Friday night football offered plenty of entertainment at Stamford Bridge with Liverpool grabbing a huge 2-1 win over Chelsea, who suffered their first defeat in the 2016-17 season.
First-half goals from Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson propelled the Reds to victory at Stamford Bridge for a second season running, putting an end to Chelsea’s five-match streak without a loss.
Diego Costa pulled one back for the Blues but it ultimately proved insufficient to get back in the game.
Here are the five things we learned from Liverpool’s victory at Stamford Bridge:
Poor defending at both ends
Having already submitted their Premier League title bids at the beginning of the season, Chelsea and Liverpool will need to make significant improvement at the back in order to keep their seasons alive.
Despite the exciting attack-oriented football, defensive deficiencies have once again been highlighted through poor clearances, wasteful movement and terrible awareness that was on display in crucial moments of the game at both ends of the pitch.
Chelsea did it on two occasions, firstly with four players standing absolutely alone doing nothing prior to Coutinho’s cross towards Dejan Lovren, who comfortably tapped it in having beaten the offside trap. Gary Cahill added insult to injury with his poor clearance as he stood alone on his heels in the box prior to passing the ball to Jordan Henderson’ whose strike was simply unreachable for Thibaut Courtois.
Liverpool had their share of defensive errors on Friday night, with Matip’s poor movement to cover Nemanja Matic prior Diego Costa’s goal highlighting the need for improvement in defensive department.
No passion vs Burning passion
Chelsea boss spoke about passion during his pre-match press conference, but unfortunately, his team showed little to no passion during their Friday’s encounter against Klopp’s Reds.
Liverpool have been more clinical, direct in their movement towards goals and with more dedication to work it out against the Blues. They ran, they pressed, they switched places and positions using their erratic movement to put pressure on often confused Chelsea defenders.
Blues lacked cutting edge Antonio Conte is so desperate to install in his team. Contrary to Chelsea’s empathetic showings, Jurgen Klopp’s team displayed shrewd possession play and thought-through actions that were a joy to watch at most times.
Passion is all Jurgen Klopp’s team is about and Chelsea will have had a big lesson to learn from their rivals at Stamford Bridge on Friday night.
Liverpool best against big teams
It all started with their 4-0 win against Barcelona.
Albeit a friendly game it was another demonstration of Liverpool’s ability to defeat the best teams in the world. Much like the last season’s Premier League opening scenario, Liverpool headed into the new campaign with a string of away matches that have been deemed as crucial for the entire season.
Liverpool ended up winning four of five Premier League games outside their home which will have provided huge morale boost for the team. Having beaten Arsenal at Emirates, the Reds did lose to Burton, but still managed to remain unbeaten at Tottenham and now grab all three points at Stamford Bridge, inflicting Antonio Conte his first home defeat in last 30 league matches.
It is fair to say that Jurgen Klopp’s side have become somewhat a big-game specialists.
Klopp was right – Costa is a world-class striker
His on-pitch antics aside, Chelsea have a proper striking machine in Diego Costa.
Brazil-born Spanish international has had a quiet game against Liverpool, but his presence on the pitch proved vital despite his team’s loss.
Chelsea were unable to feed their forward for the majority of the game, with Diego Costa making only two touches with the ball in the first half.
Chelsea striker was completely cut out but still showed world-class character and awareness by scoring the only goal for Blues in his first shot on target.
Costa has scored 74 league goals over last five season and is currently leading the scoring charts with five Premier League goals, while he also had a hand in six goals for Chelsea as well which is just another confirmation of his huge influence on Chelsea’s play.
Henderson a clear 10
A lot of people questioned whether captain Jordan Henderson will find his place in Liverpool’s team this season, having seen that Jurgen Klopp has made plenty of reinforcement in the midfield area.
England international never questioned himself though as he worked hard as always to earn the chance to shut down critics with stunning performances early in the season.
One such was on display at Stamford Bridge on Friday as Henderson put in a Man of the Match appearance for the Reds. His perfect record of 100% take-ons, 35 completed passes and 4 interceptions was rounded off by a stunning goal, which proved to be a winning goal in the end.
Liverpool captain deserves plaudits for his commanding performance and excellent character that have gotten him the captain’s armband in the first place.
CHELSEA: Courtois 6 – Ivanovic 5.5, Cahill 5.5, Luiz 6, Azpilicueta 6 – Kante 6 – Willian 6.5 (Moses -), Oscar 6.5 (Pedro -), Matic 6 (Fabregas -), Hazard 7 – Costa 7
Unused subs: Aina, Alonso, Batshuayi, Begovic.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet 6.5 – Clyne 6.5, Matip 7, Lovren 8, Milner 8 – Lallana 7, Henderson 8, Wijnaldum 6.5 (Stewart 6) – Mane 6, Sturridge 6.5 (Origi 6), Coutinho 7.5 (Lucas 6)
Unused subs: Ejaria, Grujic, Karius, Moreno.
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson