Style is secondary for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp insists points mean prizes

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Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side do not have to compete with Manchester City‘s style as they restored their five-point gap at the top of the Premier League.

Klopp’s side won their 15th league game in a row at Chelsea as first-half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino set up a 2-1 win.

It came 24 hours after reigning champions City posted a club-record Premier League win when they beat Watford 8-0 and this fascinating battle between to two teams continues.

Their win at Stamford Bridge was far from pretty and they were hanging on at the end after N’Golo Kante’s fine goal got Chelsea back in it.

Klopp, who watched City’s highlights after training on Saturday, says it is points that matter and that is where Liverpool have the early advantage.

Asked what he thought of City’s win, the German replied: “I wanted to see the goals. I saw a 2:50 summary when we left the training pitch. I saw eight goals and three times the woodwork.

“I have to watch fully to really understand it. If it can happen against anyone it can happen against City. It happened to us a few years ago when we lost 5-0.

“I said it before, they are the best team in the world. I don’t want to put pressure on Pep (Guardiola), they are brilliant in moments – we are not bad as well.

“This type of football not a lot of teams can play, but we play in our way, we try to win football games. In the end we need to get the points, there is no competition in technical things, it is about the points.

“I still don’t see that it is only two teams. At the moment we don’t have to think about it. It’s matchday six, we are talking about the title with 32 games to go, I think that it is a bit early.”

It looked like being a routine three-point haul for the Reds as Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant free-kick was added to by Firmino’s free header.

Chelsea, who had a goal ruled out by VAR at 1-0, did not wilt after the break, though, and Kante’s fine individual strike had Liverpool hanging on.

“It was very good in moments, Chelsea had their moments of course because they are so good,” Klopp said.

“We scored two wonderful goals, we had a lot of brilliant pressing situations but we didn’t use the ball well enough.

“After half-time we had two big chances and it could have been three or four but we didn’t score.

“When Kante scored his great goal it was game on. It’s a difficult place to come, it’s a while ago that we won here. It’s a big win.

“The boys did really well, they fought really hard. I don’t think there is any other way to win here. It’s a big win.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Exuberant Chelsea make Liverpool sweat but shoddy defending holding them back

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Jurgen Klopp’s reached that point in his Liverpool career where he must feel ever so comfortable. He’s had enough time at Anfield to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and so satisfied is he with the end result that the thought of making additions to his squad over the summer was not at all appealing.

His team not only employs the attractive brand of football he’s always preached, but has also had time to mature tremendously within the system and now control games more often than not with oppositions rendered helpless against their staunch defence and irresistible attack.

However, this was not the case in his 150th Premier League match as manager and neither he nor his team were ever made to feel ‘comfortable’ at Stamford Bridge.

The results will reflect that the Reds came away with a sixth victory in as many league games this season as was expected going into the weekend. But the 2-1 win at Chelsea was hardly straightforward.

On the balance of play, you could even argue that Frank Lampard’s young side, that’s enduring a season of transition, were the better team.

Liverpool scored their goals from two set-pieces. Trent Alexander-Arnold first dispatched his free-kick from the edge of the box emphatically with a little lay-off from Mohamed Salah in the 14th minute.

Roberto Firmino’s header then doubled their advantage after half an hour with Andrew Robertson’s delivery from the left setting him up.

Before the Brazilian’s goal though, Chelsea had began to fight their way back into the contest and Tammy Abraham was even played clean through on goal but couldn’t get his effort past Adrian when a square ball to Mason Mount was also on.

They even restored parity momentarily before VAR intervened. The home team carved Liverpool open with a fine move before Cesar Azpilicueta applied the finishing touch only for the goal to be ruled out for an offside against Mount in the build-up.

Moments later, Firmino put the visitors 2-0 up.

The hosts even had to cope with injuries to Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen in the opening 45 minutes but Liverpool’s two-goal lead at the break seemed a little generous.

Lampard urges his side to play quick, attacking football and while they created a host of chances in the first half, they certainly upped the ante after the restart.

In fact they ended the game with 13 efforts at goal to Liverpool’s six and after N’Golo Kante halved the deficit with a superb individual strike in the 71st minutes, they have every right to feel aggrieved not to at least earn a draw.

Such a fearless performance comes against a phenomenal Liverpool side who reigned supreme in Europe last season and pushed the mighty Manchester City all the way in the league. Pep Guardiola has even gone as far as to say that the Merseyside Reds are one of the best teams he’s ever seen.

Yet, they were made to sweat in west London and cling on to the result at the death with Klopp bringing on an extra centre-back in Joe Gomez for Salah to see out the result.

Chelsea deserve huge credit for their part in this encounter and some of their attacking play was truly exhilarating. That 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford in the opening round now seems like a distant memory.

That said, they were undone by their own shortcomings in defence against Liverpool. And as much as the attacking play is a joy to watch, that must be a huge source of frustration for their fans.

Christensen’s clumsy foul on the edge of his own box afforded Alexander-Arnold the opportunity to fire home while the marking was non-existent when Firmino nodded in Robertson’s free-kick delivery.

Especially given their exuberant display in the second half, Lampard – though proud of his young side no doubt – must be left wondering what could’ve been.

For Liverpool, they will be second best on the rare occasion over the course of the season but the fact they still secured the three points is hugely encouraging as they mount another title challenge.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have their eyes on the top four and with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all proving less than convincing, they have a real chance to steal a march on the competition.

They’re the only ones standing in their way.

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Pressure builds on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Marcus Rashford limps off in Man Utd’s loss at West Ham

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems are mounting after Marcus Rashford was injured during Manchester United‘s demoralising 2-0 defeat at West Ham.

The England striker limped off with a groin problem during the second half as United’s lack of options in attack were laid bare.

With Anthony Martial still injured and youngster Mason Greenwood ill, Jesse Lingard had to fill in up front against the Hammers.

The winger may also find himself doing so against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday and, more worryingly for Solskjaer, when Arsenal visit on Monday week.

There could also be repercussions for England, who face Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria next month.

Rashford will have a scan on Monday but Solskjaer admitted: “He’ll probably be out for a while.”

The 21-year-old’s absence will raise more questions about United’s summer transfer business, when they failed to bring in a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.

Of just as much concern for Solskjaer is their away form. United have not won on their travels in the Premier League since February – a run of seven matches equalling an unwanted club record.

The Norwegian’s predecessor Jose Mourinho stuck the boot in on Sky Sports, claiming he saw no improvements from last season.

“He’s got the right to his opinion,” said Solskjaer, before pointing out Mourinho’s United also lost at West Ham last year.

Andriy Yarmolenko broke the deadlock with a peach of a strike just before half-time, and Aaron Cresswell finished United off with a stunning late free-kick.

“It was a game that could have gone both ways,” Solskjaer said.

“The key moments, they grasped and we didn’t. I have to say two fantastic finishes from two good left feet. And we didn’t take our chances when we had them.

“It’s one of those moments. We’ve historically had loads of centre-backs struggling with injuries over the years.

“At the moment it’s the strikers. That’s just how it’s gone. Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for the Arsenal game, and at least one of them for Rochdale.”

Life looks far brighter for West Ham, whose captain Mark Noble this week claimed they could even break into the top four this season.

They are certainly heading in the right direction after a hard-fought third win in four matches, and a third consecutive clean sheet.

“I’m very happy about all of today,” manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “The way we played – I always talk with the players that we must have the mentality to play the same way we work during the week.

“It doesn’t matter if we play United or against every big team. We must trust that we are able to beat them.”

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