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They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
Huddersfield 1 Chelsea 3: Antonio Conte's side back to winning ways as they breeze to victory
They have won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Antonio Conte said later, but every time Chelsea come off the pitch the question remains: how on earth do you reel in a team that looks as uncatchable as Manchester City have done 16 games into the season? After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, Conte all but conceded the title arguing that a team which had lost four games by that point could never seriously have claimed to have been in the race in the first place. Having demolished Huddersfield Town, three behind in their own stadium with just 50 minutes played, Conte said that he had just been trying to tell the hard truth about the struggle to keep up with City, although his team would never stop trying. “When you tell the truth, this is the truth,” he said. “Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City [who have a game in hand]. In 16 games they won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four. When you have a competitor like City and every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. “We must be realistic and tell the truth. I prefer to tell the truth than a good lie. I am like this and sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players and with our fans also. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope they have a big, big slip and for us then to win every game. And it is very difficult in this league. You have to put in 120 per cent otherwise you risk dropping points.” The truth is a hard place for the rest of the Premier League looking up at City for now, hoping that perhaps they will slip at Swansea, although Conte liked what he saw from his team in the wind and rain of West Yorkshire. They played like a side who dared not let their manager down, with a first goal from Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the worst performers on Saturday, and only permitted the home side their first serious attempt at goal with the very last action of the game. Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) By then Chelsea had won in third gear, with further goals from Willian and Pedro against a team who looked frankly overwhelmed from the very start. Conte made changes to his side, replacing Gary Cahill with Antonio Rudiger and the injured Alvaro Morata with Eden Hazard in the central striking position – a false nine for Chelsea, and a whole lot of false hope for Huddersfield, who were never in the game. They neither pressed the ball nor defended deep with any conviction and afterwards David Wagner said that to get anything from the game they had needed “to over-perform”, which was certainly not the case. There was a goal headed in by the substitute Laurent Depoitre in injury-time at the end, but by then Conte had granted the 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu his Premier League debut with a run-out at centre-back. Chelsea made light work of Huddersfield Credit: GETTY IMAGES It certainly felt a world away from the day in October that Manchester United were beaten at the John Smith’s stadium and Jose Mourinho praised the adventure and spirit of Wagner’s team. This performance lacked all the intensity and determination that might produce a shock result like that – and while Wagner was upbeat about his team in the first half even he had to admit that Bakayoko’s opener had been a “sloppy goal to concede”. Conte had substituted Bakayoko, his £40 million midfielder, at half-time of the West Ham defeat, a move he was at pains to say had been tactical rather than reflective of what was unquestionably a poor performance from his France international. “Tonight I saw a big performance from Baka,” Conte said after this victory. “I started to see what I asked for, the right pass between the lines, to be solid and focused for the game. “This type pf performance will improve his confidence. I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player who is starting to understand he is at a great club and I am very happy he is showing me the right will to improve himself.” Without pressure when they were in possession, Chelsea broke through on 23 minutes when the Huddersfield No 1 Jonas Lossl slipped as he cleared the ball and it went to Victor Moses. There was still much to do, with the winger directing a header into Hazard, who flicked the ball to Willian, and he played in Bakayoko down the left who got the ball over Lossl and in – notwithstanding an attempt by Chris Lowe to clear. Average touch positions (0 min) It got little better for Huddersfield, letting Cesar Azpilicueta switch the play on 43 minutes to the left where Marcos Alonso was given the time to cross to the back post for Willian to head in unchallenged. Wagner did try to change his side at half-time, bringing on the 35-year-old Dean Whitehead in midfield in what seemed like an attempt to retain possession. It was an inauspicious start to the second half for the home side with a third Chelsea goal within five minutes – yet another dangerous cross from Alonso, poorly defended by Christopher Schindler and right into the path of Pedro who buried his chance. There was eventually a run-out for Michy Batshuayi who came on as a centre-forward in a game that his team were cruising through, and Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen were all given a breather Finally, Depoitre glanced in a header from the cross of his fellow substitute Florent Hadergjonaj, with Thibaut Courtois missing only the second chance he had all evening to make a save. 10:22PM Antonio Conte "A good win, I think we deserve to win from the start we played good football, create the chance to score. "I have decided for this solution and it's not the first time to play with this type of players, we played also last season and this season, I think they are very good technically and fast and have good combination play. They play very well today. "I think he played a really good game, this guy is a young player, a good guy with great potential and I think he's starting to understand what I want about him. Tonight he played a really good game with the ball, without the ball, focused. I like this type of player. "It is necessary to make rotation, to give a chance to every player to show he deserves to play. Today Willian, Pedro, Bakayoko and also Moses and Rudiger played very well and I like when I have this possibility. "Transfer window is very far for us. In 20 days we have to play seven days, the most important thing is to be focused." 10:18PM Premier League players react Joe Cole "It's like a boxer trying to see the fight out." Steven Gerrard "I get the fact you have to show Chelsea respect, stay compact but you still have be aggressive and make tackles." 10:16PM David Wagner says "I think that you have to be on your best in terms of focus and concentration if you want to get anything about one of the top teams, even though we looked solid and stable in defence we were sloppy and then conceded. This is the only thing where we have to be honest to ourselves, we were not at our best. I have no complaints, the players showed character, I think they deserved the last goal they scored. We know exactly where we are and where we come from, we tried it and weren't good enough so well done to Chelsea. "We only performed, we didn't overperform. This is why we concede this defeat. "I think for a club like us we have two number nines we are very happy, we can score more and work on more but this doesn't mean we have to be active in the transfer window. "I said to the players from my point of view I can accept this defeat, I have no problems with it and we will make sure this does not affect us." That's a little unambitious for me. Individual mistakes settled the game but it sounds like he never give his side a chance of winning before a ball had even been kicked. 10:02PM Hazard and Willian post-match Hazard We have a lot of games in a short period and last year we didn't have this because of Champions League. We can deal with that, we have a lot of players but of course we want to rest a little bit more. Are you out of the title race? Willian We know now it's difficult, 14 points - Hazard butts in: 11 points. We won today. We're back in it! 9:51PM FULL TIME Despite that brief moment of excitement, in the end, this match was easy for Chelsea and the win entirely deserved. They kept Huddersfield subdued throughout and though Conte's side were impressive, Wagner's made it easy. They offered mostly nothing to the game. 9:50PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE SCORED! ALERT THE COASTGUARD! Huddersfield 1 - 3 Chelsea (Laurent Depoitre, 90 + 2 min) It's a great cross but Depoitre does superbly to steal ahead of Rudiger to power his header beyond the reach of Courtois! 9:47PM 90 mins +2 Great save Courtois! The ball comes off Ampadu's head and the goalkeeper has to react to turn that away. 9:47PM 90 mins +1 A Huddersfield shot! Rejoice! The ball sits nicely for Williams, he has time and lines up a long range effort.. but drags the ball wide, hits his own player and gives away a goal kick. Not good enough. Miss: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Danny Williams, 90 min) 9:45PM 90 mins Batshuayi comes to life in the penalty area - that's where he knows what's going on! He controls a cross from the right, shows quick feet to create space and allow a shot past the goalkeeper at a narrow angle and it's heading into the back of the net... but the referee blows his whistle for handball. It came off Batshuayi's hand, replays show. 9:42PM 87 mins Ampadu is playing as the central defender of the three and has spread some really nice passes out to wide areas. He takes a touch, looks up and spots Moses running down the right wing and chips a 40/50 yard pass which lands at his feet. 9:40PM 84 mins Batshuayi has been caught miles offside twice since coming on, displaying his regrettable tendency to appear unaware of his surroundings. 9:36PM 81 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Christensen comes off for Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh 17-year-old midfielder. He's dropped into central defence. 9:34PM 79 mins Chelsea are passing the ball around wonderfully, hitting first time passes and moving on to receive the return. The thing is, they're finding the space to play these one-twos so easy to gain that they're able to experiment with flicks and have an extra few miliseconds to pick their next move. 9:31PM 76 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea That's an improvement! And you'll be pleased to know that Huddersfield now have a forward player with an average position in front of the halfway line. 9:30PM 75 mins And the thing is, when Huddersfield do attack quickly, they look dangerous. Ish. They have pace in wide areas, Mooy is a good runner with the ball through the middle and they're keeping Chelsea subdued by pressing them higher now. Depoitre comes on for Mounie and Chelsea are on the attack straight away. Willian delays his pass to Alonso, forcing play out wide and then the Spaniard's cross is blocked. 9:28PM 72 mins N'Golo Kante comes off for Danny Drinkwater. Someone is banging a drum in the Huddersfield crowd, setting a tempo the team cannot dance to because they can't get on the ball. 9:25PM 69 mins Ince hits a shot from 20 yards but gets it all wrong. Chris Lowe goes off for Hadergjonaj. Chelsea attack at speed but Pedro gets underneath his shot, leaning back, and chips it way into the stand. Huddersfield have switched to a back three but another mistake gets Bakayoko away down the left, he curls an early cross into Hazard, who flicks it (again) to Pedro, who shoots wide (again). Out: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 68 min) And that's the end of Hazard's night. Batshuayi is on. 9:21PM 66 mins This is much better from Huddersfield. They're attacking (finally!) down the channels and are able to link a few passes together as Chelsea are forced backwards. It's still too static though and midfielders are quickly running out of passing options, having to then go back to the defenders. 9:19PM 63 mins Hazard has room in the box! He dummies the defender, wins some space and then shoots low at the goal from a narrow angle, winning a corner. So close. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Eden Hazard, 60 min) Huddersfield clear their lines after Bakayoko nearly gets a header at goal... and Chelsea win it back. Willian turns on the Brazilian flair with a flip-flap which draws a gasp from the watching crowd and then suddenly the home team can actually get forward at speed. Ince goes behind Azpilicueta, momentum carrying him beyond the tackle.. and he might score here! One on one... saved! Great chance. Huddersfield have started pushing forward and it's working. Attempt Saved: Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Tom Ince, 61 min) Zanka tries a long range effort from 35 yards... and it fizzes over the bar! Courtois looked beaten there and it wasn't far away! 9:16PM 60 mins Hazard keeps doing these deceiving backheel flicks and it's tearing holes in the centre of Huddersfield's defence. he's just done it again, sending Willian away and then racing forwards to try and get the reverse pass which doesn't come. Chelsea still with time and space to pass the ball around, nobody ever really being put under too much pressure - Huddersfield are still deep behind the ball and being slowly carved apart. Average touch positions (60 min) 9:12PM 57 mins Here's a photo of Bakayoko's finish (or is it assist?) for Chelsea's opener. Credit: PA The crowd are beginning to turn on their players a wee bit - they want more! That said, the majority are still making a lot of noise singing the team on. There's a touch more urgency about Huddersfield's pressing now too and they've come out of their deep defensive shape, pushing higher up the pitch. Well, they did for about 20 seconds, they're now all back in the final third, except Mounie, who is a passenger. 9:10PM 54 mins Kachunga gets the ball, some midfielders consider moving up the pitch, don't, Kachunga has to go backwards, can't make up his mind and wins a free-kick in his own half. It's like Huddersfield know they can't win and just want this to be over with. Chelsea can be had. Zanka should be booked for a foul on Hazard but gets away with it. 9:08PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! It's three. So much time and space. Alonso has it, curls in a cross and Pedro has ages to line up his finish and buries the ball. Huddersfield 0 - 3 Chelsea (Pedro, 50 min) Robbie Savage seems to share my sentiments. If they're going to sit back and defend, they need to do so with a lot more bite than this. 9:05PM 48 mins Chelsea in control of the second half already. Nothing has changed. It's big task for Huddersfield to beat Chelsea but imagine you'd paid £30,£40,£50 (and the rest!) a ticket and had to watch your team defend near their own box the entire time without ambition. 9:04PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! 8:51PM The stats Average touch positions (half time) Completely boxed in. Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea Chelsea have played really well here but there's energy and tenacity in this Huddersfield team. A more dynamic approach to the second half should at least help balance the match though with the score as it is, Chelsea can relax a little and try to exploit gaps left by Huddersfield searching for a way back into it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 8:47PM HALF TIME Deserved lead for Chelsea, who are in complete control without having to really try. Is it a change of shape? A change of approach? Huddersfield might as well try something. 8:46PM 45 mins And it's very nearly three! Pedro should really score but doesn't get enough height on his shot and actually, it's a great save by Lossl. 8:44PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Azpilicueta switches play with a long ball to the left wing, the cross comes in and Willian wins a header to make it two. Huddersfield 0 - 2 Chelsea (Willian, 43 min) Huddersfield might as well have not bothered turning up for this. It's not that they look out of their depth, and Chelsea have been good, it's just that Huddersfield have not done anything in the way of attacking, or keeping the ball, or pressing... and Chelsea are easily able to score their second. 8:42PM 42 mins Controversy! The replay of that goal shows that it may well be Lowe's own goal rather than Bakayoko. The Frenchman's chipped finish looked to be heading wide of the far post until the Huddersfield man inadvertently turned it into his own net. 8:40PM 41 mins Huddersfield threaten to cause a bit of trouble in Chelsea's box! Kachunga tries a clever pass into the channel, the ball drops to Ince 25 yards out and he has time to line up the shot. "SHOOOOOT!" yells the crowd but he pokes it wide left inside and the player overlapping loses out. Chelsea move up the pitch and win a free-kick wide right. JUST WIDE! Bakayoko beats his man to the header but can only direct it wide of the far post. Decent attempt. Out: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 40 min) 8:37PM 38 mins Willian sends a free-kick in from wide left, it strikes a bunch of bodies at the near post and Kante blasts the rebound wildly over the bar. I need Darren Fletcher to stop calling them 'Jake and the Boys'. It makes me wince every time he says it. I'm doing it now just thinking about him saying it again. Please. Please stop. 8:35PM 35 mins On replay, Hazard's deft backheel flick to set up Willian for Chelsea's goal is unbelievably cool. He's been superb in recent weeks, and with confidence he tends to try little bits of skill that make him look even better. Alonso strides forward and for moment it looks like he has three options to aim a cross at in the penalty area... but the defender comes across and blocks. Chelsea build from the back again, switching wings and probing for weakness. 8:31PM 32 mins Every time Huddersfield win the ball near their own box they knock it long and Mounie can't do anything with it. He's completely isolated and nothing's changed since kick-off - he'll be exhausted, if not bored to death, by half time. The absolute state of this: Huddersfield vs Chelsea This isn't an amateur, non-league team against Chelsea. It's the 12th placed Premier League side. 8:28PM 29 mins Chelsea not finding this difficult at all. Hazard and Willian combine in the final third with some lovely first-time back heel flicks to send Hazard away in behind the defence but the defence deals with it and puts the ball out of play. Chelsea keep coming at them, like a football wolf. 8:25PM 26 mins And the thing is, Huddersfield earned promotion by playing forward thinking football, attacking, pressing, counter-attacking quickly - this is nothing but an attempt but to imagine time doesn't exist for 90 minutes. Sure, Chelsea have much better players but they are literally in the same league. Have a go! How will they respond? 8:24PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! And there it is! Truly, that was inevitable. Huddersfield 0 - 1 Chelsea (Tiemoué Bakayoko, 23 min) The goalkeeper's kick is poor, Chelsea win it back inside the Huddersfield half and Bakayoko is played in with a through-pass, chipping over Lossl. 8:23PM 22 mins Credit: REUTERS Huddersfield really haven't come here to play football. They have no out-ball and Chelsea are absorbing every long pass they make - it's surely unsustainable for an entire match and you think that at some point they'll open up a bit. Probably after conceding the first goal, judging by this game so far. 8:18PM 19 mins A CORNER! HUDDERSFIELD HAVE A CORNER! Kachunga sends a cross in from the right and Moses shields it behind. The ball is headed by a Chelsea defender, put back in the area... and Mounie is offside. 8:15PM 16 mins Lossl flaps a cross forward and Huddersfield try to break, winning a throw-in near the half way line. Christensen is alert to a through-ball into the forwards and passes back to Courtois, who boots it up the pitch. Azpilicueta crosses early to Willian, who tries to chest the ball and turn his marker but can't. Alonso overlaps and gets a chipped pass to feet, Willian tries to force a shot, Moses is blocked on the right and Chelsea win the ball back as Huddersfield are unable to to get out of their own half. 8:12PM 13 mins Possession: Huddersfield vs Chelsea 8:11PM 12 mins Huddersfield finally get hold of the ball and move up the pitch! Mooy tries to smash a volley from 20 yards but is blocked and Chelsea mop up the danger. Credit: REUTERS 8:09PM 9 mins I think Huddersfield have touched the ball twice in the Chelsea half so far. Alonso and Moses are hugging the touchlines to stretch play and allow space for the front three. Huddersfield win a tackle at the halfway line and immediately lose the ball. This should give an idea of how one-sided the game is in the opening 10 minutes: Average touch positions (9 min) 8:06PM 6 mins Hazard is in... but looks offside. He tries to control the pass and crowd falls awfully silent, as though they can't believe he's onside... but he is... and his touch just isn't quite good enough, dropping into the goalkeeper's hands. And Pedro has scored, but is offside. The opening goal is coming - the front three of Chelsea are at it here. 8:03PM 3 mins Pedro gets in behind the defence early on but he's about 20 miles offside. Chelsea already dominating possession as Huddersfield sit back in numbers inviting them onwards. They're poised to spring but Chelsea are moving the ball around nicely. 8:00PM KICK-OFF And they're off. Chelsea get us started. 7:57PM Here come the players It's raining in Huddersfield but the fans are making a lot of noise. Can they pull off a shock result tonight? 7:49PM Tom Ince Still hasn't scored or assisted in the Premier League for Huddersfield yet and is the focus of the local paper's back page. "He just needs to relax a bit and it'll come," says Gerrard as Cole points out that Huddersfield's low block, rigid counter-attack is well suited to churning out points but doesn't allow free-flowing attacking football - the style of play that would really suit Tom Ince, for example. 7:35PM Huddersfield giving the real Behind the Scenes �� John Iga runs #htafc's starting line-up through a pre-match warm-up (AT) pic.twitter.com/R6IhsJHZAu— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 I love the access that fans have to wee videos like this nowadays, even if you have to access them on Twitter. Life is happier without it. 7:31PM Hazard magic Credit: GETTY IMAGES With Chelsea going without a recognised central striker, that clears the way for Eden Hazard to terrorise Huddersfield in that withdrawn, half-10, half-9 position that is starting to become popular in the Premier League. Liverpool do it with Firmino and Salah, Man City often do it with Sterling, Jesus and Sane swapping positions. Pedro, Willian and Hazard will switch positions all the way through tonight - the Huddersfield defence will be busy. 7:27PM Joe Cole! That's where he's been! Joe Cole, ex-Chelsea midfielder, is in the BT Sport studio tonight alongside Steven Gerrard, who thinks Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed after Chelsea's weekend defeat to West Ham. "He'll be after a response, a reaction tonight," says Gerrard. Cole has suggested that Chelsea will focus play through the middle of attack tonight, which explains Batshuayi's absence (even if it now seems certain Conte wouldn't trust him to lead the line unless out of other options). 7:03PM Starting lineups Huddersfield TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made one change to his #htafc starting line-up for this evening's @premierleague match against @ChelseaFC; 8pm kick-off. ➡️ Danny Williams ⬅️ @CollinQuaner (AT) pic.twitter.com/j7TGwg5709— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 12, 2017 Chelsea Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro. #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/91wXCZaIoS— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Musonda, Batshuayi 6:57PM Chelsea's social media person getting excited Here come the boys! Let's do this. �� #HUDCHEpic.twitter.com/G8rsG46gMO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 12, 2017 4:58PM Hello! Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Chelsea's visit to Huddersfield on a cold Tuesday night. The fun never stops for Premier League footballers come wind, rain or lots of snow and you can follow all the action from the warmth of your home while professional athletes endure freezing conditions to provide entertainment, in the quest for points. Antonio Conte will provide some heat for his team, no doubt fired up by Chelsea's shock defeat to lowly West Ham on the weekend. They are without bringer of goals (frankincense and myrrh), Alvaro Morata, who has a back injury and can't play. It's expected that Conte will make more changes though in a bid to freshen up the squad and ensure they don't drop any more points in their race for a top four position. Pick your Chelsea team to face Huddersfield Michy Batshuayi could be handed a start due to Morata's injury but his performances and Conte's apparent lack of trust in the striker might lead to a frontline of Eden Hazard and Willian, with Pedro possibly thrown in for good measure. Huddersfield top scorer Steve Mounie will be lurking around the penalty area trying to make sure David Wagner's side maximise opportunities in a game they know will be tough. Pick your Huddersfield team to face Chelsea Wagner said, "I would take an ugly set-piece goal if it settles the match in our favour. I will take everything against a team like Chelsea. We have to be on a top performance. We cannot give one easy chance away. "We have to avoid unforced errors and have to be at our top level and then we will see how this team works. It's a little bit like a cup tie. Antonio Conte, Chelsea manager: When we lose I'm not happy, in 16 games we lost four games. My experience tells (me) it's impossible to win the title. Now we must be focused in the league to go game by game, to do our best. This league is not simple. We have to fight to find a place in the Champions League. (But) we must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120 per cent of our strength, otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers
<p>Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday. </p><p>Despite the Hornets starting the clash like a house on fire, a red card to Marvin Zeegelaar offered the Clarets an opportunity to capitalise on the visitors need to reshuffle, as Scott Arfield calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net at the end of the first half. Sean Dyche&#39;s side then held firm to secure their seventh win of the season. </p><p>An open and free flowing game was expected between two of the Premier League&#39;s surprise packets this season, and the opening proceedings proved to be just that.</p><p>Watford rushed out of the starting blocks, pressing high up the field which forced Burnley into mistakes as they rushed in possession. The front foot approach from the visitors offered the first clear chance on goal through the in-form Richarlison, whose lunged effort from a ball whipped across the six-yard line was sent flying over the crossbar. </p><p>For all of Watford&#39;s domination on the ball however, it was the home side who came the closest to securing an early lead through Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson. </p><p>The winger&#39;s free-kick from just outside the box was curled perfectly over the seven-man wall and looked destined to nestle into the bottom right-corner, but a quick reaction and strong left-hand from Heurelho Gomes kept the scores level.</p><p>Like a yo-yo, the ball was quickly on the other side of the field, with Burnley stopper Nick Pope called into action to expertly steer the ball clear after it emerged through a number of legs following a volley from Abdoulaye Doucouré.</p><p>As the game continued to move from one end to the other with relative ease, the Hornets were dealt a significant blow when Zeegelaar was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute after his two-footed sliding tackle met the lower legs of Steven Defour, which forced Marco Silva into an early reshuffle of his side. </p><p>Whilst Watford sought to settle with 10-men, Burnley took advantage. After nicking the ball off the Hornets in their defensive half, the Clarets poured forward with Gudmundsson&#39;s pass across the box met by Arfield.</p><p>The 29-year-old shuffled to the left and sent the ball back across the keeper and into the back of the net in the 45th minute - displaying a touch of quality which was missing for the majority of the half. </p><p>The first term ended in dubious circumstances as both sides had penalty shouts turned down either side of the goal, first Watford as Richarlison appeared to be dragged down in the box, and then Burnley after they called for handball against Darryl Janmaat. </p><p>Despite being a man and goal down, the Hornets rallied at the start of the second period, as both Janmaat and Andre Carrillo were afforded space in the box in a bout of sustained pressure, which ended with Tom Cleverly lashing the ball over the crossbar. </p><p>Burnley went up the other end and thought they had added their second of the afternoon as Jack Cork bundled the ball over the line from a free-kick, but the midfielder&#39;s goal was questionably deemed to be offside. </p><p>After successfully pushing back the plucky 10-man Watford and asserting their dominance on the game, the Clarets had again thought they&#39;d scored their second when Ashley Barnes found the ball at his feet from a ricochet, turned on the penalty spot and duly converted. </p><p>However, confusion reigned as referee Lee Probert consulted with his assistant referee and confirmed the goal was to be disallowed for offside, although replays proved the ball had touched a Watford defender first. </p><p>The final ten-minutes offered chances for both sides but Watford failed to find a breakthrough as the Clarets held firm to secure all three points. </p><p>Burnley will now turn their attention to Stoke midweek before a trip to Brighton, whilst Watford will head to Crystal Palace before hosting Huddersfield. </p>
Stubborn Burnley Holds Firm Against 10-Man Watford

Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Despite the Hornets starting the clash like a house on fire, a red card to Marvin Zeegelaar offered the Clarets an opportunity to capitalise on the visitors need to reshuffle, as Scott Arfield calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net at the end of the first half. Sean Dyche's side then held firm to secure their seventh win of the season.

An open and free flowing game was expected between two of the Premier League's surprise packets this season, and the opening proceedings proved to be just that.

Watford rushed out of the starting blocks, pressing high up the field which forced Burnley into mistakes as they rushed in possession. The front foot approach from the visitors offered the first clear chance on goal through the in-form Richarlison, whose lunged effort from a ball whipped across the six-yard line was sent flying over the crossbar.

For all of Watford's domination on the ball however, it was the home side who came the closest to securing an early lead through Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson.

The winger's free-kick from just outside the box was curled perfectly over the seven-man wall and looked destined to nestle into the bottom right-corner, but a quick reaction and strong left-hand from Heurelho Gomes kept the scores level.

Like a yo-yo, the ball was quickly on the other side of the field, with Burnley stopper Nick Pope called into action to expertly steer the ball clear after it emerged through a number of legs following a volley from Abdoulaye Doucouré.

As the game continued to move from one end to the other with relative ease, the Hornets were dealt a significant blow when Zeegelaar was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute after his two-footed sliding tackle met the lower legs of Steven Defour, which forced Marco Silva into an early reshuffle of his side.

Whilst Watford sought to settle with 10-men, Burnley took advantage. After nicking the ball off the Hornets in their defensive half, the Clarets poured forward with Gudmundsson's pass across the box met by Arfield.

The 29-year-old shuffled to the left and sent the ball back across the keeper and into the back of the net in the 45th minute - displaying a touch of quality which was missing for the majority of the half.

The first term ended in dubious circumstances as both sides had penalty shouts turned down either side of the goal, first Watford as Richarlison appeared to be dragged down in the box, and then Burnley after they called for handball against Darryl Janmaat.

Despite being a man and goal down, the Hornets rallied at the start of the second period, as both Janmaat and Andre Carrillo were afforded space in the box in a bout of sustained pressure, which ended with Tom Cleverly lashing the ball over the crossbar.

Burnley went up the other end and thought they had added their second of the afternoon as Jack Cork bundled the ball over the line from a free-kick, but the midfielder's goal was questionably deemed to be offside.

After successfully pushing back the plucky 10-man Watford and asserting their dominance on the game, the Clarets had again thought they'd scored their second when Ashley Barnes found the ball at his feet from a ricochet, turned on the penalty spot and duly converted.

However, confusion reigned as referee Lee Probert consulted with his assistant referee and confirmed the goal was to be disallowed for offside, although replays proved the ball had touched a Watford defender first.

The final ten-minutes offered chances for both sides but Watford failed to find a breakthrough as the Clarets held firm to secure all three points.

Burnley will now turn their attention to Stoke midweek before a trip to Brighton, whilst Watford will head to Crystal Palace before hosting Huddersfield.

<p>Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday. </p><p>Despite the Hornets starting the clash like a house on fire, a red card to Marvin Zeegelaar offered the Clarets an opportunity to capitalise on the visitors need to reshuffle, as Scott Arfield calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net at the end of the first half. Sean Dyche&#39;s side then held firm to secure their seventh win of the season. </p><p>An open and free flowing game was expected between two of the Premier League&#39;s surprise packets this season, and the opening proceedings proved to be just that.</p><p>Watford rushed out of the starting blocks, pressing high up the field which forced Burnley into mistakes as they rushed in possession. The front foot approach from the visitors offered the first clear chance on goal through the in-form Richarlison, whose lunged effort from a ball whipped across the six-yard line was sent flying over the crossbar. </p><p>For all of Watford&#39;s domination on the ball however, it was the home side who came the closest to securing an early lead through Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson. </p><p>The winger&#39;s free-kick from just outside the box was curled perfectly over the seven-man wall and looked destined to nestle into the bottom right-corner, but a quick reaction and strong left-hand from Heurelho Gomes kept the scores level.</p><p>Like a yo-yo, the ball was quickly on the other side of the field, with Burnley stopper Nick Pope called into action to expertly steer the ball clear after it emerged through a number of legs following a volley from Abdoulaye Doucouré.</p><p>As the game continued to move from one end to the other with relative ease, the Hornets were dealt a significant blow when Zeegelaar was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute after his two-footed sliding tackle met the lower legs of Steven Defour, which forced Marco Silva into an early reshuffle of his side. </p><p>Whilst Watford sought to settle with 10-men, Burnley took advantage. After nicking the ball off the Hornets in their defensive half, the Clarets poured forward with Gudmundsson&#39;s pass across the box met by Arfield.</p><p>The 29-year-old shuffled to the left and sent the ball back across the keeper and into the back of the net in the 45th minute - displaying a touch of quality which was missing for the majority of the half. </p><p>The first term ended in dubious circumstances as both sides had penalty shouts turned down either side of the goal, first Watford as Richarlison appeared to be dragged down in the box, and then Burnley after they called for handball against Darryl Janmaat. </p><p>Despite being a man and goal down, the Hornets rallied at the start of the second period, as both Janmaat and Andre Carrillo were afforded space in the box in a bout of sustained pressure, which ended with Tom Cleverly lashing the ball over the crossbar. </p><p>Burnley went up the other end and thought they had added their second of the afternoon as Jack Cork bundled the ball over the line from a free-kick, but the midfielder&#39;s goal was questionably deemed to be offside. </p><p>After successfully pushing back the plucky 10-man Watford and asserting their dominance on the game, the Clarets had again thought they&#39;d scored their second when Ashley Barnes found the ball at his feet from a ricochet, turned on the penalty spot and duly converted. </p><p>However, confusion reigned as referee Lee Probert consulted with his assistant referee and confirmed the goal was to be disallowed for offside, although replays proved the ball had touched a Watford defender first. </p><p>The final ten-minutes offered chances for both sides but Watford failed to find a breakthrough as the Clarets held firm to secure all three points. </p><p>Burnley will now turn their attention to Stoke midweek before a trip to Brighton, whilst Watford will head to Crystal Palace before hosting Huddersfield. </p>
Stubborn Burnley Holds Firm Against 10-Man Watford

Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Despite the Hornets starting the clash like a house on fire, a red card to Marvin Zeegelaar offered the Clarets an opportunity to capitalise on the visitors need to reshuffle, as Scott Arfield calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net at the end of the first half. Sean Dyche's side then held firm to secure their seventh win of the season.

