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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 21 October 2020


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Good afternoon everybody and welcome along to our minute-by-minute coverage of today’s highly-awaited clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League.

It is an absolutely bumper day of sport across the board with Manchester City facing Crystal Palace as we speak, while Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari battle it out on the final day of the Masters at Augusta too.

It really and truly is a day to plonk yourself on the couch in front of the TV and take it all in. Today’s game at Anfield promises to add another layer of sporting drama to all of today’s goings-on.

The title race in the Premier League has been nothing short of thrilling, but Jurgen Klopp’s men will be fully aware of Chelsea’s record of derailing title hopes on Merseyside — Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip from 2014 has dominated the build-up to today’s game.

Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Anfield Source: Anthony Devlin

This is a new Liverpool side through and one that more than feels it can overtake Manchester City and quash Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a historic quadruple. With all that said, today’s game is undoubtedly Liverpool’s biggest test with just five league games remaining.

Overcome Chelsea, who themselves are slogging out in an intriguing battle for fourth alongside Arsenal and Manchester United, and Liverpool supporters may just feel that this could be their year.

It promises to be a fascinating afternoon of football at Anfield. Stick with us, kick-off is coming up in an hour’s time at 4.30pm. Today’s game is live on Sky Sports Main Event if you’re near a TV.

Let’s get started with today’s team news…

TEAM NEWS: Jurgen Klopp has made just one change from Liverpool’s 2-0 win against FC Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday. Dejan Lovren drops to the bench, with Joel Matip partnering Virgil van Dijk in defence.

Maurizio Sarri makes six changes from Chelsea’s 1-0 away win against Slavia Prague. Marcus Alonso, Andreas Christiansen, Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic, Olivier Giroud and Pedro are out. David Luiz, Emerson, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Eden Hazard come in.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Substitutes: Mignolet, Lovren, Wijnaldum, Milner, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Origi.

Chelsea: Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Hudson-Odoi, Hazard, Willian.

Substitutes: Caballero, Christensen, Barkley, Kovacic, Giroud, Pedro, Higuain.

Over at Selhurst Park, Gabriel Jesus has made sure of the three points for Manchester City.

An 81st-minute free-kick from Luka Milivojević looked like maybe giving Crystal Palace a chance of snatching a dramatic late draw.

However a swift counter-attack from Pep Guardiola’s men sees Jesus beat goalkeeper Vicente Guaita with a precise low finish to make it 3-1 as stoppage time approaches.

You can follow all the action from Crystal Palace vs Manchester City here.

Just 20 minutes to go before kick-off. Will Chelsea scupper Liverpool’s title hopes or can the Reds maintain pressure on Man City at the top? Let us know below.

Poll Results:

Liverpool win (247)
Draw (83)
Chelsea win (69)

A booming rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone rings around Anfield as the players make their way out onto the pitch. This ought to be a cracker.

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KICK-OFF: We’re underway at Anfield for the first half!


Good early spell from Liverpool here. The hosts are applying a lot of high pressure in the final third, with Mane and Salah causing a few issues for David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger at the back.


Mo Salah with the game’s first chance. He slams a powerful left-footed effort on target, but it’s right at Kepa and at a comfortable height for the Chelsea goalkeeper to get down and provide a save. Either side of Kepa and it would have been in.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


Klopp’s men seeing the lion’s share of possession inside the opening 10 minutes. Liverpool are playing with a high line and are happy to poke the ball to and fro waiting for an opening to feed that deadly front three of Firmino, Mane and Salah.


A chorus of Allez, Allez, Allez rings around the ground. It’s a cracking atmosphere inside Anfield and the crowd are really up for this one. With Man City seeing off Crystal Palace earlier today this really is a must-win game, make no bones about it.


There’s a bit of consternation as Eden Hazard is hauled down thanks to a sloppy challenge from Fabinho. The Belgium international will require some medical attention and seems to be hobbling at the moment.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira


Another half-chance for Liverpool. Salah spots the run of Mane behind enemy lines and chips the ball deep into the box. Kepa reads the danger early though and snatches possession with a mighty leap into the air.


