Reds resilient at Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
After Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to win the Super Cup Final in Istanbul, the Reds aimed to defeat the Blues again in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge and continue their winning run at the top of the table. In the tenth minute, through Mateo Kovacic down the right flank, Mason Mount pinged the ball into the area, but Virgil van Dijk was a shield for the Reds against Tammy Abraham, before Andrew Robertson cleared the ball away from Willian. But three minutes later, there was a careless challenge by Andreas Christensen as he brought down Sadio Mane on the edge of the d, and from the free kick, Mohamed Salah touched the ball back to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who whipped the ball in with an unstoppable strike into the top right side of the net. The Blues were then forced to change Emerson due to injury as Marcos Alonso took over. The first yellow card went to Fikayo Tomori for a lunge into the leg of Reds captain, Jordan Henderson. In the twenty fourth minute, Christensen slid the ball through to an unmarked Abraham, and with just Adrian to beat, he struck the ball against the Reds shot stopper. But three minute later, the Blues had a goal ruled out by a VAR decision, as Mount was caught offside, following Willian’s cross on the right being flick on from Abraham and then being deflected off van Dijk against Adrian, before Blues captain, Cesar Azpilicueta slotted the ball in but to no avail. It was a turning point in the match, as after Azpilicueta clashed with Georginio Wijnaldum, a short free kick was played by Alexander-Arnold to Robertson, whose cross was headed home by Roberto Firmino, into the top right corner, to double the Reds advantage on the half hour mark. Later a clumsy challenge by Adrian on Abraham, left the Blues striker requiring treatment. In the thirty ninth minute, Christensen was the next Blues casualty after making a decisive block with his lower back to keep out a fierce strike from Salah, and as Christensen limped off the pitch, Kurt Zouma took over. Just before the break, from Azpilicueta’s cross, while under the trap of Joel Matip, Abraham flicked a header over. Then a dangerous ball on the left by Alonso, was held onto at the second attempt by Adrian. Two minutes into the re-start, through a delivery by Alexander-Arnold, a first time low right footed strike by Firmino, was kept out with a sprawling save from Kepa Arrizabalaga. Despite the offside being raised, after a dangerous cross by Alexander-Arnold and ricochet off Zouma, the ball was deflected back off Azpilicueta, and Arrizablaga made another strong reaction stop. For time wasting, Alexander-Arnold got booked by referee, Michael Oliver. Through a dangerous ball in from Azpilicueta, the ball was turned behind from Matip, off a right footed shot by Abraham, and from the proceeding corner by Mount, the ball got caught up with Matip and Firmino while under pressure from Tomori, and from the rebound, N’Golo Kante, drove the ball wide of the right post, in the fifty ninth minute. But during the seventy first minute, after collecting a pass from Azpilicueta, on the turn, Kante drove forward before riffling the ball into the top right corner. Liverpool then made an enforced change of Mane with James Milner, before Chelsea brought on Michy Batshuayi for Abraham. The next yellow card went to Fabinho for pulling over Batshuayi. The Reds later switched Henderson with Adam Lallana. After his slicing tackle on Zouma, a caution went to Milner. A gilt edge chance fell to Batshuayi from Alonso’s cross, but he guided his header wide of the right post in the eighty eighth minute. Within two minutes, Willian’s pass across went to Alonso, who teed the ball up for Mount, whose strike went high over the top. In stoppage time, Alonso found Jorginho, who sprayed the ball out of play. At the end, Joseph Gomez appeared for Salah. Frustration showed when Alonso got a card for stopping the run of Robertson, as Chelsea ended losing 2-1 at home to Liverpool.