An open and free flowing game was expected between two of the Premier League's surprise packets this season, and the opening proceedings proved to be just that.

Watford rushed out of the starting blocks, pressing high up the field which forced Burnley into mistakes as they rushed in possession. The front foot approach from the visitors offered the first clear chance on goal through the in-form Richarlison, whose lunged effort from a ball whipped across the six-yard line was sent flying over the crossbar.

For all of Watford's domination on the ball however, it was the home side who came the closest to securing an early lead through Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson.

The winger's free-kick from just outside the box was curled perfectly over the seven-man wall and looked destined to nestle into the bottom right-corner, but a quick reaction and strong left-hand from Heurelho Gomes kept the scores level.

Like a yo-yo, the ball was quickly on the other side of the field, with Burnley stopper Nick Pope called into action to expertly steer the ball clear after it emerged through a number of legs following a volley from Abdoulaye Doucouré.

As the game continued to move from one end to the other with relative ease, the Hornets were dealt a significant blow when Zeegelaar was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute after his two-footed sliding tackle met the lower legs of Steven Defour, which forced Marco Silva into an early reshuffle of his side.

Whilst Watford sought to settle with 10-men, Burnley took advantage. After nicking the ball off the Hornets in their defensive half, the Clarets poured forward with Gudmundsson's pass across the box met by Arfield.

The 29-year-old shuffled to the left and sent the ball back across the keeper and into the back of the net in the 45th minute - displaying a touch of quality which was missing for the majority of the half.

The first term ended in dubious circumstances as both sides had penalty shouts turned down either side of the goal, first Watford as Richarlison appeared to be dragged down in the box, and then Burnley after they called for handball against Darryl Janmaat.

Despite being a man and goal down, the Hornets rallied at the start of the second period, as both Janmaat and Andre Carrillo were afforded space in the box in a bout of sustained pressure, which ended with Tom Cleverly lashing the ball over the crossbar.

Burnley went up the other end and thought they had added their second of the afternoon as Jack Cork bundled the ball over the line from a free-kick, but the midfielder's goal was questionably deemed to be offside.

After successfully pushing back the plucky 10-man Watford and asserting their dominance on the game, the Clarets had again thought they'd scored their second when Ashley Barnes found the ball at his feet from a ricochet, turned on the penalty spot and duly converted.

However, confusion reigned as referee Lee Probert consulted with his assistant referee and confirmed the goal was to be disallowed for offside, although replays proved the ball had touched a Watford defender first.

The final ten-minutes offered chances for both sides but Watford failed to find a breakthrough as the Clarets held firm to secure all three points.

Burnley will now turn their attention to Stoke midweek before a trip to Brighton, whilst Watford will head to Crystal Palace before hosting Huddersfield.

Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as &quot;all or nothing&quot; and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool&#39;s first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool 7 Spartak Moscow 0: Philippe Coutinho hits hat-trick as Jurgen Klopp's men break English record for group stage goals
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as "all or nothing" and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool's first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as &quot;all or nothing&quot; and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool&#39;s first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool 7 Spartak Moscow 0: Philippe Coutinho hits hat-trick as Jurgen Klopp's men break English record for group stage goals
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as "all or nothing" and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool's first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as &quot;all or nothing&quot; and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool&#39;s first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool 7 Spartak Moscow 0: Philippe Coutinho hits hat-trick as Jurgen Klopp's men break English record for group stage goals
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as "all or nothing" and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool's first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as &quot;all or nothing&quot; and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool&#39;s first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool 7 Spartak Moscow 0: Philippe Coutinho hits hat-trick as Jurgen Klopp's men break English record for group stage goals
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as "all or nothing" and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool's first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as &quot;all or nothing&quot; and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool&#39;s first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool 7 Spartak Moscow 0: Philippe Coutinho hits hat-trick as Jurgen Klopp's men break English record for group stage goals
Liverpool have their ‘Fab Four’ and the Premier League have their ‘Fantastic Five’ as the quintet of English clubs all qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League - which is the first time any country has achieved that remarkable feat. Here there was also a Magnificent Seven goal rush. Liverpool completed it in wonderful style, blowing away Spartak Moscow with an exhilarating attacking display orchestrated by their four relentless attackers. Philippe Coutinho, captaining the side, struck his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick while Sadio Mane, twice, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored as they topped Group E. Manager Jurgen Klopp had described this showdown as "all or nothing" and so his team gave their all and left the embarrassed Russian champions with nothing. The goals mean Liverpool scored an incredible 23 times in their six group games only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season, with a record 25 goals - and more than any English team has ever scored, more than Manchester United in 1998-99, when they won it. “Wow, how did that happen,” Klopp later said, paying tribute to the threat posed by Spartak even though they were humiliated. For Liverpool it is the first time they have reached the Champions League group stages since 2009 and it felt like a significant landmark for them, having fallen short in 2010 and 2014, ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. The one set-back, with ramifications for that fixture, was the loss of Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury that reduced him to tears. The game was quickly over. Liverpool claimed three goals in a devastating 17-minute first-half spell, aided by some horrendous defending from Spartak, partly forced by some awesome attacking from all angles. The lead was gift-wrapped inside four minutes. It came from a penalty, awarded after Georgi Dzhikiya bizarrely pulled back Salah following a cross by Coutinho even though it was sailing over the head of the pair of them. Did Dzhikiya slip? Maybe. But he still held Salah’s arm, bringing the striker down with him. Coutinho stepped up and calmly lifted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left as Aleksandr Selikhov dived to his right. Coutinho scores Liverpool's first from the spot Credit: Getty images The Kop’s raucous reaction had probably helped make up the mind of Polish referee Szymon Marciniak but it was some mad defending by Dzhikiya. It was also – at three minutes and 51 seconds – the fastest-ever goal in a Champions League game at this stadium. Liverpool were buoyed; Liverpool were rampant. Klopp had reunited that attacking quartet, after several games of rotation, although he later described the formation as a more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 with Mane and Coutinho wide midfielders and Salah behind Firmino. Whatever it was, it worked. They broke, with all four involved, as Mane slid the ball through to Salah who switched it out to Firmino. The striker had time and space and rolled it across the area for Coutinho to side-foot back across goal and into the net. Then they struck again - and again Spartak were culpable as they lost possession on half-way with Mane sprinting into their area and crossing towards Salah. The ball was intercepted by Serdar Tasci – it may well have been another penalty as it struck the defender’s arm – but it rebounded to Firmino who curled it first-time inside the far post with the outside of his right boot. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal So the tie was finished. Liverpool had drawn 1-1 in Moscow in September, but Spartak were without Quincy Promes, their leading scorer, the captain, Denis Glushakov, and the striker Ze Luis on that occasion and although their record in Europe is modest they had lost just one of their past 19 games in all competitions. However any Klopp concerns had been quickly blown away. Once more the quartet combined with Coutinho playing an ‘around-the-corner’ pass to Firmino who ferried it on for Salah who flicked it out wide to allow Mane a clear run on goal. It was a glorious set-up – only for Mane to blast over…just as Salah did after wriggling free moments later. Moreno’s replacement was James Milner and such was Liverpool’s dominance that he popped up as a left-winger, not a left-back, involving himself in three of the four second-half goals. Soon after the re-start they struck with Coutinho pushing the ball out wide to Milner who crossed for Mane to scissor a glorious, acrobatic right-footed volley high into the net. It was a stunning finish. Sadio Mane scores the goal of the night to make it 4-0 Credit: Getty images Anfield erupted for that one and then, also, for Coutinho as he completed that hat-trick, collecting a short pass from Milner and driving his shot goalwards with it ricocheting heavily off defender Salvatore Bocchetti and beyond the wrong-footed Selikhov. It was Liverpool’s first Champions League hat-trick for 10 years. Mane claimed his second with Firmino’s replacement Daniel Sturridge pulling out wide right, from Salah’s pass, and unselfishly crossing low for Mane to stretch, as he stumbled, and side-foot home. Sturridge should have had a penalty, when he was felled by Selikhov, and then the striker flicked the ball over under pressure. Finally it was Salah who did score – and how odd it would have felt if he had not! - with Milner alertly heading the ball back infield towards Sturridge, who smartly jumped over it. It ran to Salah who checked and fired high into the goal to complete the rout, the second time they have scored seven in Europe this season. It was some show of power. 9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool&#39;s possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that&#39;s that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn&#39;t make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno&#39;s injury ahead of Sunday&#39;s Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They&#39;re now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner&#39;s cross after Sturridge&#39;s dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn&#39;t been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic&#39;s pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn&#39;t taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven&#39;t these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah&#39;s effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can&#39;t get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can&#39;t beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don&#39;t think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It&#39;s another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I&#39;m predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn&#39;t need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here&#39;s the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn&#39;t look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He&#39;s nodding, which I am interpreting as &quot;yes, thanks. I&#39;m ok.&quot; 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He&#39;s bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman&#39;s flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It&#39;s deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren&#39;t finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano&#39;s leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool&#39;s third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool&#39;s lead, and it&#39;s a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn&#39;t notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it&#39;s a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis&#39; lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let&#39;s say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He&#39;ll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won&#39;t care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It&#39;s so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let&#39;s find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak&#39;s dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn&#39;t reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak&#39;s top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool&#39;s weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors&#39; threat. 7:17PM Liverpool&#39;s youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here&#39;s the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it&#39;s all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that&#39;s what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants &quot;Anfield to be at its best&quot; as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group&#39;s other fixture, Klopp&#39;s men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here&#39;s how the table looks going into tonight&#39;s game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren&#39;t much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow, Champions League: live score updates
9:39PM Who could Liverpool face? Liverpool's possible #UCL opponents: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk. #LFC— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) December 6, 2017 9:36PM Full time And that's that. Liverpool have strolled, incredibly, to their second 7-0 win of this group stage alone. That really was very impressive stuff from the hosts, but Spartak were truly awful and didn't make much of a game of it. Liverpool will be pleased to have won that without expending too much effort, the only blemish Alberto Moreno's injury ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby. Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal 9:32PM They're now on 23... Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017 9:30PM GOOOOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak (Salah) And Salah has his goal. He latches on to Milner's cross after Sturridge's dummy, fakes a shot to sell two defenders before firing into the top corner. Just so easy. Liverpool 7 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Mohamed Salah, 86 min) 9:27PM 84 mins Lovely ball inside the full back from Mane, Alexander-Arnold comes steaming into the area and crosses low for Sturridge, but he can only turn over the bar. Out: Liverpool 6 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Daniel Sturridge, 84 min) 9:26PM 81 mins Big penalty shout and Sturridge cannot believe it hasn't been given. Coutinho scoops a ball over the defence, Sturridge runs onto it, tries to tap it past the onrushing keeper, but replays show Selikhov gets an inadvertent touch on it before Spartak scramble it clear. 9:20PM GOAL! Mane makes it 6-0! Mane nicks possession inside the centre circle and Liverpool burst to life. Can finds Salah and Sturridge is advancing to his right. He looks up to see Mane arriving in the six yard box and squares the ball across goal for Mane to tap in. It was just behind him but he does well to force it home. Ball recovery: Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Emre Can, 72 min) 9:18PM 74 mins Quincy Promes with the best effort of the game for Spartak, controlling Zabalic's pass before whipping an effort towards the far post, but it flies just wide of the post. 9:14PM 71 mins Finally Klopp relents. Firmino is replaced by Daniel Sturridge, who will want a goal here. 9:11PM 68 mins Liverpool only have one sub left, but can anyone work out why Klopp isn't taking one of his attackers off with the Merseyside derby in mind? Haven't these guys done enough? Credit: Getty images 9:08PM 66 mins Pasalic turns Wijnaldum well enough in front of the Liverpool defence and shoots from the edge of the area but it flies well over the bar. 9:05PM 61 mins Very nearly six for Liverpool, Selikhov tips Salah's effort around the post after the Egyptian dances his way into the Spartak box, opens his body up and shoots left-footed towards the bottom left-corner. Good save. 9:02PM 60 mins Subs for both teams: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Lovren for Liverpool (Gomez will go to centre-back. Pasalic replaces Dzhikiya for the visitors. 9:01PM 59 mins And I can confirm Liverpool have had a touch in the Liverpool half. Zobnin lofts a cross into the box. Klavan clears. 8:58PM 55 mins Spartak can't get out of their half and Liverpool are rampant. Luiz Adriano turns well near halfway, and lofts a ball over Gomez for Melgarejo to chase, but the newly-introduced sub can't beat the Liverpool man for pace. I don't think Spartak have touched the ball in the Liverpool half since the break. 