Liverpool thump Chelsea to stay five points clear at the top

Liverpool retained their advantage at the top of the Premier League table with a dominant 4-1 win over Chelsea at Anfield.

Diogo Jota opened the scoring with a solo effort before Conor Bradley scored his first senior goal for Liverpool to leave Chelsea behind at the break for the first time in the Premier League this season.

Darwin Nunez hit the post with a penalty before the half was over, one of four occasions on which he struck the woodwork – the most on record in a Premier League game.

Jurgen Klopp did not have to wait long to see his side make it three in his first Premier League game since announcing his decision to leave at the end of the season, Dominic Szoboszlai heading in midway through the second half.

Christopher Nkunku pulled one back for Mauricio Pochettino’s side and was very unlucky not to be awarded a penalty soon after but Luis Diaz ended any hope of a comeback with the fourth.

The result sees Chelsea stay 10th in the table, their best hope of a successful season likely to come in the Carabao Cup final next month. Unfortunately for them, their opponents at Wembley will be this in-form Liverpool – still five points clear at the top.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (6), Bradley (8), Konate (6), Van Dijk (5), Gomez (6), Jones (7), Mac Allister (7), Szoboszlai (7), Jota (8), Nunez (7), Diaz (7).

Subs: Gakpo (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Robertson (6), Elliott (6), Clark (n/a).

Chelsea: Petrovic (6), Disasi (5), Thiago Silva (5), Badiashile (4), Chilwell (5), Caicedo (5), Gallagher (5), Fernandez (6), Madueke (5), Palmer (6), Sterling (5).

Subs: Mudryk (5), Nkunku (7), Gusto (7), Chukwuemeka (7), Casadei (n/a).

Player of the match: Conor Bradley.

How Liverpool won it at Anfield

Chelsea had the first of their penalty claims in the early stages when Virgil van Dijk checked the run of Conor Gallagher inside the box but that was anything but indicative of what was to come as Liverpool took complete charge of the contest thereafter.

Nunez had a left-footed shot saved onto the post by Djordje Petrovic but Klopp was celebrating soon after. Jota’s determined solo run saw him dart between Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva before slotting home left-footed into the corner.

Team news

  • Jurgen Klopp made one change to the Liverpool team that beat Bournemouth in their previous Premier League game with Dominic Szoboszlai coming in for Harvey Elliott.
  • Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to the Chelsea team that beat Fulham in their previous Premier League game. In came Benoit Badiashile, Ben Chilwell and Noni Madueke.

The Blues had not even mustered a shot when Bradley added a second. Diaz slid him in down the right channel but the young full-back, having got the run on Raheem Sterling, had plenty left to do. His finish was perfect, beyond Petrovic and into the far corner.

If only Nunez was so accurate. It was another boisterous performance by the Uruguayan forward – everything but the goal. When Jota was caught by Badiashile inside the box, Nunez had the chance to make it three but struck the upright instead.

Pochettino made a triple substitution for the second half and it almost paid off instantly when two of the new arrivals combined. Malo Gusto crossed into the path of Mykhailo Mudryk but the winger’s finish was all wrong, stabbing the ball well over the bar.

It was against the run of play because Liverpool did not relent in their pursuit of goals, Nunez racking up the shots. But it was Szoboszlai who found the third, nodding in from close range to convert Bradley’s right-wing cross. The youngster received an ovation when subbed.

Nkunku, the third of the half-time substitutes, found space and a nice finish to score and should surely have won a penalty when Van Dijk kicked his standing foot inside the area but VAR failed to intervene. When Diaz converted Nunez’s cross, Liverpool had it won.

It ends a run of seven consecutive draws between these teams, four of them goalless, and is ominous for Chelsea ahead of that Wembley meeting. With Liverpool still unbeaten at Anfield this season, their form is ominous for their Premier League title rivals too.

FPL stats: Liverpool vs Chelsea

Goals Jota, Bradley, Szoboszlai, Nkunku, Diaz,
Assists Bradley (2), Diaz, Chukwuemeka, Nunez
Bonus points Bradley (3), Diaz (2), Szoboszlai (1)
Missed penalty Nunez

Liverpool’s win in stats

  • No Premier League team has lost more away games in all competitions since the start of last season than Chelsea, with the Blues now losing six of their last seven on the road.
  • This was Liverpool’s biggest margin of victory in a Premier League game against Chelsea since May 2012, when they beat the Blues 4-1 at Anfield under Kenny Dalglish.
  • Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp became the seventh manager to win 200 Premier League games, with only Pep Guardiola doing so in fewer matches.
  • Conor Bradley became the youngest Liverpool player to both score and assist a goal in a Premier League match since Raheem Sterling in 2014.
  • Darwin Nunez became the first player on record to hit the woodwork four times in a single Premier League match.
  • Nunez provided his 11th assist in all competitions for Liverpool this season, with only Bukayo Saka (12) providing more among Premier League players this term.

What’s next?

Sunday 4th February 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

Up next for Liverpool is a crucial trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

Meanwhile, Chelsea host Wolves, also on Sunday; kick-off 2pm.

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