Chelsea's title ambitions suffered a reality check with a 2-0 defeat to dominant defending champions Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Sadio Mane's double capitalised on Andreas Christensen's red card and another error from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Frank Lampard's side have spent lavishly in this transfer window with a view to closing the 33-point gap which opened up between these sides last season but couldn't lay a glove on the title holders in the first half. Their task was then made so much harder in stoppage time when Christensen was sent off for hauling Mane to the ground.
That paved the way for Liverpool - who brought on new signing Thiago at half-time - to take complete control after the break and they did just that with Mane heading in Roberto Firmino's cross (50) and then chasing down Kepa's casual pass out to slot in a second (54).
Timo Werner's perseverance gave Chelsea hope of an unlikely comeback when he was tumbled in the penalty area by Thiago, but Jorginho's spot-kick was saved and Jurgen Klopp's side marched to a second straight win with a daunting performance for their title rivals.Team news
There was no place for Reuben Loftus-Cheek or Antonio Rudiger in the Chelsea squad, while Timo Werner and Kai Havertz made their home debuts.
Liverpool began with Fabinho at centre-back due to injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, while new signing Thiago started on the bench.How Liverpool put hopefuls Chelsea in their place
The last time these sides met, they played out a 5-3 thriller on the night Liverpool lifted the Premier League trophy at Anfield, but there was little sign of that cavalier play in the first-half.
Instead, with Chelsea - missing new arrivals Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva and key man Christian Pulisic through injury - happy to sit back and wait for opportunities to counter through Werner, there was just one shot on target during the opening period.
That came 13 minutes in, with a reminder of the air of uncertainty around Kepa. The Chelsea goalkeeper misguidedly chased a deflection to the side of his area, was beaten to the ball by Mohamed Salah and looked on thankfully as Christensen got back to block Roberto Firmino's shot.More on this story Image: Andreas Christensen looks to Referee Paul Tierney after fouling Sadio Mane
But Christensen went from hero to villain for Chelsea and left them facing the entire second half with 10 men after rugby-tackling Mane to the floor as he ran through on goal. Referee Paul Tierney initially brandished a yellow card but upgraded it to a red after consulting the pitch-side monitor.Player ratings
Chelsea: Kepa (4), James (5), Christensen (3), Zouma (5), Alonso (5), Jorginho (5), Kante (6), Kovacic (6), Mount (6), Havertz (5), Werner (6).
Subs: Tomori (6), Abraham (n/a), Barkley (n/a)
Liverpool: Alisson (8), Alexander-Arnold (6), Fabinho (8), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Wijnaldum (8), Keita (5), Henderson (6), Salah (6), Mane (9), Firmino (7).
Subs: Thiago (6), Milner (6), Minamino (n/a)
Man of the match: Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
While Chelsea subbed off expensive new signing Kai Havertz for defender Fikayo Tomori, Liverpool's new man Thiago came on for his debut at the start of the second half and typically took charge of the midfield as the visitors asserted their control.
The Reds made that superiority count just five minutes after the restart when Firmino played a one-two with Salah around Marcos Alonso and Mane headed home the Brazilian's cross.Image: Sadio Mane heads Liverpool into a 1-0 lead
Just four minutes later their advantage was doubled when Mane chased down the ball after giving up possession and intercepted Kepa's pass before slotting past the stranded and under-pressure goalkeeper.Image: Sadio Mane reacts quickest to a mistake by Kepa Arrizabalaga to make it 2-0
Despite Liverpool's authority, Chelsea came close to getting back into the match with a couple of rare forays forward. First Mason Mount saw a dipping effort clip the roof of the net and then Werner won a penalty from Thiago's clumsy clip but Jorginho failed to find the net from the penalty spot for the first time in the Premier League.
Salah almost made it three with the final kick of the game but shot straight at Kepa, but regardless of the modest scoreline, this was a resounding response from the champions to their ambitious opponents.Man of the Match: Sadio Mane 2:01 Liverpool forward Sadio Mane says that his side deserved to beat Chelsea and that Andreas Christensen's sending off was the correct decision in their 2-0 win the Premier League.