8:56PM GOOOOOALL!! Coutinho completes his hat-trick to make it 5-0! Liverpool are on fire! It's another move that starts off patiently and then sparks into life in the final third. Firmino finds Milner, who drills a ball into Coutinho on the edge of the box. One touch with his right to control, and a shot with his left without breaking stride, and a deflection wrong-foots Selikhov in the Spartak goal. Liverpool 5 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 50 min) 8:52PM GOOOOOAALL!! Sadio Mane makes it four! Maybe I was a little premature with that 5-0 prediction... Milner gets forward down the left and Coutinho finds him. With his first touches Milner controls the ball and whips in a perfect cross to Mane at the back post, and he meets it on the volley nearly at chest height to slam into the top corner! What a finish that is and Liverpool score within two minutes of the half starting. Liverpool 4 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Sadio Mané, 47 min) 8:48PM The players are back out And Liverpool get the second half started. I'm predicting two more home goals and a 5-0 final score. 8:34PM Half time This game is over, in all honesty. The soft penalty after two minutes gave Liverpool the chance to take full control and they didn't need asking twice. 3-0 up within 19 minutes and cruising, they will finish top of the group. The next 45 minutes are inconsequential, really. Here's the half in graphics: Shots Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow shots on goal Possession Possession: Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Pass map Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow This last one is really interesting. Spartak have had more of the ball and have just about played more passes in the final third, but just look at how many straight passes Liverpool are playing in attacking areas. They are just so clinical on the break and the scoreline reflects that. 8:31PM 45 mins Moreno is down again, and it doesn't look great. He has his head in his hands. James Milner is getting ready to come on. Moreno is in tears as he hobbles off. 8:29PM 44 mins Moreno is back on the pitch. 8:29PM 41 mins Spartak are committing men forward and they have a couple of shooting opportunities blocked by good Liverpool defending. One of those challenges has caused Alberto Moreno an injury - he is down receiving treatment, and for some reason Philippe Coutinho is over there helping out... Moreno is hobbling to the sideline. He's nodding, which I am interpreting as "yes, thanks. I'm ok." 8:24PM 38 mins Dzhikiya is lucky to escape a second yellow for what looks a deliberate handball as Liverpool try to break. 8:23PM 36 mins Firmino turns well into space in midfield, and slides a ball towards Salah who is racing through the space between the two centre-backs. He knows he has Mane in support and plays a beautiful little flick around the corner for the Senegal international to run onto. He's bearing down on goal and should make it four... but miscues his shot and skies it into the stand. 8:21PM 34 mins A nasty-looking collision as Ze Luis goes charging through on goal with Gomez. The Liverpool man looks favourite to get there but here comes Loris Karius! He goes flying into the challenge and all three players smash into each other. They all get up to see the linesman's flag was up! Rush of blood to the head, that. 8:15PM 29 mins Promes shows a rare sign of brightness for the visitors, bursting through a gap in midfield and shooting from just outside the area. It's deflected wide. 8:12PM 26 mins Liverpool certainly aren't finished yet, Coutinho lining up an effort for his third by he is halted as he kicks Luiz Adriano's leg and crumples to the floor on the edge of the box. The Spartak man gets none of the ball, so surely that was a foul?? 8:10PM This would be fun If Liverpool keep up this rate of scoring - one every 6.33 minutes - they will COMFORTABLY beat their record European win of 11-0 over Stromsgodset in 1974.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 6, 2017 8:09PM I imagine this could increase by the end of the night 6 - Roberto Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition. Stage. pic.twitter.com/pOrnBgkkZa— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017 8:07PM 21 mins Liverpool have another chance with Mane shooting wide from edge of the box when he had plenty of options left and right. 8:06PM GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak (Firmino) This is ridiculously easy for Liverpool. Glushakov drills an awful pass at the heels of his advancing left-back, it bounces off him and falls to Sadio Mane. He drives at the Spartak goal, dinks a ball in to the centre, it hits Bochetti (possibly on the arm) and Firmino comes steaming in to slam home Liverpool's third. Game over. Liverpool 3 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Roberto Firmino, 18 min) 8:02PM GOOOOOAL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho) Coutinho gets his second of the game to double Liverpool's lead, and it's a lovely goal involving each of the Fab Four. Mane starts things off by drifting through midfield unchallenged, he feeds Salah, whose first time pass finds Firmino, and rather than shooting from an angle the Brazilian finds his compatriot Coutinho arriving at the back post and lays it on a plate for him. Two goals for Coutinho and Liverpool are strolling. Liverpool 2 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 15 min) 8:00PM 14 mins A good break from Spartak with Zobnin getting forward well on the right, and feeding Luiz Adriano in a central position. He never gets his head up and doesn't notice he has options ahead of him. Instead he shoots from the edge of the box and though he hits it well enough, it's a save Karius will expect to make. Attempt Saved: Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Luiz Adriano, 13 min) 7:56PM 10 mins Mane wastes a decent opportunity from Liverpool choosing to shoot from a tight angle when Salah and Firmino were waiting in the middle for a cross. 7:55PM 8 mins Spartak have responded well, linking play in midfield and forging their first half chance of the game. Promes shoots from Ze Luis' lay-off but his effort is deflected over. The corner comes to nothing. 7:53PM 7 mins The volume is rising at Anfield and the referee is allowing the game to spice up. He dishes out a second yellow inside seven minutes, with Emre Can harshly booked for lunging in, let's say, enthusiastically, in midfield. He'll miss the next game Liverpool game in Europe through suspension. 7:52PM GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho pen.) Nerves settled at Anfield, as Coutinho calmly slots the spot kick home, and that could is huge for this Liverpool team. It was a gift of an early goal, but they won't care. Liverpool 1 - 0 Spartak Moscow (Philippe Coutinho, 4 min) 7:50PM PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Coutinho lofts a hopeful ball into the Spartak box and Mo Salah goes to ground along with Dzhikiya and there are some hopeful calls for a penalty in the stands. The referee takes a second and then gives it! It's so, so, so soft, but the defender gets a yellow card, too. 7:48PM 2 mins All the early possession for the visitors, and all the early noise coming from the away end. There simply cannot be any complacency from Liverpool tonight against a side many will be expecting them to beat. 7:46PM Are we in for more Anfield drama? Let's find out - Spartak get us under way. 7:45PM A reminder of the situation Liverpool need a draw to qualify, and a win to guarantee top spot. Group E – after five games 7:42PM Here come the players Liverpool all in red with white trim; Spartak all white with red trim. 7:27PM Spartak's dangerman Quincy Promes is the man to keep an eye out for tonight. He arguably hasn't reached the heights some thought he might, much like the rest of the current Holland team he is part of. Quincy Promes (centre) during a training session at Anfield Credit: Getty images But he is Spartak's top scorer and has the most assists in the Russian Premier League, while he has two goals and two assist in four Champions League games. We know Liverpool's weaknesses are at the back, and Promes will carry much of the visitors' threat. 7:17PM Liverpool's youth team played Spartak earlier... And it ended with Rhian Brewster being dragged away from his Russian opponents following the final whistle. Liverpool accused Spartak of racism - not for the first time this season - and Brewster alleges that he was abused by opposing players. Youth team coach Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool will be following the matter up and Uefa will no doubt investigate. 6:54PM Klopp explains his selection decisions “I thought the best way not to lose is to win the game. Like always, we will need perfect organisation and we show our respect for the opponent with our attitude in the game. “No line-up gives you the guarantee for a win, we always work with probabilities and stuff like this. “It’s a completely different game [to the one in Russia], they have a different side with three or four important players back in the squad. There is no difference in our approach because you cannot draw with the intention to draw for 90 minutes, that does not work. “We have to work, be well organised and play football. It is our home game and we are a strong side, so we should show that – we should show what we are fighting for.” 6:45PM The teams are in And Klopp makes five changes to the team that beat Brighton on Sunday, and reverts to four at the back. Philippe Coutinho captains the side: Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Mane, Firmino Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge Coutinho captains the side tonight Credit: Getty images As Klopp highlighted yesterday, Spartak have three key men in Quincy Promes, Ze Luis and Denis Glushakov available again. Here's the team. Selikhov; Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya; Fernando, Glushakov; Zobnin, Adriano, Promes; Ze Luis 6:23PM Preamble Here we go then, it's all or nothing for Liverpool tonight. Well, that's what Jurgen Klopp said yesterday ahead of this tie. He wants "Anfield to be at its best" as Liverpool aim to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. So, this is the situation: Liverpool are top of Group E, and require a point to guarantee their place in the next round. However, with second-place Sevilla expected to beat rank outsiders Maribor in the group's other fixture, Klopp's men may actually need three points to fend off Sevilla and secure top spot. Here's how the table looks going into tonight's game: Group E – after five games You might think Liverpool should just be happy to make it through, but there is a difference between first and second place when it comes to second round opponents. Finish second, as Chelsea did last night, and the only teams Liverpool could face would be Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas. Finish top and the options aren't much easier, but they could include Basel, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Small margins and all that... Anyway, we should have team news for you in the next 20 minutes.
Marco Silva took time after Watford’s combative and controversial draw with Tottenham to hit back at Sam Allardyce’s recent comments. Allardyce had questioned the Watford coach’s credentials last week when appointed as Everton manager, saying the Portuguese’s track record “has no comparison whatsoever with mine because he got Hull City relegated”. Silva, who had taken the Hull job when they were already bottom of the table, said: “When he [Allardyce] made this comparison it does not make sense. It is the same thing if I compare his work with a national team coach like Gareth Southgate. It’s like me comparing the goals Richarlison scores in the Premier League to Peter Crouch. Crouch is 37, Richarlison is 20, Crouch has played so many games and Richarlison far less. “If you want easy work, go and see what he was doing when he was 40 years old or what he was doing in his first seven seasons as a coach. Then look at what I am doing. Or you can wait until I am 63 years old and we can compare what I have done. That is the best solution.” Referee Martin Atkinson managed to upset both sets of supporters at Vicarage Road on Saturday Credit: Getty Images Silva has transformed Watford, who took the lead against Spurs with a Christian Kabasele header after 13 minutes. Heung-min Son equalised for Spurs, who have dropped 13 points out of 18 in the past six weeks, ending their title hopes. Mauricio Pochettino, their manager, pointed out they were only two points worse off than at this time last season. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep your level but we are only a few points worse off than last season, we have finished first in our Champions League group and the squad is similar to last season,” he said. “Manchester City have created a massive gap and the gap is too far to win the Premier League, but we are going to improve for sure.” Watford might have won had it not been for the woodwork and some dire decisions by referee Martin Atkinson, who managed to upset both sets of fans. He turned down two penalty appeals from Watford, including a clear handball by Eric Dier in the final minute. And having correctly sent off Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez in the 53rd minute for putting his arm in Richarlison’s face, Atkinson failed to punish Watford defenders Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele for reckless challenges on Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier that should have brought second yellow cards.
Watford manager Marco Silva hits back at Sam Allardyce, saying Everton manager's criticism made 'little sense'
