Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea: Conor Bradley stars in comfortable win for league leaders

Conor Bradley scores against Chelsea for his first Liverpool goal

Conor Bradley produced a memorable display by scoring his first Liverpool goal and grabbing two assists as the Reds beat Chelsea to maintain their grip on first place in Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp's side went into this round of fixtures five points clear at the top and, with Arsenal and Manchester City winning their games against Nottingham Forest and Burnley respectively, the Anfield club needed to do likewise against the Blues.

Having beaten Bournemouth 4-0 in their previous league outing, they once again put in a confident and dominant display to sweep Chelsea aside.

Darwin Nunez twice hit the woodwork in the opening stages - and four times in total - before Diogo Jota showed great persistence to force his way through defenders to slot in from Bradley's pass.

The 20-year-old Northern Ireland international, who has emerged as a very exciting talent at Liverpool this season, then got the goal his recent impressive displays have warranted as he raced into the box from the right before driving into the far corner.

Liverpool should have been 3-0 up at half-time but Nunez struck the post from the penalty spot after Jota was brought down.

Darwin Nunez takes a shot against Chelsea
Darwin Nunez is the first player on record (since 2003-04) to hit the woodwork four times in a Premier League match

Mykhailo Mudryk missed a glorious chance to halve the deficit after the break when he lashed high over the bar with just Alisson to beat.

Dominik Szoboszlai punished Chelsea for that miss as he got Liverpool's third, heading home Bradley's cross, and although Christopher Nkunku drove in a consolation for the visitors, Luis Diaz added a fourth late on with a close-range strike.

It was the perfect result for the Reds both in retaining their advantage at the top of the Premier League as well as boosting confidence before they face Chelsea again in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on 25 February.

Bradley shines as Reds look determined to send Klopp off on a high

This was Liverpool's second game since the shock announcement by Klopp that he will leave the club at the end of the season after eight years at the club.

The first game following the news was an emotional FA Cup fourth-round fixture against Norwich against Anfield on Sunday, and it clear from both that performance and now this that Klopp's players are determined to ensure his final season at the club ends in memorable fashion.

Liverpool put five goals past Norwich to win 5-2 and they could easily have had as many in a dominant first half against Chelsea, with the unfortunate Nunez striking the woodwork three times.

But the night belonged to the exceptional Bradley, who once again rose to the occasion despite the presence of fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, and he was deservedly given a standing ovation when he went off in the second half.

A night of penalty frustration for Chelsea

Chelsea have shown some improvement under Mauricio Pochettino in recent months, particularly at Stamford Bridge where they have not lost in all competitions since 28 October.

There is, however, plenty of room for improvement in their away form as they arrived at Anfield having lost five of their past six games on the road in all competitions.

A victory here never looked likely, but Chelsea will feel aggrieved that a couple of penalty decisions went against them that might have made for a closer contest.

First, appeals were waved away when Conor Gallagher went down in the box under pressure from Virgil van Dijk, who later appeared to clip Nkunku inside the box in the second half.

Nkunku's goal was a positive for the visitors on his return from injury but ultimately they were second best as Liverpool put on a display that will make their title rivals stand up and notice.