Double shot including dream goal: LFC defeats Chelsea
Liverpool FC won their important home game against Chelsea 2-0 and defended their Premier League lead. In the Reds’ last game of the season against a top-six team in the league, Jürgen Klopp’s team struggled against compact guests in the first half before Mané and Salah secured their well-deserved home win within a very short time. On the Blues side, national defender Antonio Rüdiger had to leave the pitch injured.
Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp was able to call on Robertson again, who had missed out on a yellow-barred 2-0 win over Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and the Scotsman moved to his ancestral left-back position instead of Milner (Bank). The second change took place in central defence: Matip replaced Lovren (bench).
Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri had spared some of the regulars in the 1-0 win over Slavia Prague in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final, or had only just substituted for them, and now made six changes in his starting eleven: Emerson, David Luiz, Kanté, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard and Hudson-Odoi started in place of Marcos Alonso (not in the squad), Christensen, Kovacic, Barkley, Giroud and Pedro (all in the bench).
After an impressive minute of silence including choreography on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough catastrophe on Monday, the Anfield Road quickly became noisy again: The home team took over the command directly and had the first excellent opportunity of the game (6th) through Salah. Chelsea, however, managed to contain the explosive Reds attack by an orderly defensive stance, only a deflected shot by Henderson (27th) and the completion of the free-standing Mané (38th) caused danger.
The tempo in the first half of the first round was rather high when the guests played in the open rooms from their compact basic order. Hazard (21.) and Willian (30.) thus came to presentable possibilities for Chelsea, who, however, was forced to change before the break whistle: Rüdiger injured his ankle and could no longer perform, Christensen (40.) came for the German national player.
Mané per head, Salah dreamlike: double hit for Liverpool
Liverpool then increased the pressure noticeably after the change of sides – and promptly rewarded himself twice for it: First Mané headed in a chip flank from Henderson at the end of a fine attack to 1-0 (51st), then Salah pulled from the right wing into the middle and hammered the ball irresistibly into the left bend – an absolute dream goal to 2-0 (53rd). Chelsea, however, was quickly back on track after the double strike and Hazard twice within the shortest time had the great opportunity to connect. At first, the Belgian only hit the post (59th) in front of Alisson alone, but a little later he failed free-standing with a direct inspection of the LFC keeper (61st).
Two big opportunities to make the game exciting again – but also the last ones. Liverpool then cleverly kept the ball away from his own goal and also controlled trouble spot Hazard. Klopp clenched his fist after an uneventful final phase, but the Reds, who continue to hold their own in the table ahead of Manchester City, who have one game less, were still able to claim their deserved home win. Chelsea, on the other hand, will have to give up third place to Tottenham Hotspur.