Marco Silva took time after Watford’s combative and controversial draw with Tottenham to hit back at Sam Allardyce’s recent comments. Allardyce had questioned the Watford coach’s credentials last week when appointed as Everton manager, saying the Portuguese’s track record “has no comparison whatsoever with mine because he got Hull City relegated”. Silva, who had taken the Hull job when they were already bottom of the table, said: “When he [Allardyce] made this comparison it does not make sense. It is the same thing if I compare his work with a national team coach like Gareth Southgate. It’s like me comparing the goals Richarlison scores in the Premier League to Peter Crouch. Crouch is 37, Richarlison is 20, Crouch has played so many games and Richarlison far less. “If you want easy work, go and see what he was doing when he was 40 years old or what he was doing in his first seven seasons as a coach. Then look at what I am doing. Or you can wait until I am 63 years old and we can compare what I have done. That is the best solution.” Referee Martin Atkinson managed to upset both sets of supporters at Vicarage Road on Saturday Credit: Getty Images Silva has transformed Watford, who took the lead against Spurs with a Christian Kabasele header after 13 minutes. Heung-min Son equalised for Spurs, who have dropped 13 points out of 18 in the past six weeks, ending their title hopes. Mauricio Pochettino, their manager, pointed out they were only two points worse off than at this time last season. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep your level but we are only a few points worse off than last season, we have finished first in our Champions League group and the squad is similar to last season,” he said. “Manchester City have created a massive gap and the gap is too far to win the Premier League, but we are going to improve for sure.” Watford might have won had it not been for the woodwork and some dire decisions by referee Martin Atkinson, who managed to upset both sets of fans. He turned down two penalty appeals from Watford, including a clear handball by Eric Dier in the final minute. And having correctly sent off Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez in the 53rd minute for putting his arm in Richarlison’s face, Atkinson failed to punish Watford defenders Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele for reckless challenges on Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier that should have brought second yellow cards.
Marco Silva took time after Watford’s combative and controversial draw with Tottenham to hit back at Sam Allardyce’s recent comments. Allardyce had questioned the Watford coach’s credentials last week when appointed as Everton manager, saying the Portuguese’s track record “has no comparison whatsoever with mine because he got Hull City relegated”. Silva, who had taken the Hull job when they were already bottom of the table, said: “When he [Allardyce] made this comparison it does not make sense. It is the same thing if I compare his work with a national team coach like Gareth Southgate. It’s like me comparing the goals Richarlison scores in the Premier League to Peter Crouch. Crouch is 37, Richarlison is 20, Crouch has played so many games and Richarlison far less. “If you want easy work, go and see what he was doing when he was 40 years old or what he was doing in his first seven seasons as a coach. Then look at what I am doing. Or you can wait until I am 63 years old and we can compare what I have done. That is the best solution.” Referee Martin Atkinson managed to upset both sets of supporters at Vicarage Road on Saturday Credit: Getty Images Silva has transformed Watford, who took the lead against Spurs with a Christian Kabasele header after 13 minutes. Heung-min Son equalised for Spurs, who have dropped 13 points out of 18 in the past six weeks, ending their title hopes. Mauricio Pochettino, their manager, pointed out they were only two points worse off than at this time last season. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep your level but we are only a few points worse off than last season, we have finished first in our Champions League group and the squad is similar to last season,” he said. “Manchester City have created a massive gap and the gap is too far to win the Premier League, but we are going to improve for sure.” Watford might have won had it not been for the woodwork and some dire decisions by referee Martin Atkinson, who managed to upset both sets of fans. He turned down two penalty appeals from Watford, including a clear handball by Eric Dier in the final minute. And having correctly sent off Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez in the 53rd minute for putting his arm in Richarlison’s face, Atkinson failed to punish Watford defenders Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele for reckless challenges on Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier that should have brought second yellow cards.
Watford manager Marco Silva hits back at Sam Allardyce, saying Everton manager's criticism made 'little sense'
Marco Silva took time after Watford’s combative and controversial draw with Tottenham to hit back at Sam Allardyce’s recent comments. Allardyce had questioned the Watford coach’s credentials last week when appointed as Everton manager, saying the Portuguese’s track record “has no comparison whatsoever with mine because he got Hull City relegated”. Silva, who had taken the Hull job when they were already bottom of the table, said: “When he [Allardyce] made this comparison it does not make sense. It is the same thing if I compare his work with a national team coach like Gareth Southgate. It’s like me comparing the goals Richarlison scores in the Premier League to Peter Crouch. Crouch is 37, Richarlison is 20, Crouch has played so many games and Richarlison far less. “If you want easy work, go and see what he was doing when he was 40 years old or what he was doing in his first seven seasons as a coach. Then look at what I am doing. Or you can wait until I am 63 years old and we can compare what I have done. That is the best solution.” Referee Martin Atkinson managed to upset both sets of supporters at Vicarage Road on Saturday Credit: Getty Images Silva has transformed Watford, who took the lead against Spurs with a Christian Kabasele header after 13 minutes. Heung-min Son equalised for Spurs, who have dropped 13 points out of 18 in the past six weeks, ending their title hopes. Mauricio Pochettino, their manager, pointed out they were only two points worse off than at this time last season. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep your level but we are only a few points worse off than last season, we have finished first in our Champions League group and the squad is similar to last season,” he said. “Manchester City have created a massive gap and the gap is too far to win the Premier League, but we are going to improve for sure.” Watford might have won had it not been for the woodwork and some dire decisions by referee Martin Atkinson, who managed to upset both sets of fans. He turned down two penalty appeals from Watford, including a clear handball by Eric Dier in the final minute. And having correctly sent off Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez in the 53rd minute for putting his arm in Richarlison’s face, Atkinson failed to punish Watford defenders Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele for reckless challenges on Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier that should have brought second yellow cards.
It is rare that a referee gets booed off the pitch by both sets of fans, but Martin Atkinson managed to upset the supporters of Watford and Tottenham at the end of a hard-fought draw in which the visitors had to play almost 40 minutes with ten men. Davinson Sanchez, their young Colombian centre-back was dismissed in the 53rd minute for raising his arm in the face of Richarlison as the Brazilian winger ran past him. There was no arguing with that decision, but both sides felt Atkinson had a poor game. The referee was otherwise lenient, allowing both Marvin Zeegelaar and Christian Kabasele to go unpunished for wild challenges when they were already on yellow cards. Harry Kane and Dele Alli took a lot of punishment from Watford&#39;s physical approach, and Kane looked battered and bruised as he came off at the end. Despite being reduced to ten men, Spurs had chances on the break to nick three points, and although a draw enabled them to move above Burnley into sixth place, their poor league form continues. They have now failed to win an away game in the league since September, and have only one league victory in their past six games. Harry Kane was given the rough treatement Credit: Getty images Tottenham started slowly again and were made to pay when Watford scored in the 13th minute, as Christian Kabasele headed in a corner from Tom Cleverley. Spurs had reason to feel aggrieved as Kane was caught late by Sebastian Prodl in the build-up, but referee Martin Atkinson waved play on, setting a pattern for the lenience he showed generally. Kane in particular came in for heavy challenges from Prodl, Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele, who received one yellow card and was somewhat fortunate not to get a second. Watford would have doubled their lead had Ben Davies not blocked a spectacular overhead shot from Richarlison, and within five minutes Spurs were level. Christian Eriksen led a quick break and when he crossed from the right, Heung Min Son was unmarked at the far post to sweep the ball into the net from close range. Christian Kabasele puts Watford ahead from a corner Credit: PA Tottenham eventually took control of the game and created the better chances. Kane and Eriksen tested Heurelho Gomes, but the former Spurs goalkeeper held firm. The second half continued with the same pattern, but a real turning point came when Sanchez saw red in the 53rd minute. Richarlison flicked the ball past him on the halfway line, and the Colombian defender threw an arm across the Brazilian&#39;s face to block him. It was a straight red card, and although Sanchez took an age to depart, he can have no complaints. Heung-min Son scores Tottenham&#39;s equaliser Credit: Reuters Spurs had to reshuffle, so Eric Dier moved from midfield to the back. Watford made the most of their numerical advantage to attack Tottenham, having been pegged back up to that point, and Abdoulaye Doucoure almost made it 2-1 in the 63rd minute with a thundering shot from 25 yards that beat Hugo Lloris but cannoned off the inside of the far post and rebounded to safety. Spurs still went for a winning goal, though. Dele Alli, who had also come in for heavy treatment from Watford&#39;s defenders, led a breakaway but was pulled to ground by Kabasele, who was on a yellow card but escaped further punishment. Zeegelaar was also lucky not to get a second yellow for a rash lunge on Kieran Trippier that left the full-back in a heap, but Watford hung on for a point. Even in stoppage time there was controversy as Dier blocked a shot from Richarlison, with Watford claiming handball, Dier pointing to his chest. No penalty was given. 4:56PM Full time Boos meet the final whistle after that penalty claim, and the points are shared. It&#39;s another game without a win for Spurs, but after going down to 10 men only seven minutes into the second half, they will probably be glad to have got away with a draw. Watford, meanwhile, will feel like this was an opportunity they let slip. 4:53PM 90 mins +4 HUUUUUUGE penalty shout for Watford with the last kick of the game but Atkinson waves it away! Richarlison&#39;s cross definitely hits Dier on the arm and the whole ground is appealing for a spot kick, but the referee isn&#39;t sure and after giving Spurs a red card earlier he can&#39;t bring himself do give another big decision against them. Big, big shout. 4:51PM 90 mins +3 It&#39;s still all Watford. Mariappa launches a long throw into the box, Deeney flicks on, but Winks gets in to clear. 4:50PM 90 mins +2 Watford nick possession from Winks and break in numbers. Vicarage Road is bouncing as Carrillo wins a corner off Lamela. He goes across to take but doesn&#39;t beat the first man. A huge groan goes up in the stands. 4:48PM 90 mins Four minutes added on at Vicarage Road. 4:47PM 89 mins Winks fizzes a ball across the six-yard box but Lamela can&#39;t get on the end of it. Watford race up the other end but Carrillo&#39;s final ball lets him down not once, but twice. Firstly a through ball is over hit, then hit floats a cross straight into Lloris&#39;s hands. 4:46PM 89 mins Dembele is fouled in midfield and as Spurs try to take it quickly, Richarlison stops him and gets a yellow. 4:45PM 87 mins Andre Gray replaces Tom Cleverley. Watford are going for it here. 4:45PM 85 mins Watford are in the ascendancy, Richarlison winning a corner but they waste the chance and Lloris claims it. Winks replaces Alli, rather than Dembele. Alli isn&#39;t happy at all. He walks off as slowly as he likes and spits pretty aggressively a number of times. 4:42PM 83 mins Tired, tired legs out there. It&#39;s very open but there are sloppy touches letting players down on both sides. Spurs about to bring Harry Winks on, presumably for Dembele. 4:38PM 80 mins 10 minutes to go. Watford on top but Spurs remain a threat on the break. Can either side nick it? Possession last 15 mins: Possession: Watford vs Spurs 4:37PM 79 mins Lamela takes about a minute to give away a foul. He managed to get booked during his cameo in the week and could easily do so again here. 4:35PM 77 mins Erik Lamela comes on for Heung-min Son for the final 13 minutes. Only his second appearance after a 13-month absence, but he got the assist for Spurs&#39; goal at Leicester in midweek. 4:34PM 75 mins I don&#39;t think this game will finish 1-1 but it&#39;s impossible to guess who will win it. Watford are having a decent spell now, Richarlison nearly getting on the end of a deep cross and Spurs unable to get out for the time being. Watford vs Spurs shots on goal 4:32PM 73 mins Dele Alli does brilliantly to get out of a tight position and find Kane, who plays Sissoko in on the right first time. He gets into the Watford box and shoots but a last ditch challenge denies him. Alli was pulled back by Zeegelaar in the build up and the Dutchman is booked. The Spurs corner comes to nothing. 4:29PM 70 mins Gomes is fine to continue. Vertgonhen is caught in possession by Capoue and when the Frenchman tries to run through on goal Vertonghen hauls him down. That could have been another red but he gets away with a yellow. 4:28PM 68 mins Trippier&#39;s low cross is dealt with by a combination of Gomes and Cleverley, but the Brazilian has got a knock to his head, and we have a short stoppage while this is seen to. 4:25PM 67 mins Another Watford change: Carrillo replaces Pereyra. 4:22PM 63 mins Big let off for Spurs as Doucoure hits a shot with the inside of his right boot from the edge of the box from a corner and it comes off the inside of the post and flies across the goal to safety! Post: Watford 1 - 1 Spurs (Abdoulaye Doucouré, 63 min) Moussa Sissoko replaces Eriksen for Spurs; Capoue on for the yellow-carded Kabasele for Watford. That seems like a wise decision from Marco Silva - the next foul Kabasele made could easily get him sent off. 4:19PM 60 mins Spurs are going to have to do any damage they can on the break and Kane has a glorious chance to do so but he doesn&#39;t hit his shot with any conviction and Gomes claims it easily. Watford race up the other end and win a corner but Vertonghen deals with it well to clear under pressure from Prodl. 4:17PM 59 mins Son goes down on the break but is ignored and suddenly Watford are attacking nine men. Zeegelaar whips a cross in from the left but Richarlison can&#39;t quite get his head to it. 4:16PM 57 mins Harry Kane is being targeted here - he&#39;s been fouled four times already this half and is getting treated really roughly. It&#39;s Kabasele, on a yellow, again this time going through the back of the Spurs No 10 and Kane isn&#39;t happy at all. The fans want a second yellow. Martin Atkinson doesn&#39;t oblige this time. 4:13PM Pochettino still wants the win Dier has dropped into the four man defence, but Poch wants to keep two up top. I think Poch just said 4-3-2.