BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea 1 v Liverpool 2
Chelsea lost their second game in a week – but these three points to Liverpool are the more damaging than the Champions League reverse to Valencia.
The Blues can recover from that in the group, but the loss to the Scousers sends a signal that Stamford Bridge is no longer a fortress.
In fact the west Londoners haven’t won at home all season, two draws a meagre outcome from three games.
Liverpool were dominate inn the first half and deserved their two goal lead.
They could not maintain that energy and the Blues grew into the match with N’Golo Kante scoring a wonder goal.
Both sides started at 100mph pace – where just one error would allow the other side a sniff on goal.
Liverpool’s work-rate in closing down Chelsea’s defenders and then midfield is astounding, the Blues, for their part reacted well, maintaining possession and attempting to play the rough the visitors.
A long run my Mason Mount on the left on 11 minutes saw the midfielder cut the ball across the Liverpool goal. But Tammy Abraham was a tad late while in-running Willian was quickly on the ball but thwarted by Virgil van Dijk.
Andreas Christensen needlessly fouled Sadie Mane on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area 14 minutes. Mohamed Sarah, touched the kick square to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who thumped the ball with venom past Kepa to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
Emerson, who had looked to the bench a couple of times, clearly with an injury, was instantly replaced by Marcos Alonso.
Fikayo Tomori entered Michal Oliver’s book for a sliding challenge on Henderson on n20 minutes.
Tammy Abraham had a glorious chance to level the score on 25 minutes when he beat the offside trap. He latched onto a Christensen through ball raced on towards goal. But his low, right-footer as hacked away by Adrian.
But on 26 minutes, skipper Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had tucked home the equaliser after Willian’s shot was pin-balling around between Adrian and Van Dijk and the full back crashed home from close range.
But VAR intervened and ruled Willian was offside and cancelled the goal.
Seconds later and the Champions of Europe scored number two. Direct from a free-kick on the left after Azpilicueta was adjudged to have found Sane. Roberto Firmino headed home, unchallenged from six yards.
Further self-inflicted misery saw Christensen hobble off the pitch after getting inadvertently getting clattered by Tomori after challenging Sarah,
Kurt Zouma replaced the Denmark centre-back on 43 minutes.
There were no changes of personnel at half-time. Liverpool had a great chance to add to their tally seconds after the restart. But Kepa produced a wonderful save to parry away an unchallenged Firmino volley.
Despite 2-0 up Liverpool looked as if they had put all their energy into that first half.
They started delaying tactics which eventually saw Oliver talk to skipper Henderson about it.
N’Golo Kante flashed a low left-footer past Adrian, but also the goal, as the Blues, for their first time in the game, got to grips with Liverpool.
Chelsea got themselves back into the game with a sublime piece of individual magic 20 minutes from time, racing to the edge of the Liverpool area, before caressing the ball past Adrian.
It was a studding goal which lifted the otherwise disillusioned crowd.
Lampard replaced Abraham with Michy Batshuayi withy 15 minutes left.
Mount flashed a left-footer over the crossbar from an Alonso cross as the Blues went all out to recuse the match.
It wasn’t enough.
The next match for Chelsea is a home tie in the Carabao Cup against Grimsby Town on Wednesday, following by a home league game against Brighton on Saturday.
Teams: Kepa, Christensen, Jorginho, kante, Abraham, Willian, Kovacic, Mount, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Emerson
Subs, Caballero, Alonso, Barkley, Pedro, Zouma, Pulisic, Batshuayi
Liverpool, Adrian, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Mane, Sarah, Henderson, Robertson, Matic, Alexander-Arnold
Subs, Ke;;ever, Milner, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shaqiri, Brewster
Referee Michael Olivier