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:
"I said he was the best player last year. To be fair, Kevin de Bruyne got player of the year and I think Jordan Henderson got the other one, but certainly for me I thought Sadio Mane was Liverpool's best player and he'd have been very close in the running.
"He's certainly one of the best left-sided attacking players in world football. I love him. I say it all the time and it's well-documented. I always go back to Mane as he was the first big signing for Jurgen Klopp.
"That signing got Liverpool into the Champions League in Liverpool's first full season, and without that, I don't think it goes on from there. Then, other players come, more revenue comes into the club but he was the one who came in and has been a constant since day one with Jurgen Klopp and is an absolute superstar."What the managers said... 2:56 Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says there were still lots of positives to take from the game despite being beaten 2-0 at home to Liverpool in the Premier League.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: "[I was happy about] our defensive game. I wanted them to be better on the ball. We showed moments on the counter-attack where we dangerous. But to limit them to the opportunities they got in the first-half, there were lots of things I was pleased about. The red card changed the team talk. They can be given or not - I'm not going to complain too much.
"I'm disappointed to lose three points but I'm happier today in many ways than I was in Brighton. Today I saw spirit, a desire to defend by a lot of our players. The players should take heart.
"It's how we go forward from here now. Every team that has been successful in the modern day has had time, has had a process. Our process starts here. Now it's a new start, our objectives are higher, our expectations are higher, fine. But it will take some time."4:30 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that it was a challenging game against a good Chelsea team, and he was pleased with his side's performance in particular Fabhino, who played at centre-back in their 2-0 win in the Premier League.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "Super game. Really good game from both teams. I like our game a lot. Chelsea are a top side. Our own football I liked in the first half, really good situations, passed through the line but we didn't score.
"After the red card, the second half is a different game. We kept the ball rolling, let them run, scored the goals, conceded a penalty, Ali saved it, so all good. Everybody had a hand in the result."Analysis: Kepa 'going through a nightmare'
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:
"As players, you go through tough times at different times in his career and you actually feel a bit sorry for Kepa now. There's a new goalkeeper that looks like he's coming in so I don't think there's much more we can say about the goalkeeper.
"It must be tough for him and he's going through a really tough period. Our job is to be critical at times, but I remember when I went through a similar period earlier in my career. It wasn't going great and he's going through his own nightmare at the moment."Analysis: No doubt it was a red card
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp:
"I have no doubt in my mind that Mane would've got to the ball and taken it away from Kepa so it's definitely a red card. Christensen is static and by the time he moves it's too late. It gave Liverpool such momentum for the second half."Analysis: Performance of champions from Liverpool
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher.
"Coming into this game there were a few question marks against Liverpool. There was the feeling this would be a tough game.
"But they put in the sort of performance that champions do."Image: Jorginho sees his penalty saved by Alisson Opta stats
Live Premier LeagueSaturday 26th September 5:00pm
Live MNFMonday 28th September 8:00pm What's next?
Chelsea face Barnsley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening and then travel to West Brom on Saturday, live on Sky Sports. Liverpool face Lincoln in the Carabao Cup on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, and then take on Arsenal on Monday Night Football in the Premier League on September 28, also live on Sky Sports.
Sadio Mane scored both goals as Liverpool made it two wins out of two this season by beating 10-man Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.
In the closing moments of a first half the Reds had the better of, Andreas Christensen denied Mane a clear goalscoring opportunity and was dismissed.
And Jürgen Klopp’s men quickly made their numerical advantage show on the scoreboard when the sides returned, with Mane heading in a first and pouncing on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s error for a second moments later.
Alisson Becker had to stop a Jorginho penalty 15 minutes from time to prevent any hope of a Chelsea comeback – and Liverpool eased home to maintain their winning start to 2020-21.
Klopp made one, enforced change to his XI from last weekend, with Fabinho brought in at centre-half in the absence of the injured Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Thiago Alcantara was among the substitutes after completing his move to Liverpool on Friday, while fellow new signing Kostas Tsimikas took a place on the bench too.
Liverpool started on the front foot in the opening 10 minutes, pressing high and enjoying greater possession, and those early stages set a tone for much of the first half at Stamford Bridge.
Their first real opportunity came from a fortuitous spin of the ball, though.
