Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea: Mohamed Salah tops ratings – BBC Sport

Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea: Mohamed Salah tops ratings - BBC Sport

Liverpool vs Chelsea – LIVE

An awesome goal from Mo Salah ensured an ultimately comfortable victory for Liverpool, who blew Chelsea away at the start of the second half

Liverpools Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their second goal. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters Rob Smyth

Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea Our Anfield match report has landed, so Ill leave you with that. Thanks for your company and emails. See you soon for the next instalment in this immense title race.

What did the manager say at half-time? I cant tell you that! I thought there was a period when we blew them away a bit, but then they had a couple of good chances. Overall its a good performance because Chelsea are a good side. Ive moved a little bit further forward in the last few weeks, which Ive enjoyed. Its really big for us to be in the title race. Weve got a few big games coming up, and were enjoying it.

Chelsea come into this one off the back of four wins in all competitions. Despite an absolute worldy from Daniel Sturridge, we earned a draw with them earlier in the season and they knocked us out of the Carabao Cup at Anfield back in September.

What happened five years ago didnt matter today. It was a totally different game, totally different circumstances, and we are very happy with the three points. We managed to put Chelsea under pressure and they didnt play their usual game at times, so all credit to us. We just focus on our games, not City. Well see, well see.

Liverpools remaining games are Cardiff (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A) and Wolves (H). They should win all four; if they do, Manchester City will have no margin for error. There has never been such a relentless title race in English football.

Liverpool go back to the top of the table and get another tricky fixture out of the way. They blew Chelsea away at the start of the second half, when Sadio Mane and Mo Salah scored in the space of three minutes. Salahs howitzer went into Anfield folklore even before it hit the net.

It encapsulated the task Liverpool face to dethrone England’s champions. Their struggles in Europe should not be ignored but City have now dropped 30 Premier League points since the start of last season; Tottenham (32), Arsenal (33), Chelsea (34) and Manchester United (35) have all dropped more this campaign alone. Palace themselves have dropped 27 since beating Pep Guardiola’s side in late December.

Mohamed Salah downs Chelsea and keeps Liverpool ahead of City

Chelsea did plenty of good things, but they picked the wrong team and then Eden Hazard missed two excellent chances to make it 2-1 and give Anfield the heebie-jeebies. Its a big blow to their hopes of finishing in the top four.

Liverpool blinked first, and how. The story of their collapse at home to Chelsea has been well-documented but it would have meant nothing had Manchester City not beaten Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park later that same day. “I talked with the players before the game not to be thinking about the result of Chelsea and Liverpool,” said Pellegrini, who hailed a “professional” 2-0 victory.

Firmino explains the key to Reds front three ahead of Chelsea clash

Juergen Klopp celebrates after Liverpools 2-0 victory. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters Updated at 6.27pm BST

The first goal was sumptuous. Kevin de Bruyne, starting after playing a single minute against Tottenham on Tuesday, staked his claim to start in the quarter-final’s second leg with a delightful through ball into Raheem Sterling. Perhaps eager to atone for missing a gilt-edged opportunity earlier in the game, the forward gathered the pass and finished wonderfully past Vicente Guaita.

89 min An electric bit of play from Mane, who roars past Christensen and smacks a rising shot that is pawed behind by Kepa. Before the corner is taken, Xherdan Shaqiri comes on to replace Mo Salah, whose memorable heatseeker ensured victory for Liverpool.

Maurizio Sarri’s side came knowing they had to get something to strengthen their own claims for a top-four spot and, as a result, Chelsea were by no means as defensive as five years ago, looking to hit their hosts on the counter using the talent of Hazard as a false nine.

87 min Kepa comes out of his area to meet an up and under from van Dijk, makes a Horlicks of his attempted clearance under pressure from Mane, and is a bit fortunate to see the ball drift behind for a goalkick.

For a brief second there was an horrific flashback to Gerrard in 2014 when Andy Robertson slipped on the halfway line, but the ball fell to Higuain, who has considerably less pace than Demba Ba showed five years ago, and Liverpool had plenty of players to cover.

86 min Chelseas race is run. They have played better today than during those pitiful defeats at Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City, but they couldnt cope when Liverpool increased the tempo for 10 minutes at the start of the second half. That has been the difference.

