Premier League 2019/20, Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool: 5 Hits and Flops
Liverpool continued their 100% start to the Premier League campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. First-half strikes from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino ensured Jurgen Klopp's men earned all three points against Frank Lampard's side, despite N'Golo Kante's second-half stunner prompting a frantic finish.
To their credit, the hosts rallied hard after their woes were compounded minutes after VAR correctly ruled out Cesar Azpilicueta's equaliser as Mason Mount was offside in the build-up. Firmino headed home to double the visitors' lead after some lax set-piece marking but there was a significant response in the second-half.
Adrian was called into action, thwarting Tammy Abraham from close-range while remaining alert with Chelsea's counter-attacking threat a problem as they searched for a way back into proceedings. An unlikely source created their breakthrough, as the returning Kante let fly on the edge of the area with a strike the Spaniard could simply do nothing about.
Mount and second-half substitute Michy Batshuayi both came close late on, though the Reds survived a nervy finish to prevail with a narrow but important victory which re-opens a five-point gap between themselves and defending champions Manchester City, who were victorious in style on Saturday.
The result means Chelsea succumb to their second successive defeat in a week, after a narrow home defeat by Valencia - an unwelcome start to the Champions League group stages. In addition, they remain without a home win under Lampard in the 2019/20 campaign, at a stage where patience and empathy are being stressed for unforgiving fans.
Here's an extended look at five hits and flops during a memorable evening's action in west London but first, two honourable mentions that didn't feature in this list:
In his third successive start, the 21-year-old was given the unenviable task of defending up against a Liverpool frontline who are among the world's best in their respective positions.
More pressingly, he faced Mohamed Salah down the left-hand side of Lampard's four-man backline and excelled - even on a booking for 70 minutes here. Winning eight of ten duels over 90 minutes, he completed four tackles, two clearances, an interception, dribble and key pass too.
Marshalling the Egyptian forward brilliantly, he looked assured in possession (80% completion rate) and performances like these will quickly endear him to Chelsea supporters, who would have tracked his progress under Lampard at Derby last season.
Not at fault for either Liverpool goals, Andreas Christensen committed the foul which led to Alexander-Arnold's opener while he and substitute Marcos Alonso were punished for lax marking inside the box for Firmino's strike.
A more convincing alternative to Christensen and favoured over an error-prone Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger's groin injury means he's likely to remain first-choice going forward. A showing like this against the league leaders will boost his confidence as he continues learning valuable experience under a boss who has justified belief in his capabilities.
After a forgettable evening in Naples on Tuesday night, Andy Robertson recovered to deliver a decent but unspectacular display against Chelsea here. Following a strenuous week, that was precisely what he needed to boost his confidence levels back up. Exposed for playing through a minor knock when he really shouldn't have, the 25-year-old received vitriol from fans on social media and temporarily deleted his Twitter account.
But he returned to his usual steady standard on this occasion. It was his excellent inswinging delivery from a quick-thinking free-kick which gifted Firmino a golden opportunity to double the visitors' lead before half-time and unmarked, the Brazilian couldn't miss from close-range.
His second successive league assist this term, the Scotland international will hope for more to come in the weeks ahead as they face Sheffield United, Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - combined with two more Champions League ties - before the month of November.
A lot is said about the creative qualities both he and Alexander-Arnold possess, but he worked hard defensively too and it was a much improved display from the vulnerable one seen against Napoli. He buzzed around and did his utmost to keep Willian at bay down his side, with six clearances, four interceptions, four of seven duels won, two dribbles and a tackle to boot.
Onto the next slide, where the top 5 list begins...