English Premier League: Chelsea vs Liverpool Player Ratings
Friday night football saw a mouth-watering clash between two sides with a great rivalry in recent history, including 8 UEFA Champions League ties since season 2004/05, an FA Cup final in 2012 and League Cup final in 2005.
In almost the classic case of the ‘game of two halves’, it was Liverpool’s first half which gave them the platform to go on and win the game. Unlikely scorer Dejan Lovren was in acres of space to apply the finish to Phillipe Coutinho’s cross; some quick thinking from Liverpool that completely caught Chelsea off-guard. An unconvincing clearance from Gary Cahill teed up Jordan Henderson outside the area, and the Liverpool skipper may have just provided an early contender for goal of the season to put Liverpool 2-0 up going into the break.
The Red influence over Stamford Bridge dwindled as the second half progressed, with Chelsea forcing the issue to get back into the game. Diego Costa continued his scoring form to get one back for The Blues, which created some nervy moments for the travelling support. Ultimately, Liverpool did enough to secure the three points in what has been a strong start to the season for them, especially if you pretend the Burnley result didn’t happen.
Here are our ratings from the match:
Thibaut Courtois 2.5/5
Nearly spilled Sturridge’s early shot into his net, but was relatively powerless to stop either of Liverpool’s goals. Made a class save from a close-range Divock Origi header late in the game to keep some hope for his side to make a recovery.
Branislav Ivanovic 2.5/5
A poorly timed challenge on Wijnaldum gave Liverpool the free-kick that they would end up opening the scoring from, one that Chelsea as a collective defensive unit must share the blame for. Chelsea fans have questioned his continued starting spot in the side due to a decline in form, and with the signing of Marcos Alonso, it might be time for a change.
David Luiz 3/5
As usual the pundits singled him out pre-game for his perceived defensive inabilities, but he put in a good showing. Confident on the ball.
Gary Cahill 2/5
Perhaps wasn’t as comfortable without John Terry by his side, but is that seriously a viable excuse for a poor performance for an international footballer? The cut-throat nature of top flight football was on full display, as Cahill’s poor clearance was punished with a wonder goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta 2.5/5
Considering that Eden Hazard offered him minimal defensive cover, the full-back shut down his left side quite well. Didn’t offer much in the attacking phase, though.
N’Golo Kante 2.5/5
The lack of a passing midfielder in the starting side meant the Frenchman sometimes tried things beyond his skill set. Tackled and harassed as always, but the midfield three of Kante-Matic-Oscar is more about endeavour than quality.
Nemanja Matic 3/5
Provided a spark for his side to assist Costa’s goal, but was often outnumbered by the fluid interchanging movements of the Liverpool midfield.
Made more tackles than any other player on the pitch, with 5. His industrious style has won over Antonio Conte, but he will need to offer more going forward to keep his starting place.
Eden Hazard 2/5
Played in Matic in the build-up to Chelsea’s goal, but was too often on the periphery of the contest. Didn’t manage a single attempted shot at Liverpool’s goal.
Provided the most dribbles for Chelsea, with 8, but faded as the game went on.
Diego Costa 3/5
Cut a frustrated and isolated first-half figure as his side failed to offer him service. Provided a lifeline for Chelsea with a close-range finish to keep up his excellent scoring start to the season, but ultimately not enough for Chelsea to get anything out of the game.
Cesc Fabregas 2.5/5
Little impact was made by the three changes in the 83rd minute, but the Spanish midfielder showed what Chelsea were missing with his incisive range of passing. How much longer will he accept a substitute role in the side?
Came on for Oscar to increase Chelsea’s attacking options, but did nothing noteworthy. Has started just one league game so far this season.
Victor Moses 2/5
The former Liverpool man came on for Willian, but didn’t have any impact.
Simon Mingolet 2.5/5
Will be desperate to show Klopp that he can still be the number 1, but didn’t get the chance to show much as it was mostly a quiet game for him.
Nathaniel Clyne 2.5/5
Got forward with some regularity whilst keeping Hazard fairly quiet.
Dejan Lovren 4/5
Returned to the side to form a strong partnership with Joel Matip. Expertly finished in the box to put Liverpool 1-0 up, made the most clearances of the game with seven and ended up with as many shots at goal as Diego Costa did for Chelsea.
Joel Matip 3.5/5
A colossal display at the heart of defence. Kept Costa very quiet, especially in the first half. Pundits criticized his decision to go to ground early in the box when Nemanja Matic broke through, but it could have possibly been the sole error of the game for him.
James Milner 3/5
Questions will still be asked of the midfielder’s ability to hold down the left-back spot, but gave a good account of himself here. Considering how he likes to get forward and offer a crossing outlet for his side, a 90% passing accuracy ratio is very impressive.
Jordan Henderson 4/5
Klopp utilized Henderson as the deepest of the central three midfielders, something most wouldn’t be entirely sure he is comfortable with. Scored an outstanding curler from outside the box and shielded his defence decently, making four interceptions.
Adam Lallana 3.5/5
Is crucial to Klopp’s pressing game, showing his work rate by buzzing around the pitch and closing down with intensity. Seems to be benefitting from a deeper role that allows him to make late runs into the box.
Georginio Wijnaldum 3/5
A well-rounded player who has settled quickly into his new side, displayed by his willingness to challenge the ball with three tackles made. Interesting to note is how Emre Can will fit back into the side, and with the form of Henderson and Lallana in mind, Wijnaldum might be the one rotated.
Phillipe Coutinho 3/5
A clever set-piece move saw Coutinho collect the assist for Liverpool’s opener. More disciplined in his distribution, which is a nice contrast from seeing him attempt long-range strikes continuously.
Sadio Mane 2.5/5
Didn’t rain chaos on the flank as he has done in recent weeks, but the pace he brings to the side is a breath of fresh air to a Liverpool midfield so focused on precision. Pace is brought up far too often in football punditry, but in the context of Liverpool’s midfield, the pace Mane brings to the side is something they have been lacking for too long.
Daniel Sturridge 2/5
One shot on target from the England striker, which went straight down the throat of Courtois. His lack of pressing from the front is a world apart from watching Roberto Firmino in the same position, which makes you wonder how long his manager will view him as the number one striker at the club. Hooked for Origi in the 56th minute.
Divock Origi 2.5/5
Came on early enough to make an impact, but failed to do so as his point-blank header was well saved by Courtois.
Brought on for Coutinho with 10 minutes to go to lock down the defence. Enough time for him to pick up a yellow card with his first and only foul.
Kevin Stewart N/A
A very late inclusion for Wijnaldum.