Liverpool beats Chelsea to reclaim five-point Premier League lead over Man City

Doug McIntyre
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal with Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on September 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) is congratulated by Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk after scoring against Chelsea on Sunday. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty)

Liverpool continued its perfect start to the Premier League season Sunday with perhaps its most impressive performance yet — a 2-1 win away to fellow English giant Chelsea.

As they have been over the last two seasons, however, the Reds were a different class. It only took 13 minutes for Trent Alexander-Arnold to give the visitors a lead they would never relinquish:

And after Cesar Azpilicueta’s apparent Chelsea equalizer was correctly ruled offside following video review, the defending European champs put the match away before the contest was a half-hour old through Brazilian striker Bobby Firmino:

Here are three quick thoughts:

In the Prem anyway, Liverpool remains unstoppable

The Reds could’ve sulked into Stamford Bridge after losing midweek to Napoli in the Champions League. But as far as the Premier League goes, it’s already obvious at this still-early stage of the season that Liverpool is on a mission in league play after missing out on the title by two points last year.

Sunday marked the Reds’ 15th consecutive league Premier League win. And while holders Manchester City remain Liverpool’s biggest threat, and the Sky Blues reminded everyone on Merseyside just how dangerous a threat they pose after stomping bottom-of-the-table Watford 8-0 on Saturday, there’s more than a week left in September and Liverpool is once again five points clear of City, which suffered its first defeat of the campaign last weekend at Norwich.

Even more impressive is the way Jurgen Klopp’s side breezed past the Blues despite not being at their best. It’s not like the Reds dominated the match. The fact that they had more of the ball than the hosts in the first half, even though Chelsea was trailing for more than two-thirds of it, says more about the Blues than Liverpool. But Chelsea didn’t play poorly, and they didn’t give up many chances.

Liverpool, on the other hand, simply knows how to win in this league. They were calm and consistent throughout. They made their chances count. And they didn’t buckle when N’Golo Kante pulled Chelsea within one with this second half screamer:

Right now, it’s hard to bet against the Reds finally taking home the English title this spring exactly 30 years after their last domestic triumph.

Time for Chelsea to start worrying?

Eight days ago, the Blues put together their most complete performance of 2019-20 when they routed Wolverhampton 5-2. A pair of high-profile home losses later, the pressure is starting to mount on first-year manager Frank Lampard and his squad.

Lampard made just one lineup change (because of an injury to Antonio Rudiger) for Tuesday’s Champions League opener, and yet Chelsea looked far from cohesive or convincing against a solid but not other-worldly Valencia side.

And while they weren’t bad on Sunday against the Premier League leaders, they also weren’t great. Adding to the Blues’ headaches is the growing injury list; Lampard was forced to substitute two of his four starting defenders — Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen — before the first half was even over.

All in all, it’s been a terrible start for a team that finished behind only City and Liverpool last year. North London rival Arsenal’s comeback victory over Aston Villa Sunday dropped Chelsea to 11th in the standings. Through six games, they’ve conceded 13 goals, their worst spell to open a season in more than 40 years. Yikes.

Christian Pulisic doesn’t play a minute yet again

The 21-year-old American may have celebrated his birthday last week, but he can’t be too happy rooted to Lampard’s bench. Chelsea’s $73 million signing has now gone three consecutive matches without seeing the field for the Blues.

His continued omission doesn’t look good. While Lampard could be forgiven for sticking with a winning team for the Champions League tilt, it was curious that he didn’t summon the former Borussia Dortmund attacker with his team trailing that match 1-0. The eventual loss to Valencia appeared to open the door for his return to the lineup against an opponent he excelled against in last month’s UEFA Super Cup loss, especially with Chelsea playing its third match in eight days.

And while it’s true that the unexpected subs of Emerson and Christensen probably played into the decision not to summon Pulisic from the bench (striker Michy Batshuayi got the call instead), it’s not a great sign for the U.S. men’s national team star.

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