Jordan Henderson’s block challenge on Reece James in midfield sent it careering out towards Mohamed Salah on the right edge of the box and the Reds No.11 took the chance to carry it around the oncoming Kepa.
But his attempted square for Roberto Firmino to tap in from yards out was foiled by the recovering Christensen.
Fabinho adeptly snuffed out a threatening Timo Werner surge at the edge of the area before the Chelsea forward nudged a low, bobbling shot wide of the right post from 20 yards.
A crisp Liverpool attack that saw Trent Alexander-Arnold’s sweeping cross pick out Salah inside the box and the latter drive a pass across goal did not end with a teammate capitalising.
From a similar Henderson delivery into the left channel, Andy Robertson was in space to line up a first-time strike – but the left-back hit the ball into the ground and off target.
The half would ultimately conclude without an indent on the scoresheet but not before the complexion of the contest was altered significantly by a red card.
Collecting Alisson’s roll out, Henderson spotted – and brilliantly engineered – a straight pass over the top to marry with Mane’s run off the left, and Christensen wrestled the No.10 to the ground as he was primed to run on goal.
Having initially shown Christensen a yellow card, referee Paul Tierney reviewed the incident via VAR and judged the foul worthy of a sending-off.
Thiago replaced Henderson at the outset of the second half, making his Liverpool debut just two days after sealing his permanent switch from Bayern Munich.
And the visitors produced the desired breakthrough within five minutes of the restart.
Lovely approach work by Firmino and Salah at the right corner of the Chelsea area released the former near the byline and his excellent cross was beautifully angled inside the left post by the head of Mane.
It was soon 2-0.
Mane’s determined closing down of Kepa reaped rewards when he managed to block the Blues goalkeeper’s attempted play out, allowing the Liverpool man to swipe home a finish on the turn.
Georginio Wijnaldum was denied a third by the feet of Kepa when he tried to rifle a low hit into the net from the right, while Mason Mount was inches over with a curler from range at the other end.
The Reds’ comfort was ruffled when Thiago was penalised for clipping Werner inside the box as the Chelsea man dribbled in off the flank, but Alisson went the correct way and palmed Jorginho’s spot-kick away.
Alisson had to repel a dangerous Tammy Abraham effort, too, but Klopp’s charges saw out the remainder to make it a maximum six points in the Premier League.
Jürgen Klopp has provided further detail on the absence of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The centre-backs were ruled out of the Premier League clash with Chelsea due to minor injury issues, with Fabinho therefore partnering Virgil van Dijk in defence.
Asked what led to Gomez and Matip being sidelined, Klopp told Sky Sports: “Not a lot, but enough.
“So, Joe is not a real concern – it’s probably only today. Same with Billy [Koumetio].
“With Joel, we have to see – it could take a few days longer. [It’s] muscle. After injuries that’s how it is. He looked perfect in the pre-season since he trained. But now he got a little problem and we have to react, so that’s how it is. That’s why we start how we start.”
Liverpool travel to Frank Lampard’s free-spending Chelsea for the Reds’ first away game of the season. We’re live to bring you the latest.
Kickoff at Stamford Bridge is 4.30pm (UK), the referee is Paul Tierney.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, James, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount, Havertz, Werner
Subs: Caballero, Barkley, Abraham, Tomori, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, AzpilicuetaTry free for 30 days.
Our coverage updates automatically below:
Koumetio, who is effectively fifth-choice centre-back after his impressive rise in pre-season, was also absent with a minor problem, which highlighted the issue that could prompt Liverpool to sign another defender before October 5.
But speaking ahead of kickoff, Klopp stressed that neither Gomez and Koumetio were a “real concern.”
However, the manager seemed less convincing on Matip’s fitness, and while he simply said “it could take a few days longer,” this is often the case with the No. 32.
“Joe is not a real concern, it’s probably only today. Same with Billy,” he explained.
“With Joel, we have to see. It could take a few days longer. [It’s a] muscle [problem]. After injuries that’s how it is.
“He looked perfect in the pre-season since he trained. But now he got a little problem and we have to react, so that’s how it is. That’s why we start how we start.”
