Sadio Mane struck the goals and Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut as the Reds beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
After the hosts were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time - Andreas Christensen dismissed for hauling down Mane - the No.10 netted twice in four minutes early in the second half.
Alisson Becker also saved a penalty from Jorginho to add a clean sheet to an excellent afternoon for Jürgen Klopp's side.
Here is what the media made of the game...
Neil Jones, Goal.com
If ever a goal could sum up a player, this was it. Mane's pass was poor. A giveaway. He was not happy with himself. So what did he do? Stand and sulk? Look around for a teammate to blame? Not a bit of it. Liverpool's Senegalese star is not wired that way. Instead, Mane hared after the ball, following it as Kurt Zouma rolled it back to Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal. Kepa's intention to pass out was good, but Mane read it, stretching out a foot to intercept, then firing the loose ball into the unguarded net with the goalkeeper scrambling. Two-nil Liverpool. Game, set, match. It took Mane only 10 minutes, either side of half-time, to bend this game to his will. His first goal was a gem, created by lovely slick interplay between Salah and Firmino, with the latter's cross headed powerfully past Kepa by Mane, whose movement in the box was too much for Chelsea right-back Reece James. Four minutes later came Kepa's howler. You do not relax or take risks with Mane around.
Ian Doyle, Liverpool Echo
Thiago instantly demonstrated why the initial £20million the Premier League champions have paid for his services has been lauded as a steal. Anyone who witnessed Bayern Munich bludgeon their way to Champions League success last season, or watched him in action for Spain, will have known what to expect. Thiago isn't one to stand on ceremony. With such a solid first touch and range of vision, the ball isn't at his feet for long, fed to a teammate with metronomic accuracy. No sooner does he have it, then it's gone. There is an effortless ease to his play and, like all good players, when he wants time in possession, he appears able to instinctively find it. And talk about accurate. Thiago completed more passes – 75 – than any other Chelsea player managed during the entire match. And since such Premier League statistics started to be compiled in 2003, it's the most made by any player who has been on the pitch a maximum of 45 minutes.
John Cross, Daily Mirror
The big question all summer has been whether Liverpool can retain their title. They delivered the answer in the most emphatic fashion at Stamford Bridge with a ruthless, clinical and brilliant victory which shows they are still the team to beat. Mane scored two remarkable goals to carry on his unstoppable title-winning form from last season but it also highlighted the value of re-energising the squad. Thiago Alcantara was a half time substitute and the £20m midfielder showed his quality. The Spain midfielder was magnificent as he was always in space to receive the ball, pick a pass and give another dimension to Jurgen Klopp's side. He looked like an orchestra conducting a symphony.
Barney Ronay, The Guardian
There has been a temptation to worry away at this Liverpool team. The start of the season was marked by vague talk about front-three dependence, driven not by any diminishing powers but by the sheer volume of football played by that well-seasoned Mo-Mané-Bobby front three. There is something a little counterintuitive about this. Liverpool's front three do play a lot. They play a lot because – let's be quite clear – they're brutally, relentlessly good. There is a kind of paradox to this. The Premier League is a notoriously reactive place. Opponents learn your strengths, find ways to mitigate and diminish them. So what's going on here? It's been three seasons, chaps, and they're still doing pretty much the same thing, still moving the same way, still combining in the same patterns. Mané in particular was brilliant at Stamford Bridge. At times this felt like a Mané highlights reel, or a Mané instructional video included with your brand new Sadio Mané. Then there was the finish for the opening goal, albeit this was a moment that highlighted above all the sublime, deceptively simple interplay between that attacking trident. If Salah doesn't get you, or Firmino, or Mané, then Salah‑Firmino-Mané probably will.
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Thiago Alcantara enjoyed an eye-catching debut for Liverpool on Sunday as he played 45 minutes of the 2-0 win at Chelsea.
Fresh from sealing his long-term deal with the Reds two days earlier, the Spain midfielder was sent on for Jordan Henderson at the halfway point of the Premier League clash.
Thiago took 88 touches and completed 75 passes during his time on the pitch – the latter identified as a record by Opta since their data collection began.
75 - Half-time substitute Thiago completed more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match. Si… https://t.co/QanYOHVbND— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 20th Sep 17:25
See every touch by Liverpool’s new No.6 at Stamford Bridge in the LFCTV GO compilation above.