Yes, Jamie Carragher made the same comparison on Sky. I suppose Salahs was a more spectacular finish, because of the way it rose into the top corner, but I prefer Fowlers goal overall because of the skill that preceded it.

Realistically, however, he should have put his side level as first he beat Alisson Becker in a one-on-one only for his shot to rebound off a post and then fired a first-time shot straight at the goalkeeper from close range seconds later.

81 min All this talk of Liverpool fans being somehow different, says Niall Mullen, is not really dampening my sense of Liverpool exceptionalism.

Family, city, academy; every kid on a Liverpool street, Scousers whatever their background and race: hes conscious, with each step on the pitch, that he carries them all. We meet on this shimmering day for a conversation based around Trent reaching 50 Premier League games and hes a revelation right up to his parting shot – that when the 2013-14 title slipped for Liverpool versus…

80 min A stinging shot on the turn by Firmino is well held by the diving Kepa. Chelsea scraper down the other end, where Hazards ball into the six-yard area is kicked behind by Alexander-Arnold.

The birds perch, resplendent, on the Liver Building and sunlight makes the Mersey a strip of dancing gold. Such a beautiful day. A day for not caring, for taking life lightly. But thats not Trent Alexander-Arnold.

76 min A substitution apiece. Ross Barkley replaces the disappointing Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and James Milner comes on for the excellent Jordan Henderson.

Dont let them down, Bill Shankly always said before sending Liverpool players out to play for their public. Trent takes very seriously who he represents.

74 min Liverpool are playing on the counter-attack now, which makes sense in the circumstances. Salah leads a four-on-three break and finds Henderson, whose cross from the byline is over the head of Mane at the far post.

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Gonzalo Higuain On Bench – Chelsea Team vs Liverpool Confirmed

71 min Alexander-Arnold, still on the left after taking a corner, Cruyff turns sweetly past Higuain before driving a low shot straight at Kepa. I have no idea what position hell end up in, because he has such ability. Hes almost too good to be a full-back, even in a post-Pep world.

Read more It did not take long for Chelsea supporters to revisit recent history in an attempt to stir anxiety among the Anfield crowd. Eight minutes before kick-off, in fact, was when the first rendition was aired of the Steven Gerrard/Demba Ba song. Only two players remained from that famous game in April 2014, however, César Azpilicueta and Salah, and the latter was wearing blue that day. The most important sound from the crowd before the game was silence for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster on the eve of the 30th anniversary. It was impeccably observed by all, as one mosaic reading 30 Years filled the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and another that simply said 96 dominated the Kop.

70 min Matt Dony not really on the point I think – United, Chelsea fans etc during their better years were nowhere near the righteous levels of Liverpool fans in their barren years, says Andrew Hurley. This feeling of being superior fans is unsettling, as it implies something not right to need to want to be seen by others in such a light. The question is though – why does it bother everyone else!?! 🙂

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Virgil van Dijk shouts at his teammates after Chelseas Eden Hazard misses a chance. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters Liverpools best chance of the first half fell to Salah in their first attack. Mané, who unnerved Azpilicueta from the opening whistle, delivered a deep cross into the visitors six-yard box to the striker. Unmarked, he shinned his volley straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga. Mané turned another good opportunity wide when Salah returned the favour later in the half but overall it was a flat opening reminiscent of that game from five years ago. A jaw-dropping start to the second half by Liverpool ensured there would be no repeat of that.

68 min Liverpool have started to calm the game down after that madcap 10 minutes, when they were almost too emotional to function.

Read more Until Mané struck his 18th goal of the league campaign the most significant moment was the knee injury sustained by Antonio Rüdiger when chasing a Joël Matip ball over the top towards Mané. The Chelsea central defender had started authoritatively and laboured on for a further 18 minutes before collapsing once more. He looked in a bad way when carried off the pitch by two members of the Chelsea medical staff. Rüdigers replacement, Andreas Christensen, came on for only his fifth league appearance of the season and was that rusty he spent the half-time interval warming up on the pitch. He and his teammates were caught cold from the restart, however.

