Liverpool – Chelsea: It’s safe to say Thomas Tuchel has improved Chelsea’s defense, as the Blues kept their new boss unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday.
Mason Mount scored Chelsea’s lone goal to send the Blues fourth, three points behind Leicester City and four back of second-place Manchester United.
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Liverpool had won five of its last six matches against the Blues heading into Thursday. The loss sends the reigning Premier League champions four points behind fourth with the fifth- and sixth-place sides holding a game-in-hand.
The Reds have lost five of six in Premier League play and are winless in seven league starts at Anfield.
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Liverpool would’ve wanted a penalty for a close-range ball that hit N’Golo Kante’s raised arm, but neither Martin Atkinson nor VAR saw fit to send the Reds to the spot.
The battle of German-born former bosses of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, Tuchel won his second-straight match-up with Klopp. The last was a 2-1 UEFA Champions League group stage scrap at the Parc des Princes in 2017. Klopp owns the all-time series 9W-3D-3L thanks in large part to his time at Dortmund against Tuchel’s Mainz.
The 66th minute saw American star Christian Pulisic enter for Hakim Ziyech but Chelsea’s USMNT winger had little chance to affect the game aside from a flick to Timo Werner.
Three things we learned from Liverpool – Chelsea
1. Regular starter — Mount up: Chelsea’s 22-year-old midfielder has been very good over the last two months and his finish Thursday gives him three goals under Thomas Tuchel. Perhaps no Chelsea regular found his position to be under presumed threat more than Mount when Frank Lampard was fired but Mount has started every game after taking an 8-minute cameo against Wolves in Tuchel’s first game. Six goals and six assists in 36 appearances in pretty darn good.
2. Sadio, Salah slump; Liverpool to Europa? The Reds might be injury-riddled at center back but that’s not an excuse for Thursday’s home zero. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane combined for two shots — neither on target — and the latter two went 90 minutes. Mane didn’t even manage an attempt. Liverpool now lives four points behind fourth and there’s very good reason to worry about their European hopes, though the Reds sure do love the Champions League and are 90 minutes from the quarterfinals.
3. Tuchel’s tenth: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel improved to 7W-3D to start his life as the Blues boss. Tuchel went unbeaten in his 14 at Dortmund, 11 wins followed by three draws, so he has a knack for diagnosing the ills of a side. His Dortmund hiring saw a full preseason of preparation, so that makes this bright start even more remarkable. Chelsea has outscored its foes 11-2 in the Tuchel era.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Jorginho was very good in the win and Alisson Becker decent between the sticks for the losers, but Mount’s goal was the difference.
Liverpool – Chelsea recap
Chelsea took the lead when Jorginho’s long ball found Werner, the German popping around Alisson Becker and slotting in with the outside of his boot, but VAR found Werner’s sleeve was more advanced than Trent Alexander-Arnold’s across the pitch.
Liverpool might’ve turned that let-off into an opening goal of its own when Alexander-Arnold cued up Sadio Mane with a delightful diagonal ball, but Mane swung with his right peg and missed badly in the 28th minute.
Mount put the Blues ahead before halftime, Rudiger opening the lid on the Liverpool back line with a long pass that allowed Chelsea’s English midfielder to cook Fabinho and curl home for 1-0 in the 42nd.
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Alisson Becker made an incredible save on Hakim Ziyech in the 54th minute before Mane couldn’t convert a threat at the other end.
Chelsea gave Liverpool a big chance in the 85th minute but it fell to center back Ozan Kabak and was partially cleared for Trent Alexander-Arnold to send back into the mixer before Edouard Mendy caught the ensuing header.