App users should tap here to watch the video.
Enjoy this clip and all the action from Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool on LFCTV GO now. Use code 2021GOFREE to start a free one-month trial – this can be cancelled at any time.
Virgil van Dijk hailed what he considered a Man of the Match display by Fabinho after the Brazilian deputised at centre-back against Chelsea.
With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, Fabinho dropped into central defence alongside Van Dijk.
He turned in a typically composed performance to help the Reds on their way to a 2-0 victory over the Blues – and Van Dijk paid tribute to his teammate post-match.
“Outstanding,” the Dutchman told Liverpoolfc.com of Fabinho, who topped his side’s totals for tackles (four), interceptions (four) and possession gains (12) on the day.
“I just told him as well I think he was Man of the Match. To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.
“Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone. We are a bit unlucky with the injuries now but we’ll need everyone back because it’s such a long season.”
Liverpool had been on the front foot for much of a goalless opening half in London and their pursuit of a breakthrough was aided by the red card to Andreas Christensen a minute before the interval.
Their extra man swiftly told in the second period, with Sadio Mane scoring twice in four minutes – though the Reds did require Alisson Becker to save a Jorginho penalty late on.
Van Dijk described the win as ‘massive’.
“It was always going to be tough, no matter the circumstances, no matter how they play or who was playing,” said the No.4.
“It was a good performance overall. It’s not nice to give a penalty away and it was bit unlucky from Thiago [Alcantara], I think. But overall we dominated.
“Obviously the red card helps a little bit, we can’t deny that, but even before that we created moments of danger and we were very concentrated and very ready to get the good result.”
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch the goals, extended highlights and exclusive reaction from Liverpool's 2-0 win at Chelsea on LFCTV GO now.
A brace from Sadio Mané saw Liverpool continue their winning start to their title defence with a 2-0 win over 10 man Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Reds, who handed a debut to Thiago off the bench, were comfortable throughout — despite conceding a penalty which Alisson saved — and Andreas Christensen’s red card, for an utterly stupid foul on Mané, paved their path to a win.
From the get-go it was clear that the hosts game plan was to stymie the Reds attack and keep men behind the ball.
Nothing of note happened in the first half-hour of the game, with Liverpool monopolising possession of the ball in front of a packed and passive Blues defence.
The closest we came to a goal was when a fortuitous ricochet saw Mohamed Salah outsprint Kepa near the right-hand touchline. The Egyptian crossed towards the unguarded goal but Roberto Firmino’s attempts to get to the ball were cleared by Christensen.
Pre-game knocks to Joel Matip and Joe Gomez saw Fabinho deputise at centre half and the Brazilian coped admirably with the infrequent attacks of Chelsea — usually consisting of a clipped ball behind for Timo Werner — with the visitors rarely looking threatened in a half that blew into action just as it was about to end.
Jordan Henderson’s sublimely executed knuckleball pass sent Mané hurtling behind the hosts defensive line and towards Kepa, who was haring off his line. Christensen, though, with a tackle straight from the Rugby textbook, wrestled the Senegalese international to the floor. After consulting V.A.R., the referee had little option but to brandish the red card.
Chelsea saw it through to half time without conceding, but it was clear that a hard task had become much more difficult.
It didn’t take for the Reds — who introduced Thiago after Henderson complained about tightness in his thigh — to make their man advantage count after the interval.
After a second phase from a set-piece, Firmino played a give and go with Trent Alexander Arnold before clipping a sumptuous cross into the six-yard box for Mané — who managed to generate a brilliant amount of power on the ball — to nod home into the left corner with aplomb.
The Reds’ number 10 was at it again four minutes later, scoring a goal borne out of work rate and desire.
Having initially misplaced a pass to Georginio Wijnaldum, a visibly frustrated Mané kept running and managed to charge down Kepa’s attempted clearance. Controlling the ball, the 28-year-old then fired past the hapless Spaniard to double Liverpool’s lead.
The game was effectively over as a contest but Chelsea — especially Werner — kept plugging away and the German — so long linked to the English Champions — earned Frank Lampard’s team a penalty when he was upended in the box by Thiago.
The contact was minimal and the decision could charitably be described as soft, so there was a sense of justice when Alisson — whose form hasn’t been its usual level of brilliant of late — managed to save Jorginho’s meek penalty and preserve Liverpool’s clean sheet.
