Liverpool celebrated lifting their first Premier League title in 30 years by defeating Chelsea 5-3 in the penultimate game of the season.
The game was quite even in the early stages, with both sides mounting promising attacks and maintaining extended spells of possession. In particular, Chelsea found success attacking Liverpool’s left flank, using the duo of Willian and Reece James to threaten the Reds side.
However, the first of Liverpool’s brilliant goals was scored by Naby Keita on 23 minutes. The Guinean latched on to a loose ball in front of the Chelsea box and fired an absolute missile onto the underside of the crossbar and in from 20 yards out.
Trent Alexander-Arnold provided the sequel to brilliant goals, after curling in what is quickly becoming a trademark free-kick. The Reds soon made it three, when Chelsea’s failure to clear a corner allowed Georginio Wijnaldum to blast home.
Chelsea were granted a lifeline just before the break, as Olivier Giroud converted after a spectacular save by Alisson following a shot by Willian.
Liverpool seemed to be in complete control of the game at the beginning of the second half. Roberto Firmino headed home a cross from Alexander-Arnold, who beat his own record for most assists in a Premier League season by a defender.
But Chelsea, motivated by the opportunity to secure a top 4 finish with any sort of result, responded. In particular, Christian Pulisic completely changed the trajectory of the proceedings after his introduction.
His mesmerizing, slaloming run set up Tammy Abraham for a tap-in to make it 4-2. Then, he emphatically fired home a cross following some suspect Liverpool defending to bring the Blues within a goal of Champions League qualification.
However, a classic Liverpool counter-attack from a Chelsea free-kick saw Andy Robertson make a darting run forward and whip in a delightful cross. Curtis Jones left the ball to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who calmly converted to seal the victory for the Reds.
GK – Alisson: 6
Fuming to have seen his side concede for a 4th consecutive game. Made a fantastic initial save on Chelsea’s first goal, but could do little with Giroud’s rebound. No chance for the other two goals.
LB – Andy Robertson: 8
Isolated early on with Chelsea finding space to attack along his flank. More involved as the game went on and provided good support to Mane. His brilliant run and cross to Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed the win for Liverpool.
CB – Virgil van Dijk: 5
Not quite as commanding of a performance as we’re used to from the Dutchman. His lack of communication with Gomez largely led to Chelsea’s third goal and, in general, didn’t marshall the backline as assertively as he normally does.
CB – Joe Gomez: 4
One of three Liverpool players to err on Chelsea’s second goal and collided with Van Dijk on Liverpool’s second to help Chelsea score a third. Defended well for the most part but has been caught out on a few occasions in recent games. His distribution, however, did help spring Liverpool’s buildup play.
RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8
A bystander in the first 25 minutes of the game offensively. His connection with Salah slowly started to come to fruition near the end of the half. Another textbook free-kick from 25 yards out gave Kepa no chance and whipped in a beautiful cross to assist Firmino’s goal. However, he’ll have nightmares thinking about the terror Pulisic caused on his flank in the second half.
CM – Fabinho: 6
Decent performance from the Brazilian midfielder. Chelsea were able to find some gaps in the Liverpool midfield, but he didn’t really make any mistakes.
CM – Georginio Wijnaldum (Subbed after 66’): 7
Became more and more involved in the attack as the first half progressed and was rewarded with a goal after a thunderous strike following some pinball in the penalty box. Continued to battle in the centre of the park before being substituted.
CM – Naby Keita (Subbed after 66’): 8
Great performance from the Guinean highlighted by his screamer after 23 minutes. Keita showed a neat display of calmness on the ball, feints and flicks to get the team out of trouble, and driving runs forward.
LW – Sadio Mane (Subbed after 87’): 7
Made some inspired runs forward and seemed the most likely to break the deadlock early on. Didn’t contribute to the goals today, but showed why defenders always have to keep an eye on him.
RW – Mohamed Salah (Subbed after 79’): 7
Grew into the game well, but just couldn’t convert his opportunities. A great one-two with Firmino early in the second half gave Salah a chance to score what would’ve been one of the goals of the season, but the Egyptian scuffed his effort.
ST – Roberto Firmino (Subbed after 87’): 8
Waited until the final opportunity of the season to score at Anfield, but Liverpool fans won’t care. Along with his goal, Firmino displayed his typical precise link-up play, defensive commitment, and hold-up play.
James Milner (66’): 6
Made his first appearance since the first game of the restart. Provided his typical energy without making any notable plays.
Curtis Jones (66’): 6
Came on to secure his 5th appearance of the season to earn his Premier League Championship medal. Moved around the field well and his clever dummy helped set up Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (79’): 7
Brought on to provide fresh legs to prevent Chelsea from scoring an equalizer. Worked hard and was rewarded with a goal following a brilliant Liverpool counter-attack.
Divock Origi (87’): NA
Made one notable scamper forward to earn Liverpool a free kick in stoppage time, but not enough time to do anything else.
Takumi Minamino (87’): NA
Subbed late on to see the game out. No impact.