Football News

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool: Full player ratings as ‘lowkey’ Firmino helps Reds maintain 100% record

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:35, 22 September 2019

Liverpool held off a second-half Chelsea barrage to win 2-1 and maintain their 100% start to the new Premier League season on Sunday.

A thunderbolt from Trent Alexander-Arnold and a Roberto Firmino header either side of a disallowed Cesar Azpilicueta goal put the Reds in command at Stamford Bridge.

And although N’Golo Kante lead the charge for Chelsea after the break with a stunning strike of his own, the Reds held out to keep their five-point lead intact atop the Premier League table.

Here are the full player ratings from an entertaining encounter in west London:

Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6 – No goalkeeper in the world could have stopped Alexander-Arnold’s thunderbolt for the first goal. Made a couple of huge saves at the start of the second half to keep Chelsea in with a chance.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 6 – Got forward well and provided some good crosses from the right flank. Unfortunate to see his equaliser ruled out by VAR, although it was the correct decision.

Andreas Christensen – 3 – Was rash in bringing down Sadio Mane on the edge of his own box in the lead up to the first goal, while he and Marcos Alonso were way too far apart in the defensive line for Liverpool’s second, allowing Firmino a free header. Joined Emerson in the treatment room shortly before half-time.

Fikayo Tomori – 7 – Had a tough afternoon against Liverpool’s front three, who repeatedly tried to isolate the young England international. Never shied away from the task, though, and keeps showing signs of development.

Emerson Palmieri – 5 – Subbed off early with another injury. The Italian has had some wretched luck of late.

Jorginho – 5 – Worked hard to try and get Chelsea back in possession but once he succeeded in that, Jorginho was unusually sloppy, playing a number of wayward passes.

N’Golo Kante – 9 – As usual, was tireless in his efforts to win the ball back and quick to progress Chelsea up the pitch when he did so. A great strike to beat Adrian to bring the Blues back into the game and no less than he deserved on the day.

Mateo Kovacic – 7 – Played some nice passes and always looked capable of creating something. Faded a little in the second half but can be happy with his overall contribution.

Willian – 6 – Provided some decent deliveries but didn’t cause enough of a threat in and around the Liverpool penalty area.

Mason Mount – 5 – Was spotted in an offside position by VAR for what would have been a Chelsea equaliser, just before Liverpool grabbed their second. Overall, an off-day in what has been an impressive start to the season for Mount.

Tammy Abraham – 5 – Kept Liverpool’s defence on their toes with some smart, electric movement but lacked the clinical edge he’s shown so far this season once the chances came. His miss one-on-one with Adrian in the first half, especially, was a bad one.

Subs:

Marcos Alonso (15 mins, for Emerson) – 6 –Β Still looks defensively suspect with his aggressively high positioning but delivered some very dangerous crosses for Chelsea.

Kurt Zouma (42 mins, for Christensen) – 6 – Replaced the injured Christensen and put in a far more assured performance compared to recent weeks.

Michy Batshuayi (76 mins, for Abraham) – 5 – Looked a threat when he came on but really should have done better with his late header.

Liverpool

Adrian – 8 – Made a couple of vital saves as Chelsea grew into the game, providing the platform for Liverpool to go and win the game.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – Incredibly sloppy on the ball, posting a match-low 56% pass success rate. All will be forgiven by Jurgen Klopp, though, for that rocket of an opening goal. Booked for time-wasting after just 57 minutes.

Joel Matip – 8 – Was targeted by Abraham as the weaker of Liverpool’s two centre-backs but got to grips with the Englishman as the game wore on. Was one of four in red to stand off Kante for his goal but he stood up well to the late Chelsea barrage and bailed his side out on a number of occasions.

Virgil van Dijk – 7 – Just like Matip next to him, allowed Kante far too much room for the goal. Apart from that, put in another commanding performance, winning a match-high four aerial duels and, again, being dribbled past a grand total of zero times.

Andy Robertson – 8 – Delivered a wonderful cross for Firmino’s goal and provided Liverpool with a tireless outlet up and down the left flank. Looking somewhere close to his best again after a tough few weeks for club and country.

Fabinho – 6 – Had an excellent first half, shifting the ball around with authority and ease as Liverpool dominated. However, he stood off Kante as the Frenchman charged at the Liverpool box in the second half, allowing him to fire home into Adrian’s top-left corner. Four Liverpool players were to blame for that, but Fabinho was clearly most culpable. Booked.

Jordan Henderson – 6 – Partially culpable for the Kante goal but was generally solid in midfield, breaking up Chelsea’s play and working his socks off to cover the Liverpool defence.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6 – Put in his usual amount of effort without really having a telling influence on the game. Didn’t get on the ball enough.

Mohamed Salah – 6 – Nowhere near as sharp as we normally see him. Salah lost more of his one-on-one duels than usual and didn’t threaten the Chelsea back four as Klopp would have hoped. Produced a clever backheel to get the assist for Alexander-Arnold’s opener.

Sadio Mane – 7 – Won the free-kick for the first goal, committing Christensen and using his body to draw the foul. Had completed more dribbles (3) than any other player when he was brought off but faded during the second half. Clearly, Klopp is looking to preserve his squad for an extremely busy period.

Roberto Firmino – 8 – He really is so vital to Klopp. Clinical with his header to extend Liverpool’s lead, tireless in the press and intelligent with the ball. The lowkey best player in the Premier League so far this season.

Subs:

James Milner (72 mins, for Mane) – 6 – Replaced Mane directly after Kante’s goal as Klopp looked to bolster his midfield. Added some much-needed energy to proceedings for Liverpool.

Adam Lallana (83 mins, for Henderson) – 6 – Replaced Henderson late on but didn’t really get into the game.

Joe Gomez (92 mins, for Salah) – N/A – Replaced Salah in injury time.

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