With an energy-sapping season ahead of them, the defending champions were more than happy to manage the remainder of the game and save as much energy as possible.
With Thiago prominent, the Reds were content to recycle possession and take the sting out of proceedings with Tammy Abraham’s shot — which Alisson excellently parried — the only instance of panic in the remainder of a game which petered out thanks to Liverpool’s mature game management.
Tougher games against 11 men will lie ahead, but Jurgen Klopp can take great encouragement from the win, the clean sheet and the adaptation to centre half of Fabinho in one of the most difficult away days in the league.
Liverpool Team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Fabinho, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Substitutes: Milner for Keïta, Thiago for Henderson, Minamino for Firmino.
Unused Subs: Adrian, Williams, Tsimikas, Origi, Jones.
Goals: Mane 50′ 54′
Premier League, Stamford Bridge
20 September, 2020
Meanwhile, the Brazilian was unbeatable at the back, winning two early challenges against Timo Werner and then mopping up everything second half.
One recovery was particularly impressive and important, while of course his passing out of the back line was as impressive as it usually is further forward.
It’s important to remember that, while the options looked thin on the ground at kick-off, neither Matip nor Gomez will likely be out long and a couple of youngsters lie in wait for minutes, too.
Liverpool will cope, one way or another, if we have to stick with three centre-backs for the season.
Or maybe Schalke’s Ozan Kabak will just arrive in a few days anyway – either way, don’t panic!Thiago’s debut
We might not have expected to see him so quickly, but Thiago Alcantara made his Reds bow in the second half, just a day or so after signing from Bayern Munich.
He was a half-time replacement for Jordan Henderson, who was worryingly taken off with a thigh issue, and it will have intrigued Reds to note him slotting straight into the deepest role in midfield.
Many have thought he is being brought in to play further forward, and perhaps over time he will, but his first job was to dictate the Reds’ play from deep and with time and space, given Chelsea were down to 10 men.
On the ball he was predictably heavily involved, making a few neat through-balls without ever really threatening to create the expected 20 assists in 45 minutes of play.
Off the ball we saw the less-appreciated side of Thiago‘s game: work rate, fiercely combative play and the willingness to make big, aggressive challenges.
He gave away a penalty – he owes Alisson a Bavarian stein of beer for the save – and crunched Timo Werner again soon after, so there’s no toning down of that side of his game after moving to England.Super Sadio
Work rate, goals, class, speed, movement, points.
Sadio Mane really does offer the lot, and here he was the defining character of the match once again.
The No. 10 was a little off the boil against Leeds in terms of his penalty box work, but here he completely tore Chelsea apart.
Several early runs offered promise, before one sprint infield led to the red card prior to half-time, hauled down by Christensen just as he would have lobbed Kepa.
Two quickfire goals after the break showed more of his best traits, with that relentless running off the ball the main attribute which makes Mane an irrepressible talent.A tale of two keepers
Kepa made a couple of good saves, but the fact he’s such a loose cannon and can waver from good to garbage in the space of half an hour is exactly why he’s nowhere near an elite goalkeeper.
They all make passing errors these days, and that was a killer for the game, but he’d also already been caught out in a foot race with Salah.
Meanwhile, a couple of naughty individuals had dared to suggest Alisson wasn’t quite at his peak, so this was a well-timed clean sheet – and a Mignolet-esque penalty save.
No first-choice pairing in front of him, a couple of good claims and a late save to his left all added up to a good, if quiet, outing for Ali, plus his delight in the celebration for the pen save was clear for all to see.Now the workload really begins
Two games in one week! What an easy start to the season. Now that’s all over and done with and it really cranks up a notch.
We face three games in nine days next, before an international break, and then it’s every three or four days again until the end of eternity – or the next international break, which seems to take an eternity.
Jurgen Klopp will have to rotate a little more, chances will come to those who have watched on so far, but the winning run needs to continue.
Great start and two from two for the Reds.
The Reds may have made the trip to Stamford Bridge to face a side with a new look attack without two senior centre-back options, but it was to be a straightforward win for Klopp’s men.
A red card the way of Andreas Christensen on the cusp of half time allowed Liverpool to flex their dominance once more in the second, where Thiago made his mark on debut.