Liverpool are claimed to have made an approach for Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak this week, and though Fabinho is a comfortable stand-in, Sunday’s situation perfectly outlines why another established option could be useful.
Matip is too often out with minor problems, and while Gomez has largely overcome his issues, which were majoratively impact injuries, there are concerns over his durability, too.
By the same token, Gomez’s shaky displays at the back suggested the need for genuine competition from Matip, and if the Cameroonian is on the treatment table, that is clearly not the case.
This could indicate that the manager trusts the 17-year-old to step in when required, and that he would likely have made the matchday squad if fit.
The Reds are on the road for the first time in 2020/21, meeting a Chelsea side who have made an abundance of changes throughout the summer.
And following on from Liverpool’s opening day victory against Leeds, there have been two new faces added to the fold at Anfield with both Thiago and Diogo Jota making the move from Bayern Munich and Wolves respectively.
While having been registered in time, our new No. 6 will settle for a place on the bench for this afternoon’s proceedings.
A stern test awaits against one of the teams tipped to be competing for the title this season and Klopp has been forced into a change at the back.
Alisson starts in between the sticks, with a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson sat ahead of him – with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip both not included in the matchday squad due to “minor” issues.
Chelsea: Kepa; James, Zouma, Christensen, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Mount, Havertz, Werner
Substitutes: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Giroud
Thiago Alcantara is named among the substitutes for Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge today.
The midfielder, who completed a transfer from Bayern Munich on Friday, makes the Reds’ matchday squad for the first time after signing a long-term deal, while Kostas Tsimikas is also on the bench.
However, Jürgen Klopp’s side are without Joe Gomez (minor knock) and Joel Matip (minor muscle issue), so Fabinho lines up alongside Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Adrian, Thiago, Milner, Jones, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi.
Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold could equal a goalscoring feat last achieved for Liverpool by Ian Rush at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The duo both scored home and away against Chelsea in the Premier League last season - with the Reds’ most prolific marksman of all, Rush, the last player to net in three consecutive league appearances versus the London club between December 1989 and October 1990.
For more pre-match facts and figures - courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea and Opta - read on…
Liverpool have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Chelsea home and away (five wins, five draws).
Indeed, the Reds have won all of the three most recent top-flight clashes. Only once since 1974 have they won four in a row, in 2012.
Mohamed Salah is one goal short of a century in English football. The No.11’s haul of 97 for Liverpool is supplemented by the two he got for Chelsea.
Salah scored a hat-trick in last weekend’s win over Leeds United. No Reds player has ever registered trebles in each of the first two league games of a season.
Jürgen Klopp has won three of his five Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge, with one draw and one defeat.
Victory on Sunday would see Klopp break the 400-point barrier with the club. Liverpool are currently on 398 points under the boss.
James Milner could play his 150th Premier League game for the Reds.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre now to follow all of the build-up, action and reaction from Stamford Bridge as Liverpool visit Chelsea in the Premier League.
In the wake of Salah’s hat-trick performance against Leeds, much has been made of his ability to succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player.
Whether the Egyptian will take up the mantle is subjective, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest he is already one of the finest in football.
Ninety-seven goals in 154 games for the club goes a long to way in highlighting why his reputation is so strong, and to notch 23 or more in each of his seasons at Anfield so far is, in Klopp’s eyes, a testament to his desire.
“He deserves credit for that,” he told reporters ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea.
“A lot of things we do help him to be the player he can be, that’s true, as a team, and he knows that. But apart from that, you need to have a specific personality to invest so much.
“And by the way, he’s not the only one in the squad who’s doing it, but he’s doing it as well.
“You asked the right question when you say he scored about 40 goals in the first season, and quite a few players would say ‘that was nice, and now let’s think about other things, how we can make life even more beautiful’, but not life on the football pitch, the other part of life.
“He’s exactly the opposite. He stayed greedy, he stayed very determined, his work rate around the games is exceptional.
“So he’s super professional, that’s the truth. If you would write a book about how to stay successful, and the training things he is doing, we are doing, in between the games, that’s one key.
“All players do what you tell them, but it’s about how important you see it yourself that it is, because that gives you a completely different mindset.
