The build-up was all about Romelu Lukaku, but the actual football on display quickly made everyone forget about the manchild of a striker.
Lukaku was left out of the squad that faced Liverpool due to previous unprofessional comments he made on Sky Sports Interview.
Sadio Mané was fortunate not to be sent off after leaving a well-placed forearm in César Azpilicueta’s face while contesting a high ball near the touchline, and the visitors’ good fortune continued when Christian Pulisic missed a gift of a chance in the 7th minute. When presented with a similar gift a few minutes later, Mané made no such mistake.
Sadio Mané’s booking after 15 seconds against Chelsea is the earliest recorded in a Premier League game since the start of the 2006-07 season (when we have exact times).
Sadio Mané has scored more away goals at Stamford Bridge than any other Premier League player since the start of last season, and he is also the first Liverpool player to score in consecutive league games away from Chelsea.
Even after the goal, Chelsea had the better of the play and possession, but did not pose a significant threat to Liverpool. When they did, Marcos Alonso chose a spectacular volley over a simple pass to a wide open Kai Havertz, much to Thomas Tuchel’s chagrin.
Mo Salah took advantage of some sloppy defending on Chelsea’s left side and expertly finished beyond Mendy high at the near post, exacerbating the frustration.
Mohamed Salah has four Premier League goals against Chelsea, which is the joint-most of any player who has played for them in the competition, along with Kevin De Bruyne.
This is Mohamed Salah’s fifth consecutive Premier League season in which he has been directly involved in 25+ goals (16 goals, nine assists) – only Thierry Henry has had a longer such run in the competition (7 from 1999-2000 to 2005-06).
Chelsea could have easily crumbled at that point, even though they were only halfway through the half. Instead, we staged a ferocious comeback, scoring twice in the final few minutes of the half, one on a spectacular volley from Kovai and the other on a great finish from Pulisic after a Kanté throughball.
Mateo Kovacic had more touches (105), carries (20), successful take-ons (4/4) and tackles (6) against Liverpool than any other Chelsea player.
Following Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Manchester United in November 1997, this is only the second Premier League game between two teams starting the day in the top four to see both teams score two or more goals in the first half.
Chelsea started the second half on the front foot as well, but it was Liverpool who threatened on counters on numerous occasions. For the Blues, Alonso and Pulisic saw good chances go begging, while Mendy made a fantastic save on a cheeky Salah effort.
Liverpool then began to control possession more as the half progressed, but were actually less threatening as a result. Both teams made adjustments, and it became clear that the next goal would be the game-winner.
Chelsea had the better of the late play, but were unable to find the winning goal despite all attacks.
Fortunately, neither was Liverpool…
Liverpool, still has a game in hand, is now a point behind Chelsea in second place and 11 points behind League Leaders Manchester City, who won controversially at Arsenal on Saturday, January 1, 2022.