat in front of the net, but his wonderful performance won’t be mentioned much due to his wordie. A goal out of the top drawer that secured the win and allow Liverpool to stay in the race, all while giving his haters something to chew on.
Sadio Mané: 8.5
Just like Salah, Mané caused massive problems on the flank and looked dangerous in front of goal. All this good work was rewarded with the opening goal to get Liverpool off the mark in the second half.
Roberto Firmino: 9.5
Firmino never stopped working, never stopped pressing, always looked to put Chelsea defenders under pressure and made a number of tackles when tracking back. Firmino is the man that makes Liverpool tick and today was a perfect example of that. Arguably Liverpool’s most important player.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7
Came on in the 66th minute for Keïta to slow things down when the game was getting too hectic and did exactly that. Gave Liverpool a grip on the game when it seemed like it was just slipping away.
James Milner: 6.5
Came on for Jordan Henderson in the 77th minute due to a knock. Didn’t do anything of note but was solid enough in seeing the game out.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A
Came on with minutes remaining to make his first appearance since February 24 against Manchester United.