“You want to be on top of your own potential, and that’s what he wants.
“The numbers are just incredible, that’s true, and I was really happy for him for this game.
“And we said after the game, yes there were two penalties and if you didn’t see the game you would think ‘yeah, two penalties and a goal, nice’, but if you saw it, this game was a three-goal performance, 100 percent, if not more.
“So yes, good start, long may it continue.”
There have been some suggestions, however, that Salah is not fully appreciated among some sections of the Liverpool support, though after the 4-3 win over Leeds last weekend, Virgil van Dijk insisted this media-fuelled.
Klopp stressed that none within the club underestimate the importance of their No. 11, who is expected to “work his socks off” like any other player.
“I think the Liverpool supporters know exactly what we have with him,” he continued.
“I heard something that Virgil said: ‘It’s not us, it’s you’. So in the team, absolutely, [he’s appreciated] 100 percent.
“It’s not that we carry Mo because he scores so many goals in the sessions, and tell him ‘please, that’s your spot, now finish the situation off’.
“Everybody expects from him, like everybody else, that he works his socks off in each session.
“That’s the truth, but that doesn’t mean that we appreciate 100 percent what we have with him.
“[It is] exactly the same with the other players. Because I think that the last year, everybody was saying Sadio Mane, and what a player he is.
“Now he didn’t score three goals in the first game, and now we put one on the pedestal and forget the other one, and Bobby played in between and all that stuff. So these kinds of things, we are not like this.
“We expect from them that they do their best. That’s what they deliver, and sometimes it ends up in scoring and sometimes not.
“The story this team wrote together is because they constantly push each other.
“But the appreciation between each other couldn’t be bigger, they like playing together and they really respect each other, so that’s the situation.
“I don’t know how the public sees Mo Salah actually, if you ask me then I can hear a little bit that obviously there’s different views, but I didn’t know it.”
Last Updated: 20/09/20 8:08amFrank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp face off when Chelsea host Liverpool on Sunday
Chelsea and Liverpool has been a heated rivalry during the Premier League era but the appointment of Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge appears to have added extra spice given his exchanges with Jurgen Klopp, on the touchline and in the media, in recent months.
Now, as Liverpool prepare for their first away game of their Premier League title defence, it is perhaps appropriate that they travel to Chelsea - the biggest spenders of the summer and a club aiming to close the gap on the champions to become genuine challengers this season.How the row started
Lampard was the visiting manager on the night that Liverpool celebrated their first title win in 30 years in July - and made his presence felt on the touchline with some choice words following a dispute with several figures on the opposition bench at Anfield.
"Fair play to Liverpool Football Club, they have won the league," Lampard told Sky Sports after the game. "But also do not get too arrogant with it. That was my point, but it is done."1:02 How the row between Lampard and Klopp began at Anfield last season How the row between Lampard and Klopp began at Anfield last season Response from Klopp
Klopp can be vocal on the touchline himself but did not take kindly to Lampard's decision to fan the flames after the final whistle with this accusation of arrogance.
"You cannot hit me with something like that - or my bench with something like that - because we are not arrogant," the Liverpool boss responded.
"Frank was in a really competitive mood and I respect that a lot. You can pretty much, from my point of view, say what you want in a situation like that. For me, it's after the game. It's completely over. I have said a lot in the past because it is pure emotion. But what he has to learn is to finish it with the final whistle and he did not do that.
"Speaking after it like this is not OK. Frank has to learn. He has a lot of time to learn, he is a young coach. But he has to learn."Klopp's spending claim
With the season over, all seemed to be forgotten but Klopp's decision to highlight Chelsea's spending and contrast it with that of Liverpool during the transfer window changed all that.
"We live in a world at the moment with a lot of uncertainty," Klopp explained. "For some clubs it seems to be less important how uncertain the future is - owned by countries, owned by oligarchs, that is the truth. We are a different kind of club.
"We got to the Champions League final two years ago, we won it last year, and became Premier League champions last season by being the club we are, by being led the way we are led. We cannot just change it overnight and say 'so now we want to behave like Chelsea, now we want to behave like them' now they have signed a lot of players."