67 min David Dein, with the sentiments I expected in answer to Andrew Hurleys question, says Matt Dony. Its a line of reasoning Ive heard a lot recently. I can only assume that no one remembers meeting a United fan during the peak Fergie years. Insufferable barely scratches the surface. And, yes, I freely admit I will be a tiny, tiny bit smug if Liverpool win the league. But, no more so than, say, Chelsea fans who suddenly appeared during Joses first stint. Anyway, its all moot. Liverpool winning today will just make the final day, when City confirm the title, even more sickening.

The following 45 minutes were subdued, cagey and far removed from the monumental occasion it would become. Liverpool started on the front foot but without the aggression and composure on the ball that so often makes their control count. Maurizio Sarris side, with Eden Hazard operating as a false nine, were content to work their way into promising situations on the counterattack but unable to work Alisson in the Liverpool goal. Their first half display was encapsulated by the dangerous Willian breaking from a David Luiz clearance, cutting inside Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson, then slicing well wide from 18 yards out.

64 min In answer to David Dein, just this, begins Hubert OHearn. Piers Morgan. Now, you were saying something about insufferable fans?

When Chelsea come to Anfield on Sunday theyll be in for a bitter and hostile welcome. Not only do we have history with the London club, but the videos that circulated this week of Chelsea fans directing racist and Islamophobic chants at Mo Salah have been met with intense condemnation.

63 min Its all Chelsea at the moment. What a strange game. If Chelsea get one, it will be squeaky-bum time in excelsis.

62 min If Liverpool do win the league opposition fans are convinced that we are going to be a nightmare, says Niall Mullen. I will be a nightmare. Im gonna come around all your houses, steal your shoes and make you sit an exam for which youre completely unprepared.

Firminos relationship with Salah will be of utmost importance when Chelsea come to Merseyside. Its very important that hes scoring and helping us win games, our No. 9 said of the Egyptian, as he hopes he gets a goal against his former side.

61 min After a cagey first half, this is turning into a slugfest. Azpilicueta breaks into the area and slides a ball right across the six-yard box. It was begging to be finished.

Impressive numbers, but the goals dont score themselves. This all comes day after day of work, of working together each day, Firmino told Sky Sports ahead of the Chelseas visit to Anfield.

60 min: Another great chance for Hazard! Willian had loads of space on the right and curled a superb ball into the middle. Hazard got behind the defence and dragged a first-time shot that was smartly saved by the diving Alisson. He didnt quite get hold of it, though it was a difficult ball to take first time because it bounced just in front of him.

With Eden Hazard breaking forward after a period of Liverpool pressing in the Chelsea half, Fabinho tracked his man back and made a robust, lunging tackle to nick the ball of the Belgian.

Hazard shoots, buts its saved by Alisson. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters Updated at 5.54pm BST

With Chelsea likely to play on the break as we look to impose ourselves on this one, well need the Brazilian to make more of these crucial tackles.

59 min: Hazard hits the post! A Chelsea corner was cleared to the halfway line, where Emerson drove a speculative ball back over the top. Hazard, who was just onside, took the ball down beautifully on the run and slipped it through the outrushing Alissons legs – but it bounced off the face of the near post.

59 min As a Gooner I can tell you why so many, myself included, do not want Liverpool to win the league, says David Dein. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the clubs achievements, they were absolutely fantastic throughout the 70s and 80s. An absolute joy to watch. Their fanbase, however, are insufferable. The idea of millions of gloating Scousers with zero sense of perspective does not bear thinking about. Come on Chelsea!

The Reds are hoping to record another victory in their quest for glory and hope Manchester City slip up against Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

Jurgen Klopp has no fresh injury concerns and could welcome back Joe Gomez after he made the bench for the midweek Champions League quarter-final first leg win over Porto.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will recall Eden Hazard to the starting line-up and could also include Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the pair rested for their Europa League win against Slavia Prague on Thursday. Full-back Emerson will be assessed prior to kick-off.

James Pearce and Ian Doyle are in attendance this afternoon to provide live updates, build-up, team news and reaction throughout the game.

Chelsea Start Mind Games Early By Posting Steven Gerrards Slip

As ever, you can send your thoughts to  @LivEchoLFC, @TheoSquiresEcho or @seanbrad2  to get involved in the discussion.

Lively enough in the first half although not everything came off for him. But then came the goal – and what a goal. Salah was transformed, performing like a man possessed. Excellent.

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