Liverpool ratings as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane shine in win over Chelsea

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Mohamed Salah starred with a wonder-goal to give Liverpool the win.

Liverpool exorcised the ghosts of 2014 with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea to keep their Premier League title charge on track.

Sadio Mane’s header early in the second half was followed moments later by a goal-of-the-season contender from Mohamed Salah and, after two uncharacteristic misses by Eden Hazard, the Reds regained the top spot they had lost 90 minutes earlier to Manchester City.

Salah’s goal was worthy of winning a title let alone a game, but for now Liverpool will settle for the latter.

A two-point lead over City, winners at Crystal Palace, was restored and proved Jurgen Klopp’s previous assertion that no-one is getting rid of his side in this most enthralling of races.

Here’s a look at how the players rated.

STARTING XI

Alisson Becker 7 – Always seemed to be in the right place to alleviate danger and made himself big in the key moments.

Trent Alexander-Arnold 7 – Composed defensively and delivered some dangerous crosses and set-pieces.

Joel Matip 6 – Had a few awkward moments against Eden Hazard but stood up well.

Virgil Van Dijk 7 – Judged the game well and held firm under pressure.

Andrew Robertson 6 – Got forward when he could and linked well with Naby Keita.

Naby Keita 6 – Positive performance, getting back to win possession and drive forward.

Jordan Henderson 7 – Made his presence felt and pushed forward until being forced off injured.

Fabinho 7 –  Made some strong challenges as Liverpool sought midfield control.

Mohamed Salah 8 – Looked lively throughout and scored a stunning goal.

Roberto Firmino 7 – Linked well with his fellow forwards in and around the box and had a good chance himself.

Sadio Mane 8 – Was in the right place to open the scoring while he kept Chelsea’s defence on their toes with his movement on and off the ball and his crossing.

SUBSTITUTES

Georginio Wijnaldum 6 – Enabled Liverpool to take the sting out of the game just as Chelsea were starting to threaten.

James Milner 6 – Brought his usual assurance in the latter stages.

Xherdan Shaqiri 5 – Made only a late entrance.

*Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Chelsea ratings as Eden Hazard fluffs his lines in loss to Liverpool

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Eden Hazard was Chelsea's best player but missed two golden opportunities.

Chelsea couldn’t produce a repeat of their 2014 title-derailing win at Anfield as a second-half burst from Liverpool saw Maurizio Sarri’s fall 2-0 in a pivotal result for the Premier League title and top four races.

Sadio Mane’s header early in the second half was followed moments later by a goal-of-the-season contender from Mohamed Salah and, after two uncharacteristic misses by Eden Hazard, the Reds regained the top spot they had lost 90 minutes earlier to Manchester City, while Chelsea’s grip on a top-four spot weakened.

The Blues have a two-point lead over fifth-place Manchester United, who have a game in hand, and a three-point gap to sixth-place Arsenal, who have played two fewer games than Chelsea.

Here’s a look at how Sarri’s side rated.

Kepa Arrizabalaga 6 – Made some notable saves but was caught out for Mane’s opener and could do nothing about Salah’s strike.

Cesar Azpilicueta 6 – Had his difficulties dealing with Mane.

Antonio Rudiger 5 – Resolute in the early stages but was unable to shake off an injury and was replaced before half-time.

David Luiz 6 – Made a vital block from Henderson and also did well to prevent a Salah breakaway.

Emerson 6 – Had been reading the game well until Liverpool twice raided his flank for goals in quick succession in the second half.

Jorginho 6 – Made some important challenges.

N’Golo Kante 7 – A typical high-energy performance in which the Frenchman covered a lot of ground.

Willian 7 – Made some dangerous runs and was a recurring threat on the break but he blasted a good chance wide.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek 6 – Was forceful through the middle but Van Dijk limited his impact.

Callum Hudson-Odoi 5 – Got into some good attacking positions early on but was unable to get into the game after that.

Eden Hazard 7 – Was effective in the deep-lying false nine position, dropping deep and surging forward but his luck was out on this occasion.

SUBSTITUTES

Andreas Christensen 5 – Was given some difficulties in the latter stages as Liverpool finished confidently.

Gonzalo Higuain 6 – Did not give Chelsea the extra attacking impetus they needed.

Ross Barkley 6 – Former Everton player was booed on entry and did not force his way into the game.

*Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Jurgen Klopp turns the tables on Chelsea to mastermind a crucial Liverpool win

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Jurgen Klopp masterminded a crucial Liverpool win.

Liverpool got a crucial, dramatic win in the Premier League title race as they dispatched Chelsea 2-0 at home to retake a two-point lead at the top after Man City’s win earlier in the day.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored the goals soon after half-time to put Jurgen Klopp’s side in command, and though they endured a few nervy moments they ended with a win that could be the defining moment of the title race.

Here’s a look at how Klopp’s tactics won the game for Liverpool.

KEY STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 15

Shots on target – 7

Possession – 62%

Passing Accuracy – 86%

Key Passes – 13

Dribbles – 8

30-SECOND REPORT

Klopp went with his usual 4-3-3, with no surprises in the starting XI. There looked to be a specific plan to deal with Eden Hazard, with Fabinho consistently tracking back to help his defence out against the Belgian, deployed initially as a false nine, but apart from that Klopp allowed Liverpool to play on the front foot.

His half-time team talk must have been special, as Liverpool upped the gears immediately to take a 2-0 lead within eight minutes of the break after the first half ended goalless.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Liverpool spring surprise with gameplan to dominate

The expected template for this game was that Liverpool, who enjoy playing on the counter, would have allowed Chelsea to dominate possession like they usually do under Maurizio Sarri, and looked for the opportunities to hit their opponents on the break.

Instead, Klopp’s side had 62% possession, and attempted over 200 more passes than Chelsea, playing the game completely on the front foot. Key to this was Fabinho, who had 26 more touches and attempted 35 more passes than counterpart Jorginho.

VERDICT

Klopp’s side played like title-winners, controlling the game, and raising the ante after a disappointing first half. They rode their luck – Eden Hazard had two gilt-edged chances soon after the Reds took a 2-0 lead, and had even one gone in, the nerves would have started to set in – but no one can say they didn’t deserve the victory.

This was the toughest fixture remaining in Liverpool’s run-in, not least because of the history of 2014. Liverpool passed the test. Over to you, Man City.

RATING – 9/10

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