Football Features

Every player rated from Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool, as “the best player in the league” surpasses Ronaldo

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:45, 20 September 2020

In an eventful afternoon of football, Liverpool comfortably beat 10-man Chelsea 0-2 at Stamford Bridge.

It was an even contest but Andreas Christensen’s red card conditioned the rest of the game and Sadio Mané settled things to make it four straight league wins over the Blues.

Here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:

Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 2 – Absolutely abysmal. Baffling decision to leave his line led to Christensen getting sent off and his awful pass straight to Mané led to Liverpool’s killer second goal. If you said that Kepa’s time at Chelsea was in fact Timotheé Chalamet working undercover as a goalkeeper as research for an appearance in Escape to Victory II (stylised Escape II Victory, of course), it would be a more plausible explanation than Chelsea turning one of Spain’s hottest goalkeeping prospects into a supernova of a hot mess.

Reece James – 5 – A fabulous attacking force got given a real working over by Sadio Mané. Lost the Senegalese for the opening goal and let him hurtle inward on the second. Battled hard and racked up 5 tackles but can’t get caught out like he did.

Andreas Christensen – 3 – His bearhug on Sadio Mané as he ran through on goal changed the flow of the game inexorably in Liverpool’s favour. A moment of real idiocy from a young defender crying out for a more experienced partner.

Kurt Zouma – 7 – A lone bulwark of defensive excellence against a ceaseless wave of Liverpool pressure. Without him it would have been a rout. Joint-most clearances in the game (8).

Marcos Alonso – 4 – Ben Chilwell’s injury is unfortunate but surely if you’re playing a back four then even Cesar Azpilicueta would be a better left-back than Alonso? Liverpool exposed him repeatedly.

Jorginho – 4 – Nowhere near his best even before he slapped a terrible penalty at Alisson that was easily saved.

Mateo Kovacic – 5 – Good on the ball but entirely too passive off it.

N’Golo Kanté – 7 – The only Chelsea midfielder who looked up for the fight. Was constantly haring into tackles and making the best attacking runs in the side too. Didn’t deserve to lose.

Mason Mount – 5 – Lost in the shuffle. Never really got into the game.

Kai Havertz – 4 – Cost £62m. Lost in the shuffle. Never really got into the game.

Timo Werner – 6 – A whirling dervish of movement again but this time against a defence in no mood to give him space.

Substitutes:

Fikayo Tomori (for Havertz 46′) – 7 – Came on and helped stem the tide with an immense display. Joined Zouma with 8 clearances.

Ross Barkley (for Jorginho 79′) – n/a – Did nothing.

Tammy Abraham (for Kovacic 79′) – 5 – Some lively movement and had a great shot, forcing a save out of Alisson.

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Liverpool

Alisson – 8 – A routine afternoon was made special when he saved Jorginho’s penalty, denying the mighty hop technique.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – Wasn’t special, didn’t have to be.

Fabinho – 8 – More tackles and interceptions than any Liverpool player. Deaded Werner in the open field more than once. Could he find a new home at centre-back?

Virgil van Dijk – 8 – After last week’s oddity, he was impeccable, flawless, etc. etc. etc. you know the drill by now.

Andy Robertson – 6 – Ran and ran and ran (and ran).

Jordan Henderson – 8 – A simply delicious pass to break the game open and force Chelsea’s red card. Henderson launched that thing with the accuracy of an ICBM. Unfortunately had to go off at half-time.

Naby Keita – 6 – Solid. As good as he had to be.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6 – Kept the ball well.

Mohamed Salah – 8 – A performance fizzling with creativity. 5 chances created topped everyone else on the pitch. Delicious pre-assist pass for the opening goal. A fabulous player.

Roberto Firmino – 7 – Mostly quiet but his run and cross the help Mané open the scoring was deliciously done.

Sadio Mané – 9 – A never-ending source of movement, hope and optimism for Liverpool. When all else is lost, lift your head and Mané will be making a run for you, or pressing an opponent for you. Not as talented as Mohamed Salah but just as (if not more) important because he more than anyone is the embodiment of Jurgen Klopp’s approach to football.

Forced the Chelsea red card with an absurdly penetrative run when his side were well inside their own half. Scored the opener with a beautiful run across the defence and a sublime header that any aerial titan would have been proud of and he capped it all off with a wondrous bit of pressing. After conceding possession he hunted it down with a brutal relentlessness, forcing a big error from Kepa and scoring his side’s second.

This was Sadio Mané’s match, and with his brace he has surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s Premier League goals tally in the exact same amount of games as the Portuguese had. A legend-in-the-making if he isn’t one already, could this be his season to finally be recognised as Player of the Year?

Substitutes:

Thiago (for Henderson 46′) – 6 – Gave away a penalty but in just 45 minutes he completed more passes overall (75) than any Chelsea player even attempted in the whole game (Kovacic with 64). A mixed bag but so, so much potential for the future.

James Milner (for Keita 64′) – 6 – Worked hard.

Takumi Minamino (for Firmino 86′) – n/a – Came on late.