Liverpool failed to slip this time around and secured a 2-0 win over Chelsea
Goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah sealed the 3 points for the Reds to put them on top of the table again; although City still have a game in hand. The atmosphere was absolutely electric in Anfield from the first minute to the last as the fans cheered the team on. Chelsea had their chances, particularly with Hazard hitting the woodwork, but at the end of the day, Liverpool converted their chances to emerge through, on paper at least, their toughest remaining league fixture this season. Here are the major talking points from the game.
#1 Liverpool's front 3 lit-up Anfield
March’s player of the month Sadio Mane looked razor-sharp right from the off, but it took a little while for Salah and Firmino to be on the same wavelength as their teammate but once they did, Liverpool were nearly unstoppable. Salah and Mane scored two very different kinds of well-worked goals; Mane rising highest to head home a delightful Jordan Henderson dink at the back post while Mohamed Salah sent a lightning bolt past Kepa’s despairing dive after cutting inside onto his favoured left. Firmino was, as always at his industrious best, putting himself about, dropping deep, doing the dirty work and winning the ball back for his side.
#2 Chelsea put up a fight but fall short
A 2-0 score-line doesn’t tell the whole story. Certainly, doesn’t indicate that Chelsea not only had Liverpool restricted for large parts of the game but had their own moments to cause some damage to Liverpool’s title charge. Chelsea managed to sustain a fair amount of pressure in Liverpool’s defensive after conceding the second goal and could easily have made it 2 goals apiece; most noticeably through Eden Hazard, who had 2 golden opportunities to score. He hit the woodwork first then was denied by Allison as he failed to make a clean connection with a half volley. Not the best day in the office for Chelsea’s star man.
#3 Klopp’s tactics defeat Sarri’s resistance
Even though Liverpool enjoyed the majority of territorial advantage and possession, nothing can be taken away from Chelsea’s discipline and shape in that first half who restricted their hosts to just a single shot on target. Luiz and Rudiger put in impressive shifts to keep the Liverpool attackers at bay. However, in the second half, the hosts were reinvigorated and looked hungrier than ever for every loose ball. Henderson started making those channel runs down the right, which also led to the opening goal and Fabinho ensured that both Keita and Henderson could stay high up the pitch by always being where he needed to be. A near perfect tactical plan by the German to breakdown his Italian counterpart’s resistance.
#4 Henderson proves his worth
Often the most under-appreciated of all Liverpool midfielders, Jordan Henderson once again proved that he has what it takes to put in a solid performance whenever the team needs one. One of the few Liverpool players who were part of the team that suffered heartbreak in 2013-14, Henderson's passion has shown on the pitch, both during his celebration against Southampton last week and his reaction to Mane heading home his perfectly chipped cross. Although his performance doesn’t always display the attractive stats, his energy, discipline and desire certainly do and the Liverpool captain will now be hoping to get his hands on the title come May.
#5 The Kop dares to dream
Confident about their team’s ability to get the necessary results against the lesser teams, the Liverpool fans now dare to dream about their title chances; especially given the fact that their remaining fixtures are against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves. Manchester City have Tottenham and Manchester United coming up in their next 2 fixtures, giving the Anfield faithful further cause to believe that this year will finally be their year. So, who do you think it’s going to be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.