But it was to be Sadio Mane who would wrap up all three points to take back to Anfield after two wonderfully constructed goals, leaving his manager delighted with the result and overall performance from his side – which included an Alisson penalty save.
“I liked this performance a lot. Three points, we showed everyone we are ready,” Klopp told reporters after the game.
“For ourselves to just really feel the way we play and improve. We can be successful if we just continue to grow on the pitch.
“Chelsea away will always be one of the most difficult games we play.”
Henderson’s withdrawal at half time with what was a reported “tight thigh” made way for Thiago‘s debut, one which led to the Spaniard breaking the record for successful passes in a performance of 45 minutes or less since records began in the Premier League in 2003.
“We signed Thiago for different reasons and only one of them is [for] against deep-defending sides,” he added.
“We improved in that department a lot, I have to say, with all of the players who were already there before. But, yes, it is something that suits him, it is natural to him.”
The boss also commended the outing of Mane and Fabinho, two players key to securing Liverpool’s second win of the season.
Next on the agenda is a trip to Lincoln City for the third round of the League Cup on Thursday evening.
It is a familiar situation for the Cameroonian, who has struggled to avoid these setbacks for much of his four years with the Reds so far—particularly last season, when he managed just 13 appearances.
This latest blow highlights the precarious situation for Liverpool at centre-back, and raises the question of whether another signing if required.
Perhaps timely, then, is the fact that Matip will not recover until after the transfer window closes, with Klopp not expecting his No. 32 to be available again until the Merseyside derby on October 17 at the earliest.
Fortunately, Gomez’s problem is not so severe, and the 23-year-old could be back in the side for Thursday night’s League Cup tie at Lincoln.
“Joe actually should be fine, it was not a big one, but we have to see. He should be fine tomorrow already, or Tuesday,” Klopp told LFCTV.
“With Joel, it could be slightly different. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but a few weeks, a couple of weeks, probably after the international break he will be ready again.
“So we have to see. It’s not cool, but it’s crazy. One day and then bam, bam.
“Luckily we have Fabinho, and he played an exceptional game, so that was really, really nice.”
Matip would have been expected to provide experience at the back against Lincoln if fit, but now Klopp could turn to Gomez as his senior centre-back, perhaps alongside Koumetio.
It could prove that Klopp’s projected return date for Matip proves hopeful, as though an optimistic approach is preferred, the defender’s track record over the past year has not been encouraging.
When fit, Matip is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, and it is this fact that prompted Liverpool to hand him a new five-year contract 11 months ago.
That ensures that Klopp is not set to give up on the former Schalke man any time soon, but it is a growing concern that Matip is injured more than he is available.
Sadio Mane felt Liverpool were worthy winners as his second-half brace earned a 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
The Senegal international struck twice in four minutes after the break at Stamford Bridge – and had also been fouled in the incident that saw Andreas Christensen sent off on 44 minutes – to give the Reds maximum points in the Premier League.
Post-match, Mane reflected on the details of the win with Sky Sports and offered a glowing assessment of the 45-minute debut for new signing Thiago Alcantara…
On his own positive influence on the game…
Obviously it was a top game, to be honest. It was a top game. Especially in the first half, we found it very difficult to create chances and I think when they got the red card, it made it easier. The second half, we created many chances and finally we scored two goals. I think today we deserved to win.
On the incident that led to Christensen’s red card and the pass from Jordan Henderson…
Yeah, it was a great ball from him. A great player. I know him, I know at that moment the only choice he has to do is to put the ball in and he is very good at it. So, I try to make the runs and he put the ball in front of me. When he made a foul I knew it was a red card, I even told him: ‘My friend, it’s a red card.’ After, the referee gave him a red card; so, lucky for us.
On the anger at giving the ball away that motivated his closing down for the second goal…
Yeah, sure, these kinds of things are always what we try on the training pitch. When he got the ball, I knew it will be difficult for him to have an option, the only choice was to shoot it. So I was in front of him and he tried to pass it. Unluckily for him, he made a mistake. Lucky for me and I scored a second goal for my team.
On the debut of Thiago…
75 - Half-time substitute Thiago completed more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match. Si… https://t.co/QanYOHVbND— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 20th Sep 17:25
Not only me, all the world knows what he is capable of doing. He is one of the best players in the world, so we are lucky to have Thiago in our team. And I think today he showed that he is a great player.