All you heard for the past few days were callbacks to 2014 and The Slip.
Even Chelsea tempted fate by trolling Liverpool about it.
Did someone say Liverpool v Chelsea? 😉 pic.twitter.com/0uCFbbZEVF— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 13, 2019
Was that really the best idea? Would karma eventually strike back?
Um, yes (Exhibit A: Hazard hitting the post). Let’s hope the “bomber” chanters were handcuffed to their TV for the second half of this one.
The first half saw an open and fairly even display. Liverpool controlled possession 62-38% and completed more passes, but shots were basically even (4 / 1 on target for the Reds and to 3 / 1 on target for the Blues). The second half started all Liverpool, as the Red poured it on.
Make no mistake, despite some decent stretches by Chelsea, Liverpool dominated this game.
They closed out the game with a 2-0 victory. The win puts them two clear of the game-in-hand Manchester City. FiveThirtyEight now has this race as a coin-flip at 52-48% for City, who now must face Tottenham and Manchester United. Betting markets agree as well, as FanDuel Sportsbook NJ has City priced at -145 to Liverpool’s -115.
Jurgen Klopp (9.5) – Was nice seeing Klopp actually opt for consistency and momentum in his midfield selection of Keita-Fab-Hendo.
Even better, Klopp didn’t tempt fate like Chelsea did with their lame tweet by starting Lovren again.
After Liverpool went up 2-0, Chelsea stepped it up, and Klopp wisely yanked Keita for more defensive help by subbing in Georginio Wijnaldum. He brought Milner on to help steady the ship even more a few minutes later. He had his squad ready to play, knew when to calm them down, and kept things positive (especially after Robbo’s slip). One of Klopp’s best managerial performances for Liverpool to date.
Alisson (8) – Nice stretched out deflection in the 12th. Was well-positioned to stop a Hazard attempt in the 20th and made a crucial stop on another Hazard shot in the 60th.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7) – He was certainly given a load to handle in Hazard [when Hazard wasn’t wailing on the ground]. Delivered a perfect free-kick at the close of the first-half that was almost put in the net by Firmino. Did some tidying up on defense in the 80th minute. A strong showing.
Virgil van Dijk (5) – A little dip in form of late. Gave ball away in the box in the 15th minute though like most of his recent miscues, wasn’t punished for it. Let Gonzalo Higuaín slip past him for a potential shot in the 63rd.
Joel Matip (7) – Here’s a situation where going unnoticed may actually be a good thing. While VVD continued his concerning trend of miscues, Matip went unnoticed, mostly because he played solid, mistake free football.
Andy Robertson (8) – Back from his game off due to yellow card accumulation in the Champions League, Robbo looked recharged. Boomed up and down the line, made some good early crosses and link-up play, all while containing the dangerous Callum Hudson-Odoi, whom he made mostly invisible.
Naby Keita (7) – Started strong early, playing and attacking with confidence. This is the Keita everyone was excited about when he was bought. He looks like his RB Leipzig highlight videos, cutting through the defense with power. A quieter second half and subbed for Gini, but another strong showing.
Fabinho (7) – Was everywhere at the start, eating Hazard’s lunch on an early tackle to thwart a counter (side note: is Hazard made of papier-mâché? He was constantly on the ground upon every challenge). Did a little bit of everything today.
Jordan Henderson (7.5) – Would his newly discovered “creativity” carry over into a critical Premier League game? The answer: YES. Definitely aggressive on the attack. Appears more confident in general in a more attack-focused role. He assisted the Mane opener with a laser-point perfect pass. Subbed in the 77th minute for Milner.
Roberto Firmino (8) – Really looks to be fully in form. Strong on the ball as always, linking up well, creating chances. May not show up on the score sheet but consistently impacted the game.
Sadio Mane (7) – A quiet first half was quickly forgotten when Mane headed home a perfect feed from Jordan Henderson to give Liverpool the lead in the 51st.
Mohamed Salah (9) – Almost a copy+paste of his past few months of games. Work rate = great. Threat = often. Finishing = non-existent. Until that changed in the second half. Had an early chance to volley in a goal, was on target — right at the goalie. It was Salah’s hard work that led to the hockey assist on Mane’s opener. Then, OMG, WHAT A FINISH two minutes later to put Liverpool ahead 2-0. The Salah-la-la-la rang loud at the Kop. It was Salah’s second goal against the Big 6 this campaign and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
Georginio Wijnaldum (NR) – Came in strong and active. Creative back-heel off Chelsea defender led to a corner in the 83rd.
James Milner (NR) – Not on long enough to make an impact, but did help steady Liverpool to victory.
Xherdan Shaqiri (NR) – Time-wasting sub in the 90th minute, but still good to see him on the pitch again.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mo Salah. He worked hard all game, was a constant threat, and netted an absolute stunner.