Date published: Sunday 20th September 2020 6:23
Liverpool kept up their 100% start to the new season by defeating title challengers Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Two of the favourites for the Premier League title met in just their second game of the season in an early test of either side’s credentials.
But it was the current champions who asserted their authority, claiming a shutout win in London.
There were no places in the Liverpool squad for Joe Gomez or Joel Matip, so Fabinho had to drop into the centre-back position.
New signing Thiago Alcantara started on the bench, with Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum forming Liverpool’s midfield three.
Chelsea also left some of their new signings out, with Marcos Alonso starting at left-back instead of Ben Chilwell. Thiago Silva was not in the squad either.
There was a nervous moment for under pressure Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 13th minute when he was caught off his line. However, Andreas Christensen made a crucial interception to cut out Mohamed Salah’s square pass that could have given Roberto Firmino a tap in.
Timo Werner had Chelsea’s first major chance when digging out a shot that went narrowly wide of Alisson’s post just beyond the half-hour mark.
Christensen nearly found himself in trouble when hauling down Sadio Mane, who was running through on goal after a great through ball from Jordan Henderson.
The referee gave a yellow card at first, but after watching a replay thanks to VAR, upgraded it to a red card.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s resulting free kick sailed wide.
Thiago debuts in second half
Christensen’s red card forced Chelsea into a half-time change, as Fikayo Tomori replaced Kai Havertz.
But it was Liverpool’s change at the break that was the most eye-catching, as new recruit Thiago Alcantara came on for his debut in place of Henderson.
Liverpool found the breakthrough less than five minutes after half-time, when Sadio Mane headed Roberto Firmino’s cross into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Mane doubled the advantage moments later when intercepting a lazy pass out from Kepa, before cutting the ball across the line.
Mason Mount kept Liverpool awake when firing a shot just over the bar from distance in the 67th minute.
Chelsea then received a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit when Liverpool new boy Thiago clipped Werner in the penalty area.
However, Alisson was equal to Jorginho’s effort from the spot, producing a smart save to his left to keep his clean sheet in tact.
Thiago had a chance to make amends for giving away the penalty when the ball fell to him outside the box in the last 10 minutes, but his effort went wide.
Georginio Wijnaldum came inches away from latching onto a rebound from a Salah shot deep into stoppage time, but it was the last action.
Liverpool maintain their 100% start and condemn Chelsea to their first defeat of the season.