Jordan Henderson scored a sensational goal as Liverpool inflicted the first defeat of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea reign with a 2-1 Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge.
A dominant first-half performance from Liverpool was capped by Henderson picking out the top-right corner with a stunning, looping effort from 25 yards in the 36th minute, which ultimately proved enough to end Conte’s unbeaten start in his sixth match at the helm.
The Reds had already taken the lead when Dejan Lovren took advantage of slack Chelsea marking to convert from a Philippe Coutinho cross, the pair returning to the starting line-up with Lucas Leiva and Roberto Firmino, who suffered a groin strain, making way after the impressive 4-1 win over champions Leicester City last time out.
An error from Gary Cahill preceded Henderson’s wonder-strike, and Conte will have been disappointed to see his defence prove vulnerable with David Luiz making his second Chelsea debut following his deadline-day move back from Paris Saint-Germain in place of John Terry.
Diego Costa earned the Blues a point away at Swansea City last weekend and he initiated another comeback attempt with his sixth goal in as many Premier League appearances with 29 minutes remaining.
However, this time there was to be no late equaliser, with Liverpool seeing out the win to join Chelsea on 10 points from five league games.
Matches between these sides often prove feisty affairs and there was a sign of that again within eight minutes when Branislav Ivanovic appeared to tread on the foot of Adam Lallana after conceding a free-kick for a foul on the midfielder.
Liverpool controlled possession and Chelsea appeared happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, but they were caught out by a quick free-kick in the 17th minute.
Coutinho took the initiative before curling an excellent cross to the back post for an unmarked Lovren to side-foot home on the volley.
Chelsea were unable to engineer a response, Costa finding himself isolated and rarely involved, and they were two behind before half-time.
Cahill’s attempted clearance was controlled by Henderson, who took one touch before sending a phenomenal bending strike beyond goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at full-stretch.
The tempo was slow after the restart but the game burst back into life when Costa halved the deficit for the hosts in the 61st minute.
Joel Matip dived in and failed to stop Nemanja Matic reaching the byline, where he dug out a pass which the Spain international striker fired into the back of the net.
Chelsea were galvanised and four minutes later a knock-down from Oscar was controlled by Costa on the edge of the box, but his shot on the spin was straight at Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.
That new-found energy quickly fizzled out, though, and Liverpool looked dangerous on the counter-attack, Courtois getting down to his left to keep out a header from substitute Divock Origi in the 81st minute.
A trio of Chelsea substitutions in the 84th minute were unable to inspire an equaliser, Cesc Fabregas hitting the wall with a 20-yard free-kick as the Reds secured their second successive top-flight win at the Bridge, as Conte lost a home fixture as a club head coach for the first time January 2013 when in charge of Juventus.
Key Opta Stats:
– Liverpool have won five of their last nine Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge having won only one of their first 16 trips there.
– Antonio Conte lost his first home league game as a manager since January 2013, ending a run of 30 games without defeat.
– Since Jurgen Klopp took charge of his first game, Liverpool have scored 15 Premier League goals from outside the box, five more than any other side in that time.
– Diego Costa has been involved in at least one goal in every game he’s played so far in the Premier League this season (five goals, one assist).
– Dejan Lovren ended a run of 64 games without a Premier League goal, last netting for Southampton against Sunderland in January 2014.
– Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last seven home Premier League games against Liverpool, last doing so in October 2009.
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