Klopp was speaking in the wake of Chelsea signing Timo Werner for £50m - a deal that Liverpool found a little too rich for their tastes despite interest in the striker's talents.
With Lampard also being provided the funds to acquire Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz this summer, there is no denying that he has been backed.0:31 Kai Havertz is confident he can form an effective partnership with Germany team-mate Timo Werner at Chelsea. Kai Havertz is confident he can form an effective partnership with Germany team-mate Timo Werner at Chelsea.
However, the Chelsea boss bristles at the notion that Liverpool's journey to becoming Premier League champions did not come with considerable spending of their own.Response from Lampard
"I was less annoyed with it, I found it slightly amusing," said Lampard. "It is a fantastic story of a club - over four and a half, five years that Jurgen Klopp's been there - that have managed to get recruitment right to a really high level.
"The really smart thing they have done is believe in their coach and system for a number of years. It's a great story, but it is story that has seen money spent on players. What we have done is come off the back of a ban and tried to address the situation to improve."3:07 Lampard discusses the rivalry with Liverpool and his exchange with Klopp Lampard discusses the rivalry with Liverpool and his exchange with Klopp Does Lampard have a point?
There is some mitigation here that helps to explain Chelsea's lavish spending. As alluded to by Lampard, the club's earlier transfer ban had allowed them to stockpile funds for the summer so it was no surprise to see owner Roman Abramovich dip into the market.
It is also worth acknowledging that while Liverpool do not have the sort of external funding enjoyed by some of their rivals, this more organic growth has not prevented spending.
Alisson Becker arrived for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper when Liverpool paid £67m for his services, while the £75m paid for Virgil van Dijk was a world record for a defender.
Liverpool's brilliant front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have all proven bargains but still cost around £100m to assemble at Anfield, while Klopp boasts options in a midfield that includes no fewer than five players who cost £20m or more.5:03 Chelsea and Liverpool matches always have memorable moments - here are some of the greatest goals from their clashes Chelsea and Liverpool matches always have memorable moments - here are some of the greatest goals from their clashes But that is not the whole story
Such spending does not seem so big when the departures from Anfield are factored in. Indeed, the purchase of Van Dijk was entirely funded in the same transfer window by the huge £145m fee that Barcelona paid for Philippe Coutinho that January.
Liverpool's clever work in the market has seen them recoup money from the sale of squad players too, with Bournemouth paying big sums for Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke. Since Klopp's arrival, the club's net spend is a mere fraction of the Manchester clubs.
It is a testament to Klopp's fine work, although there is perhaps an element of self-interest in Lampard's claims that the German's success is an argument for sticking with a manager over an extended period. How he would love Chelsea to wait so long for a first trophy.
But Klopp's track record demanded time, having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund. While Lampard had lost a Championship playoff final with Derby County at Wembley, Klopp's high-profile defeat there had come in the Champions League final.Chelsea vs Liverpool
September 20, 2020, 4:00pm
Live onDownplaying the rivalry
In the immediate build-up to the game, both managers sought to calm the mood, painting this so-called rivalry as a media construction rather than a case of any genuine animosity.
"There is a lot of airtime for you to have to fill with talk of these rivalries so I understand that sometimes they can be scrutinised in every possible way," said Lampard.
"I have got a huge amount of respect for him as a manager, I always have. What he has done at Liverpool in the course of time has been incredible and that's on him as the focal point of the club. There is nothing in it for me. The competitive nature of the 90 minutes can always slightly boil over. The respect I have for Jurgen Klopp will never change."1:24 Jurgen Klopp says the signing of Thiago Alcântara was a 'win-win', with both the player and the club excited to team up Jurgen Klopp says the signing of Thiago Alcântara was a 'win-win', with both the player and the club excited to team up
Klopp has also sought to defuse the rivalry.
"When you ask me a question, I answer it and everybody takes it the way they want to take it," he added. "It might be a language issue or something. You made up a story that I said about the 'transfer behaviour of Chelsea'. What I said was in the situation we are in, we cannot deal with the situation the same as other clubs. One of them was Chelsea.
"Then you create a rivalry between Frank Lampard and me. Why? We meet two or three times a year. I respect a lot what he's doing. He's probably a really nice guy, but I don't know because I don't know him privately and he doesn't know me.