Salah causing a few issues again. He tries to beat David Luiz after successfully navigating to the end line. The Egyptian goes down inside the box seeking a penalty, but there didn’t seem to be a huge amount in it. Referee Michael Oliver isn’t interested.


It’s one-way traffic at the moment. Naby Keita goes toe-to-toe with Cesar Azpilicueta just inside the penalty area and releases a snappy shot nice and early. Keita toe-pokes towards the far corner, but Kepa gets down well to save.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira


A first real chance for Chelsea as the 20 minute mark approaches. Eden Hazard twists and turns with speed and agility before releasing a low, left-footed effort. The angle wasn’t the best and Alisson deals with the effort comfortably. 


Sarri’s side becoming a lot more comfortable in possession now. Emerson and Azpilicueta are beginning to push up on the flanks as Chelsea seek to break the deadlock.


Jordan Henderson comes close at the other end. A Fabinho pass is knocked down by Salah, before the Liverpool skipper slams a strong effort goal-bound before being deflected wide for a corner kick.

Huddersfield Town v Liverpool - Premier League - John Smith's Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images


You would have anticipated this to be a really explosive affair given what’s at stake, but you have to say it’s been a fairly tepid opening half an hour at Anfield. Chances at both ends, Liverpool shading it, but no real bite so far.


Close! Chelsea really should be ahead. A counter-attack sees Willian race free on goal out of nothing. He cuts inside onto his right foot and strikes an almighty effort towards goal, but the Brazilian completely misses the target. A big, big let-off for Liverpool there.


Opportunity for Chelsea now. Ruben Loftus-Cheek takes possession on the edge of the box and looks like having a pop from a decent position, but a host of bodies clad in red surround the midfielder and stuff out the danger.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira


Ten minutes to go before half-time and Chelsea will be very satisfied with their performance so far. They have enjoyed just 31 per cent possession but have more than held their own here, limiting Liverpool to just a handful of half-chances. Kepa has had to work, but it’s been more than manageable so far.


Almost! Sadio Mane comes closest to breaking the deadlock. Mo Salah dribbles with intent, cutting inside before offloading to Mane. The ball is put on a silver platter to strike, but the Senegal international just misses the top corner by a matter of inches with his right boot, curling just wide.


Sarri is being forced into an early switch here. Antonio Rudiger limps offs and is replaced by Andreas Christensen off the bench five minutes before half-time. Worrying setback for Rudiger.


Promising counter by Liverpool. Roberto Firmino lets the ball roll through his legs to set his side on their way. He offloads to Andy Robertson who is piling forward down the left wing, but the Scot’s first touch is too heavy and the attack comes to a premature end.

Cesar Azpilicueta is shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver. Sadio Mane was bursting through down the wing and the Spanish defender stuck his arm out high to try and slow Mane down. A foul and a booking, says Mr Oliver.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


There will be three minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.

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It’s very much finely balanced at the break. Liverpool have shaded it in terms of possession and chances at goal, but have very little to show for their ascendency so far.

There’s still a long way to go, but you get the feeling that Chelsea will be the happier of the two sides so far. Eden Hazard has been a threat up front playing in that false nine role, but it’s at the other end where David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger held their own.

Salah, Firmino and Mane have gotten on the ball quite a bit, but have struggled so far to find that killer breakthrough in this must-win game. More action to come shortly!


Klopp’s men are right at it from the referee’s whistle. Liverpool push men forward straight from tip-off as they seek to break the deadlock. An Alexander-Arnold throw-in sees the ball fall invitingly for Naby Keita, but his strike flies well off target.

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We have a breakthrough at Anfield! Liverpool surge into the lead and it’s Sadio Mane the man that’s got it. Jordan Henderson dinks a dangerous cross towards the back post where Mane is completely unmarked and allowed to head past Kepa with power and precision.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


The crowd inside Anfield are reinvigorated now. It was a tense opening half but it’s the perfect start to the second period. A draw simply isn’t good enough and now Reds’ nerves have been settled.

