Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool: Hits and Flops as the Blues defeat the Reds to secure quarter-final spot | FA Cup 2019-20
- A look at five hits and flops as Chelsea sealed their FA Cup quarter-final place by inflicting Liverpool's third defeat in four games.
Goals from Willian and Ross Barkley were enough for Frank Lampard's Chelsea to book their place in this season's FA Cup quarter-finals at Liverpool's expense during an enthralling encounter in west London.
Willian netted his first goal of 2020 in rather bizarre fashion, firing goalwards with venom before watching Adrian parry it into the bottom corner after 13 minutes. The Reds' second-choice goalkeeper made good saves to deny both the Brazilian and fellow scorer Barkley shortly but had a bemused look across his face at his defenders' insufficient protection - as it was a costly mistake which accelerated a frenetic first-half.
Liverpool had ample chances to equalise and more, with Divock Origi and Sadio Mane in particular coming close. Kepa Arrizabalaga, making his first appearance since their 2-2 draw with Arsenal on January 21, was a man inspired between the posts - especially after pulling off a brilliant triple-save during a goalmouth scramble.
Despite renewed pressure after the interval, Chelsea ultimately made their chance creation pay. Barkley made a marauding run from his own half to double the Blues' lead after 64 minutes, adding a welcome two-goal cushion for a side who kept just three clean sheets in their last 15 matches before this encounter.
The result means Jurgen Klopp's men, 22 points clear of their closest Premier League rivals, have now lost three of their last four games across all competitions. For context, they have only been defeated on five occasions so far this season. Without further ado, here's a look at five hits and flops from a memorable watch at Stamford Bridge:
#5 Flop: Neco Williams
Having started all previous three FA Cup fixtures, 18-year-old right-back Neco Williams again featured against Chelsea in Klopp's rotated team - mixing youth with experience.
Unfortunately for the Wales under-19 international, the Blues proved a step too far in terms of his progression towards the Reds' first-team picture. It's not that he didn't fit in or stood out like a sore thumb on this occasion, at least not during the early exchanges. If not for his last-ditch recovery defending, Liverpool would have been 3-0 down after 30-odd minutes.
He made a superb challenge to deny Pedro as he shaped to shoot in the area, before committing another crucial interception - clearing Willian's delivery to safety with an unmarked Olivier Giroud lurking behind him, ready to pounce.
However, his creativity levels were underwhelming throughout and it's worrying to see from a side that benefit largely from width - Robertson and Alexander-Arnold - to be struggling in that area. He lost possession a game-high 30 times, completed none of his three dribble attempts and delivered 10 crosses with no success. Although his defensive awareness was commendable, there's plenty of work still to be done before he features more regularly.