"I have no problems, none at all, with Frank Lampard."
Will the truce hold? Find out on Sunday.How to follow
Chelsea vs Liverpool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Saturday; kick-off at 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.ONE MILLION POUNDS! Can you imagine?
You read correctly. Do not miss your chance to scoop £1m for free in this week's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.
Jürgen Klopp cited professionalism and determination as two prime factors behind Mohamed Salah’s continuing excellence.
A match-winning hat-trick in last weekend’s season-opening 4-3 victory over Leeds United at Anfield took Salah to 97 goals in just 154 appearances for Liverpool.
Forty-four of those strikes came in a phenomenal debut campaign at Anfield in 2017-18, but the No.11 has maintained a remarkable performance level throughout a period during which he has been crucial in the Reds winning four major trophies.
Ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Salah’s former club Chelsea, Klopp was asked how the Egyptian has managed to sustain such impressive consistency over an extended timeframe.
“First and foremost, he deserves credit for that,” Klopp replied.
“A lot of things what we do help him to be the player he can be, that’s true, as a team, and he knows that. But apart from that you have to have a specific personality just to invest so much - and, by the way, he’s really not the only one in the squad who is doing it, but he is doing it as well.
“You asked the right question: he scored around 40 goals in his first season and quite a few players would say that’s nice and now let’s think about other things [and] about how we can make life even more beautiful but not life on the football pitch, the other part of life, and he is exactly the opposite.
“He stayed greedy, he stayed very determined. His work-rate around the games is exceptional, he is super professional, that’s the truth. And if you would write a book about how to stay successful, the training things he is doing and we are doing between the games, that’s one key.
“All players do what you tell them but it’s about how important you see it yourself that it is, because that then gives you a completely different mindset for all the stuff. You want to be on top of your own potential and that’s what he was.
“The numbers are just incredible, that’s true, and I was really happy for him for this game [against Leeds]. I said it after the game directly that yes, it was two penalties and if you didn’t see the game you would say ‘Ahh, two penalties and a goal, nice’, but if you saw it this game was a three-goal performance, 100 per cent, if not more. So, yes [a] good start [to the season]. Long may it continue.”
Diogo Jota feels Liverpool will provide him with the perfect platform to take his game onto the next level after he completed his transfer from Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
The forward signed a long-term deal with the Reds to become the club’s third incoming transfer of the window, joining Kostas Tsimikas and Thiago Alcantara.
At 23, Jota knows he still has plenty of room to develop and enhance his talents – and he is confident Anfield will prove the ideal place to do so.
Moments after signing his contract, Jota sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an exclusive interview to discuss the move.
Watch the interview in full on LFCTV GO now, or scroll down to read a full transcript...
Diogo, firstly, welcome to Liverpool Football Club. Can you describe how you’re feeling today?
Thank you. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family. All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool – the world champions – is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.
What have the last few days been like as the move drew closer?
I just wanted the deal to get done. Obviously people started to talk about that and I received a lot of messages. We were trying to get this done because obviously we want to sign the contract – that’s the big moment – and to start training with my teammates as well.
What made the challenge of Liverpool so attractive to you and your family?
It is one of the best teams in the world – the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it’s impossible to say no. So we just want to come [here], to give our best and hopefully I can become a good option for Liverpool in the future.
Why is this the right move for you now at this stage of your career?
Well, I have played two years in the Premier League now with Wolverhampton [Wanderers] so now I just feel like it is a good moment to come here, to play Champions League again. It is massive for me but I think I am ready for this new chapter.
Do you feel ready to compete and to fight for a place?
Yeah, sure. Obviously I will need to know my teammates, but they will know me as a player that is a team player, so I will always try to help them the best I can. They can count on me in the future and I think we can do great things here.
You’re still only 23. When you were thinking about coming here, did you believe this was the right place to take your game to the next level?
I think so, but the most important thing is trying to know the manager and his style of play. I think this is the right one. Jürgen, I think, is a fantastic coach. I looked at him when I was a kid and he was already playing in Champions League finals, so I’ve known him for a long time – not personally, but now I will. I think it is the right manager for me and at this stage of my career and I think it is a good – and the right – step.
