10-man Chelsea were dominated by Liverpool, who were helped by a first red card for Andreas Christensen and a Kepa Arrizabalaga howler in the second half, as Sadio Mane’s brace gave the reds all three points.
The line-up remained largely unchanged from the victory at Brighton, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek making way for Kovacic. A classic 4-3-3 was deployed, with Mount playing on the left, Havertz on the right and Werner through the middle, meaning Callum Hudson-Odoi had to settle for a place on the bench yet again.
Chelsea(4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; James, Christensen (sent off), Zouma, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho (Barkley), Kovacic (Abraham), Mount, Werner, Havertz (Tomori)
Liverpool(4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, van Djik, Robertson, Keita (Milner), Henderson (Thiago), Wjinaldum, Mane, Firmino (Minamino), Salah
Both teams were fairly even for the majority of the first half. Liverpool had the better chances, but Chelsea looked like they were going to capitalise on the pace of Werner and Havertz during counter attacks. It was a pragmatic approach from Lampard and that completely reflected throughout the game. Chelsea only had 36.6% possession and only 3 shots on target to Liverpool’s 6. The game changed when Andreas Christensen made a tackle on Sadio Mane, who was through on goal and rightfully got sent off after a lengthy VAR check.
Fikayo Tomori was subbed on in the second half at the expense of Kai Havertz, who had a fairly decent game but didn’t look spectacular. Tomori then formed part of the defence which kept the Liverpool attackers quiet for around 10 minutes and not long after that, Firmino put in a delicious cross, which Marcos Alonso could’ve done a lot better to prevent and Sadio Mane scored with a brilliant header.
Not long after that, Kepa made a horrible error while trying to clear the ball and it went right to Mane who didn’t make any mistake to get his second of the game. Timo Werner did win a penalty later on in the game which Jorginho missed, his first penalty miss in a Chelsea shirt and it summed up a very frustrating night for the blues.
Liverpool kept attacking the goal even after that, with their new signing Thiago making a good first impression on his Premier League debut, but the Chelsea defenders managed to keep them quiet. Fikayo Tomori in particular, looked impressive after he came on. Barkley and Abraham were called on from the bench in the 79th minute, but didn’t have much of an impact on the game as it was too late.
Overall, this wasn’t an ideal evening for any Chelsea fan, but it did serve as a reminder of how far off we are in terms of closing the gap on Liverpool, who were by far the better team and rightfully won the game. Also, taking in consideration the fact that key players like Pulisic, Chilwell, Ziyech and Thiago Silva are yet to play a game and with new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy arriving soon, this team is bound to improve over the course of the season.