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Incredible! Liverpool have two goals in the space of as many minutes at Anfield. It’s an absolutely outrageous long-range effort from Mohamed Salah. He picks up the ball outside the box and fires an almighty effort directly into Kepa’s top corner. Phenomenal.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


Goodness gracious, what a turnaround. Chelsea look absolutely stunned and now find themselves with a mountain to climb. The mood inside Anfield has been uprooted as the home supporters sense even more goals. Sarri’s men look very wounded at the moment.


Sarri is forced to make his second change to try and turn this around. Gonzalo Higuain is brought on in place of Callum Hudson Odoi up front.


Almost a third for Liverpool. Roberto Firmino has a go from distance and narrowly misses Kepa’s bottom corner. That very, very nearly creeped in for 3-0.

Liverpool v Burnley - Premier League - Anfield Source: PA Wire/PA Images


Off the post! A long ball finds Eden Hazard one-on-one with Alisson inside the box, but the Belgian’s low effort aimed towards the bottom corner smashes the bottom post and away. Liverpool offer a sigh of relief.


Close again! Hazard comes agonisingly close for the second time in quick succession. He drives a low volley on target from point-blank range, but the chance is palmed away off the line by Alisson. How on earth has Hazard not scored yet this afternoon?

A crazy opening 20 minutes to the second half, but play is beginning to slow back down and reach a normal pace again. Higuain has offered Chelsea something since coming on, especially giving Hazard more space to manoeuvre now positioned on the wing. But Chelsea need something big late on here if they are to avoid defeat.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images


Salah almost nabs his second. He takes possession just inside the box and manages to get the ball out of his feet before shooting, but his left-footed strike is comfortably saved by Kepa to keep it at 2-0.


Jurgen Klopp makes his first substitution of the afternoon after 66 minutes. Georginio Wijnaldum is brought on in place of Naby Keita in midfield as Liverpool seek a bit more defensive stability in the middle of the park.

Chelsea look menacing. Hazard sweeps a cross towards the opposite side of the box where Willian is free in space. However the attack is brought to a halt as Andy Robertson provides a crucial tackle to snatch the ball and veer away.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira


Trent Alexander-Arnold gets in on the action. He bombs forward and creates a pocket of space to get his shot away, but a right-footed effort from the young defender is weak and directly at Kepa, who gathers at his front post.


Space really beginning to open up at the back for Chelsea. Jordan Henderson sprints free and tries to get another cross away just like in the build-up to Mane’s opening goal. But Emerson recovers down the right flank and provides an interception.

Maurizio Sarri makes his third and finally change with fifteen minutes left to go. Ross Barkley is brought on in place of Ruben Loftus-Cheek. For Liverpool, Jordan Henderson makes way for James Milner.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


Roberto Firmino with a shot on the turn. It catches most people off guard — but not Kepa — who dives low to his right and prevents a third from flying in. It’s been quite even since Salah made it 2-0, but a third really would put this game beyond any doubt.


Klopp’s side still prodding and probing. James Milner plays a neat through ball for Georginio Wijnaldum and the Dutch midfielder provides a backheel which earns his side a corner kick.

The resulting corner is beaten away at the first hurdle and at the other end there’s slip… yes, a slip. Andy Robertson loses his footing momentarily, but there are no major ramifications as Chelsea struggle to punish the mistake.

Liverpool v Fulham - Premier League - Anfield Source: Barrington Coombs


A hairy moment for Chelsea. A long ball sees Kepa come from his line to try and clear, but the Spaniard completely misses the ball and almost lets Sadio Mane in for his second of the game. The ball is just beyond reach for the Liverpool forward though and peters out for a goal kick.


A third and final switch from Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. Momahed Salah departs the field to a massive round of applause, replaced off the bench by Xherdan Shaqiri for the final few minutes.


There will be three minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.



It’s all over at Anfield! A superb second half performance sees Liverpool maintain pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table with a fifth consecutive victory in the Premier League.

A draw simply wouldn’t do after Man City’s 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace earlier today and brilliant goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah sees the Reds overcome Chelsea 2-0 with a thoroughly impressive display.

This is a title race that just won’t quit and with just four games each left to go, it looks like it may go down all the way to the wire on the final day. Thanks a million for joining us for the ride — you can read our full match report from this afternoon’s game here. Cya!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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