Are you coming here, then, believing there is still a lot more to come from you, a lot of room for improvement?
Yes, of course. We as players always want to grow and develop into a better status – and that’s what I want. I want to grow here and I believe this is the right club.
There’ve been four really tight games between Liverpool and Wolves over the past two seasons. What did you learn about Liverpool in them?
Just [that] they are a special team; the way they press, the intensity that they put into the game is just another level and that’s what I want to be part of – that anger to play the game and to score goals. I think that’s a great way to play the game and that’s the way I want to play as well.
Is it a bit of a relief knowing the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker are on your side now…
Yeah, we are talking about world-class players – the best in their positions – so it is good to be a part of their team now and we can face other opponents. In the end, all of the team is important and I want to be one more player to help.
Watching Liverpool last season as an opposition player, what did you think of the manner in which we won the league?
I think there was no doubt – no doubt about Liverpool being the best team in the league last season by some distance. I think, as I said before, the intensity they put into the game… they were just unbelievable. They were all over the place. It felt like they were playing with more players than the other teams. Hopefully we can do the same again this year with me being a part of it.
What was it like to come here, to come to Anfield, as an opponent?
Well, again, I think by some distance it is the best stadium and the best environment. I think it is really noisy and the song You’ll Never Walk Alone is always on the opponent’s mind. Now I am part of it. Obviously this situation with COVID it won’t be for now, but I hope soon I can be here listening to the fans with a full Anfield.
Has it sunk in… that Anfield is now your home?
Well, it is now! Like I said, I just wish we could have the stadium full for my debut as that would be very special, but OK, it will still be special. And we can have them [the fans] later in the season to help us onto good things.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are already here. How much are you looking forward to working alongside them, but also maybe learning from them too?
They are world-class players. Every match, they try to win. They score a lot of goals and they work together. I want to be one more piece to join that three. That’s what I will do. They are obviously more experienced than me, so the first stage is to connect with them, to learn with them. Hopefully I can be a good help for them and the club to win games.
Do you think your versatility will help in terms of getting into the team?
I think every manager looks at that and we as players know that being versatile, playing in different positions, is always useful. I am ready to play in each position that the manager wants. That’s what I will try to do – give my best every single day.
You mentioned earlier about the way Liverpool press teams. You’re a player who likes to press… will that help you adjust more quickly here?
Yes, I think that’s why I feel it is the right moment to come here with this manager because I think his style of play can adapt to mine as well. Hopefully I can be part of his plans in the future.
You scored your first goal for Portugal a couple of weeks ago and now you’re joining the Premier League champions. Not a bad start to the season…
Wow… no! Everything is happening quickly, everything is going terrific and I am just enjoying it at the moment and I am ready to give my best.
And there’s a baby on the way, too…
Yes, yes. 2020 started, I wouldn’t say bad but with different circumstances – the COVID situation and all of this stuff. But now it is becoming the best year of my life.
Your little boy can be raised as a Scouser…
Yeah! I think it will happen! Being born here, he will be a Scouser!
You’re taking the squad number 20. Was there any particular significance behind that?
No, not really. Obviously coming here when the season is already under way is not always what we want, but I think it’s a good number and hopefully I can do good things with it.
You spoke earlier about working with the coach; just how much are you looking forward to working with Jürgen Klopp?
A lot, a lot. I am anxious to get started, I am anxious to learn new things, because the sooner I start, the sooner I can give results to the team and that is the most important [thing].
Have you had a chance to speak to him since the deal was done?
Yes, once or twice. I believe he is the right coach for me and I just want to see things happen now.
You played with a guy at Wolves who came through the ranks here, in Conor Coady. Have you had the opportunity to speak with him about the move?
No, not really, but I think I will today or tomorrow. I know for a fact this is his childhood club, so I know he will want to tell me some things and I will talk about that with him just after this announcement is done.
For the supporters watching this, what can Liverpool fans expect from you?
Like I said, I think I am a team player. I play up front and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me – that I will always do my best. I will always try to help the team in the best way possible.
Is that your message to the supporters today?
Yes, that’s it. They can count on me because now I am one of them and I will give my best.