Mohamed Salah struck a stunning second goal as Liverpool’s quick-fire double secured a huge 2-0 win over Chelsea
Liverpool struck a stunning quick-fire double to move back to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Chelsea.
Mohamed Salah fired home a vicious strike just moments after Sadio Mane had nodded them into the lead to put Jurgen Klopp’s side in control after a cagey first half.
They rode their luck at times in the latter stages as Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain were both guilty of missed chances.
But it proved to be Liverpool’s day as they dealt with the pressure perfectly after Manchester City’s win over Crystal Palace earlier in the afternoon to keep a slight advantage in the title race.
Here’s five talking points from an afternoon which moved Liverpool one step closer to ending their title drought…
1) Salah’s stunner
Mohamed Salah has had a mixed season for Liverpool – but his moment arrived against former club Chelsea .
The Egyptian struck in a truly breathtaking second goal to put his side firmly in the driving seat just moments after Sadio Mane had nodded in their opening goal.
It was Salah at his spellbinding best as he cut inside from the right flank and fired a fierce drive beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga with barely any back lift.
After question started to be asked after a goal drought, Salah has answered his critics in undeniable fashion in the last few games.
His wonder strike sparked Anfield into life, lifting the crowd and his team to carry them back to the top of the Premier League table.
2) Midfield balance
Jurgen Klopp has tinkered with his midfield in recent weeks – but he has now found more balance.
The recall of Fabinho into the starting line-up alongside Naby Keita has seen Jordan Henderson pushed into a more advanced role.
The trio now has more balance and controlled the game well against Chelsea.
There could be question marks about Henderson’s true creativity in an attacking sense, but he did excellently to deliver a delicate cross for Sadio Mane to nod in the opener.
Behind him, Keita and Fabinho offered a pairing that complimented each other well, broke up play and kept things ticking over.
They kept Chelsea from finding much space to work in and fed the front three well, with their counterparts Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante having minimal impact.
Klopp has found a formula that can serve them well over the remainder of the season.
3) Chelsea attackers isolated
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri again utilised Eden Hazard in a central role, flanked by Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
But the Blues front three found themselves isolated against Chelsea, with Hazard floating around to get on the ball and often leaving nobody in the box.
Hudson-Odoi found himself struggling for supply and support on the right, with Hazard finding space minimal and Willian having some flashes but lacking quality.
Whilst Hazard can work his magic through the middle in some games, the Blues lacked a physical focal point such as Higuain or Giroud to be an outlet for their wide man when they were given the ball.
By the time Higuain was introduced for Hudson-Odoi, the Blues were 2-0 down and chasing the game and it was too little too late.
4) Liverpool more clinical
In a game where space was sometimes at a premium and after a cagey first half, it was always going to come down to which side took their chances.
Liverpool made no mistake with Jordan Henderson feeding Sadio Mane for the opener and Mohamed Salah manufacturing a goal out of nothing for Liverpool.
By contrast, Chelsea lacked cutting edge in front of goal. Eden Hazard struck the post and saw another golden chance well saved by Alisson, plus Gonzalo Higuain was also guilty of missing an opportunity to get his side back into the game.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were more clinical in front of goal and that made all the difference.
5) History doesn’t repeat itself
Five years ago, Liverpool’s Premier League title bid was derailed at home to Chelsea after Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip.
There was plenty of talk about that incident in the run-up to this year’s Anfield showdown – but thankfully for the Reds, history did not repeat itself.
Despite taking time to find their opener, Jurgen Klopp’s side were patient, controlled and assured as they avoided any slip-ups this time around.
They banished the ghosts of 2014 still haunting those involved with their infamous late collapse and there will now be a renewed hope things will end differently this time around.