A second-half brace from Sadio Mane consigned 10-man Chelsea to a disappointing defeat at home to Liverpool in the second round of fixtures in the 2020-21 Premier League season.
The Senegalese international grabbed both goals in the space of four minutes early in the second half against the 10 men of Chelsea, who had had Andreas Christensen sent off just before the break.
The Dane’s sending off had been the biggest incident of a fairly uneventful first half at Stamford Bridge, with neither side really creating much of an opening. However, the game sprang to life soon after play resumed in the second half, with Mane heading home Roberto Firmino’s cross with 50 minutes played.
A terrible mistake from under-fire Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga then gifted Mane his second as the Spaniard played his pass out from the back straight at Mane, who slotted home from six yards out.
The game devolved into an attack-versus-defence drill from then on, until Liverpool new boy Thiago offered Chelsea a way back into the match by bringing down Timo Werner in the box. However, Jorginho picked an inopportune moment to miss his first Chelsea penalty, preserving Liverpool’s clean sheet and ensuring that they conceded the three points to Liverpool.
Here are the 5 talking points from Liverpool’s win in the first ‘big six’ clash of the 2020-21 season.
#1. Spotlight on Chelsea’s defence
Despite finishing in the Champions League places last season and adding a number of stars to their squad ahead of the start of the new season, Chelsea seem to be plagued by the same defensive issues that affected them last season.
Although they have added Thiago Silva to their ranks, reverting to a back four instead of a back three that brought them some success at the end of last season, seems to be leaving the Chelsea back-line vulnerable. Additionally, the poor form of Kepa behind them makes for further cause for concern for the Blues.
Although Brighton were unable to take full advantage of this weakness, Liverpool were much more ruthless and Frank Lampard will be looking for ways to address this worrisome issue going forward.
#2. First look at Thiago
The first few matchdays of the Premier League offer clubs the chance to test out and show off their new signings, and this game was Liverpool’s opportunity to hand Thiago Alcantara his debut in English football.
Having recently joined from Bayern Munich, the Spaniard came on at half time to replace Jordan Henderson and slotted into the Liverpool midfield seamlessly, spraying the ball about with trademark ease and elegance.
Although he blotted his copybook by upending Timo Werner in the penalty area and conceding a penalty late on, it was a largely encouraging display from the excellent midfielder.