Liverpool – Chelsea: Christian Pulisic’s super sub magic wasn’t enough to clinch a place for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
The Blues fell 5-3 to Liverpool at Anfield, their hosts putting on an offensive show before lifting the Premier League Trophy.
Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Roberto Firmino scored for Liverpool, who moves onto 96 points for their incredible season, 18 more than Man City.
Pulisic had a goal and an assist to Tammy Abraham off the bench for Chelsea, and Olivier Giroud also scored in the loss.
Chelsea will have to wait until Sunday to have a chance to clinch a place in the Champions League. The fourth-place Blues have 63 points, level with third-place Manchester United and one more than Leicester City.
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A point or more for Chelsea at home to Wolves on Sunday will keep them in the top four regardless of what happens between Manchester United and Leicester City. A loss and Leicester result boots Chelsea to fifth.
Three things we learned
1. Reds take their trophy in style: Forget the goals conceded and focus on Liverpool’s flood on attacking fire that rolled over Chelsea in the first half. Liverpool didn’t defend well on the day but didn’t need to thanks to fireworks from Trent Alexander-Arnold and others. By the time Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy, there was no doubt Liverpool had earned the win as much as they earned their title.
2. Pulisic Watch (Watch video here): We don’t know if the American was fit for more than his half-hour appearance but if he is, well, then shame on Frank Lampard (we mostly kid).
Pulisic had been on the field forset up Chelsea’s second goal with a stunning dribble that embarrassed a trio of Liverpool defenders before sliding across for Abraham to tap home for 4-2.
He dragged a shot wide moments later as he was a clear upgrade over struggling Mason Mount.
Pulisic then scored a simply sensational and composed goal in the 73rd by settling a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross and working over Alexander-Arnold en route to the upper reaches of the goal. Former boss Jurgen Klopp just kinda marveled at it.
[ MORE: Full Pulisic Watch v. Liverpool ]
3. When will TAA go into the midfield? Alexander-Arnold is a marvel with the ball and in possession and he would be just as capable of spraying the ball around the pitch central. He’s simply not a very good defensive fullback (yet) and right backs are a lot easier to find than elite tempo-holding, deep-lying midfielders. It’s nitpicking on a day he had a goal and an assist but definitely worth the discussion.
Man of the Match
Alexander-Arnold was an absolute force with the ball but part-responsible for two of Chelsea’s goals. So we’ll go with Keita, who had four tackles to go with his goal.
Liverpool – Chelsea recap
The Reds went ahead with the first proper bid of the game and it took nearly 23 minutes.
The wait was worth it, Naby Keita latching onto a Willian turnover and smashing off the bottom of the bar and into the goal from 20 yards.
Alexander-Arnold continued his free kick artistry to double Liverpool’s lead before the break.
The young right back curled a — my goodness make sure you see the behind the wall angle — marvelous free kick into the upper 90.
Whether it should’ve been a free kick is another question altogether. It wouldn’t have been 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30, as Mateo Kovacic made a splendid sliding intervention and caught Mane with his follow-through.
Wijnaldum would make it 3-0 before halftime before Giroud slid in a rebound after Alisson Becker stopped Willian’s close-range hit.
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Salah should’ve put it to bed in the 50th but he butchered a 1v1 chance, and Kepa Arrizabalaga denied the onrushing Egyptian one minute later with a run out to claim a through ball.
Firmino broke his long scoring drought in the 55th off an Alexander-Arnold feed.
Super sub Pulisic did the day right, coming into the game and providing an assist. He feasted on Fabinho and Alexander-Arnold on a dribble that saw him nutmeg Joe Gomez before feeding Abraham for 4-2.
He made it 4-3 in absolute style, taking down a popped Hudson-Odoi pass and maneuvering into space to finish.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain rounded out the scoring late and salted away Liverpool’s points.