— Nathan A Clark (@NathanAClark) December 2, 2017 4:12PM Red card! Davinson Sanchez is sent off! Watford break down the left with Richarlison - he takes a big touch down the line and looks like he&#39;s away. Davinson Sanchez stops him in his tracks and it immediately looks like a definite yellow card for obstruction. It&#39;s happened right in front of the Watford bench though, and they want more! They&#39;re all up in arms, and the referee obliges, giving Sanchez a straight red. Replays show he does use his arm and connects with Richarlison&#39;s face, but it&#39;s definitely not violent conduct or deliberate. Very, very harsh indeed. 4:09PM 50 mins The first real action of the half as Kane holds Kabasele off well, and then turns at pace up field but Kabasele decides to stop the Spurs man in his tracks. He takes Kane down and earns a yellow card. 4:06PM 48 mins A sluggish start from both teams with a couple of sloppy passes on either side. 4:03PM No changes for either team And Christian Eriksen gets the second half started. 3:50PM Half time And the teams go in level. Spurs have certainly had the better of the half and recovered well after going behind to that early Kabasele header, but they will be mightily relieved to have brought this back to 1-1. You&#39;d have to fancy Tottenham based on that 45 minutes, but an awful lot could change in that time. Here&#39;s the story of the half in graphics: Possession Possession: Watford vs Spurs Average player positions Average touch positions (half time) Shots Watford vs Spurs shots on goal 3:47PM 45 mins Spurs break at pace down the left as Kane finds Son, who looks right but his pass just doesn&#39;t make it to Eriksen. 3:44PM 42 mins Alli wins another free-kick, this time out on the right. Tripper&#39;s cross is cleared and the second ball in falls to Davies, but he drags his volley wide of the target. 3:43PM 40 mins Kane it caught offside again as Spurs waste another chance to break. That&#39;s six times Kane or Son has been caught offside already today. If you&#39;re not sure what would amount to a lot here, six is loads for one half. 3:41PM 38 mins Doucoure strides forward into space in an inside right position and connects well enough with a shot but it flies a good couple of yards wide of the target. 3:39PM 37 mins Eriksen shoots straight at Gomes. Attempt Saved: Watford 1 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 36 min) 3:39PM 36 mins Dele Alli nips in between two Watford challenges and Cleverley shows his frustration by bringing him down. He earns himself a yellow card. Christian Eriksen is over the free-kick - but it looks a long way out... 3:36PM 33 mins An almost exact replica of Cleverley&#39;s corner for the goal but this time Kabasele is nowhere to be seen. Kane clears as he should have done for the goal. 3:35PM 32 mins Richarlison bursts forwards on the left and wins a corner off Sanchez. Spurs need to deal with this one better than they did the last... 3:34PM 31 mins Alli and Davies try to wriggle away from a host of Watford players but the defenders manage to snuff the attack out well. 3:32PM Even stevens after half an hour Watford vs Spurs shots on goal 3:30PM That penalty appeal Watford&#39;s fans feel all the more aggrieved given they conceded so soon after that penalty claim, but having watched the replay again, it would have been incredibly harsh to give it. 3:28PM GOOOOOOAALLLL! Watford 1-1 Spurs (Son) Richarlison goes down under a high ball and Watford are after a penalty. It doesn&#39;t look convincing though and Spurs aren&#39;t in any mood to wait around. Eriksen gets away down the right from Trippier&#39;s pass, spots Son arriving at the back post and plays a perfectly-weighted ball into his path to tap in the equaliser. We&#39;re all square! Watford 1 - 1 Spurs (Son Heung-Min, 25 min) 3:25PM 23 mins Kane drops deep to get the ball off Dier, drives forward and then lifts a teasing ball in towards Alli at the back post, but he&#39;s put just much on it. 3:23PM 21 mins Zeegelaar launches a long throw into the Spurs box, Deeney flicks on and Richarlison attempts an overhead kick but can&#39;t quite connect under pressure from Vertonghen. 3:20PM It&#39;s not been a great start for Spurs Watford vs Spurs shots on goal 3:20PM 17 mins Femenia cuts back on the right and Son clips his heels. Free-kick Watford in another dangerous position. But Davies gets a head to it and it comes to nothing. 3:16PM GOOOOOAALL!!! Watford 1-0 Spurs (Kabasele) It&#39;s the first time Watford have made it anywhere near Hugo Lloris&#39;s goal and they have scored! Tom Cleverley whips an in-swinging corner onto Kabasele&#39;s head and he glances into the far corner. Spurs are behind. Again. Watford 1 - 0 Spurs (Christian Kabasele, 13 min) 3:13PM 10 mins No chances for either side so far, but it&#39;s been a nervy start for Watford, who haven&#39;t strung many passes together at all. Pochettino has ditched the three man defence here, and Spurs look markedly more comfortable than in recent weeks, back in the 4-2-3-1 they played for so long. Heung-min Son could be the main beneficiary. 3:09PM 6 mins What a ball from Kieran Trippier! He is by a beautiful cross-field pass from Dier, and crosses, low into the six-yard box towards Kane, but the ball just evades him and he goes flying into the post. It looks nasty but he&#39;s soon up on his feet again. 3:06PM 4 mins Spurs have made the stronger start here - they&#39;ve talked in recent weeks about coming out of the blocks quicker. Prodl gets away with a near blind back pass, before Son is caught offside once again. 3:03PM 2 mins Spurs put a couple of long straight passes to Kane and then Son, but Watford hold their line well and catch both offside. 3:02PM Watford get us started It&#39;s a cold but dry day at Vicarage Road. Perfect conditions. Here&#39;s to hoping for a good game. 3:00PM The players are on their way out I&#39;m hoping for something like this today: 2:49PM Some pre-match stats from our friends at Opta Watford have failed to win all of their previous eight Premier League games against Tottenham (W0 D2 L6); the most games they’ve played against any opponent without winning in the competition. Watford last picked up a top-flight victory against Spurs in the final game of the 1986-87 season. Tottenham have lost three consecutive away league games for the first time under Mauricio Pochettino. They last lost four in a row on the road in January 2009 under Harry Redknapp. Spurs are struggling for form Credit: Getty images Spurs have now lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of last season (4). Watford’s two home wins this season have come from both games against London opposition (Arsenal and West Ham). Dele Alli has scored three and assisted another in his last three Premier League games against the Hornets. 2:43PM Only three points separates these teams After two wins in a row before their recent defeat to Manchester Untied, Watford are eighth in the table and just three points behind Spurs in seventh. Tottenham are without a win in three and have taken only four points from their last five games, struggling terribly since the last international break. They can&#39;t afford any more slip ups, and certainly not today. 2:24PM Deeney returns, but Winks isn&#39;t fit to Watford manager Marco Silva has decided to change things up a little, with Troy Deeney back in the starting lineup at Andre Gray&#39;s expense - presumably to try and rough up Tottenham&#39;s defence like he did Arsenal&#39;s earlier this season. Spurs, meanwhile, have Harry Winks back on the bench after they missed him so badly in the defeat at Leicester in midweek. He was absent there due to illness, and clearly isn&#39;t well enough to play just yet. Erik Lamela is on the bench again after making an impressive return to action from the bench at the King Power - he&#39;ll definitely be making an appearance today. 2:04PM TEAM NEWS - Tottenham #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Son, Dele, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/GJ4M6OOiiD— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 2, 2017 2:03PM TEAM NEWS - Watford | #watfordfc XI v @SpursOfficial: Gomes (GK); Mariappa, Prödl, Kabasele; Femenía, Cleverley, Doucouré, Zeegelaar; Pereyra, Richarlison; Deeney (C). Subs: Karnezis (GK), Wagué, Janmaat, Watson, Capoue, Carrillo, Gray. pic.twitter.com/LKPWoZ3W2S— Watford FC (@WatfordFC) December 2, 2017 2:02PM Match preview - Silva hails Dier Watford boss Marco Silva says he is not surprised by Eric Dier&#39;s emergence as a key player for club and country after working with the Tottenham man at Sporting Lisbon. Dier, 23, moved to Portugal as a child and came through the ranks at the Primeira Liga giants before returning to England in 2014 when he was signed by Spurs. Since then he has established himself as a key part of Mauricio Pochettino&#39;s plans and captained England in last month&#39;s friendlies against Germany and Brazil. While Silva took over at the Estadio Jose Alvalade just three months before Dier&#39;s move to Tottenham, the midfielder said his new coach was &quot;fantastic&quot; for him during that time. Silva, who followed Dier to England by taking the job as Hull City boss last season, was left as equally impressed by the player he saw begrudgingly depart. &quot;When Eric was with me, I saw since the first day that he was an amazing boy in that moment, one player with fantastic skills,&quot; he said. &quot;For me it is not a surprise what he has achieved at Tottenham and what he has achieved with the national team as well. &quot;In that moment he was a big miss for me at Sporting when he left in the pre-season, I tried everything to keep him at Sporting because he would have been a really important player for me and my ideas but at the moment he had a dream to come to Tottenham and the Premier League.&quot; Watford go into the game knowing a victory would take them level on points with seventh-placed Spurs. They will be without midfielder Will Hughes after he suffered a hamstring injury in Tuesday&#39;s 4-2 defeat to Manchester United.
Watford 1 Tottenham 1: Davinson Sanchez sent off as Martin Atkinson leaves both sets of fans feeling aggrieved
It is rare that a referee gets booed off the pitch by both sets of fans, but Martin Atkinson managed to upset the supporters of Watford and Tottenham at the end of a hard-fought draw in which the visitors had to play almost 40 minutes with ten men. Davinson Sanchez, their young Colombian centre-back was dismissed in the 53rd minute for raising his arm in the face of Richarlison as the Brazilian winger ran past him. There was no arguing with that decision, but both sides felt Atkinson had a poor game. The referee was otherwise lenient, allowing both Marvin Zeegelaar and Christian Kabasele to go unpunished for wild challenges when they were already on yellow cards. Harry Kane and Dele Alli took a lot of punishment from Watford's physical approach, and Kane looked battered and bruised as he came off at the end. Despite being reduced to ten men, Spurs had chances on the break to nick three points, and although a draw enabled them to move above Burnley into sixth place, their poor league form continues. They have now failed to win an away game in the league since September, and have only one league victory in their past six games. Harry Kane was given the rough treatement Credit: Getty images Tottenham started slowly again and were made to pay when Watford scored in the 13th minute, as Christian Kabasele headed in a corner from Tom Cleverley. Spurs had reason to feel aggrieved as Kane was caught late by Sebastian Prodl in the build-up, but referee Martin Atkinson waved play on, setting a pattern for the lenience he showed generally. Kane in particular came in for heavy challenges from Prodl, Marvin Zeegelaar and Kabasele, who received one yellow card and was somewhat fortunate not to get a second. Watford would have doubled their lead had Ben Davies not blocked a spectacular overhead shot from Richarlison, and within five minutes Spurs were level. Christian Eriksen led a quick break and when he crossed from the right, Heung Min Son was unmarked at the far post to sweep the ball into the net from close range. Christian Kabasele puts Watford ahead from a corner Credit: PA Tottenham eventually took control of the game and created the better chances. Kane and Eriksen tested Heurelho Gomes, but the former Spurs goalkeeper held firm. The second half continued with the same pattern, but a real turning point came when Sanchez saw red in the 53rd minute. Richarlison flicked the ball past him on the halfway line, and the Colombian defender threw an arm across the Brazilian's face to block him. It was a straight red card, and although Sanchez took an age to depart, he can have no complaints. Heung-min Son scores Tottenham's equaliser Credit: Reuters Spurs had to reshuffle, so Eric Dier moved from midfield to the back. Watford made the most of their numerical advantage to attack Tottenham, having been pegged back up to that point, and Abdoulaye Doucoure almost made it 2-1 in the 63rd minute with a thundering shot from 25 yards that beat Hugo Lloris but cannoned off the inside of the far post and rebounded to safety. Spurs still went for a winning goal, though. Dele Alli, who had also come in for heavy treatment from Watford's defenders, led a breakaway but was pulled to ground by Kabasele, who was on a yellow card but escaped further punishment. Zeegelaar was also lucky not to get a second yellow for a rash lunge on Kieran Trippier that left the full-back in a heap, but Watford hung on for a point. Even in stoppage time there was controversy as Dier blocked a shot from Richarlison, with Watford claiming handball, Dier pointing to his chest. No penalty was given. 4:56PM Full time Boos meet the final whistle after that penalty claim, and the points are shared. It's another game without a win for Spurs, but after going down to 10 men only seven minutes into the second half, they will probably be glad to have got away with a draw. Watford, meanwhile, will feel like this was an opportunity they let slip. 4:53PM 90 mins +4 HUUUUUUGE penalty shout for Watford with the last kick of the game but Atkinson waves it away! Richarlison's cross definitely hits Dier on the arm and the whole ground is appealing for a spot kick, but the referee isn't sure and after giving Spurs a red card earlier he can't bring himself do give another big decision against them. Big, big shout. 4:51PM 90 mins +3 It's still all Watford. Mariappa launches a long throw into the box, Deeney flicks on, but Winks gets in to clear. 4:50PM 90 mins +2 Watford nick possession from Winks and break in numbers. Vicarage Road is bouncing as Carrillo wins a corner off Lamela. He goes across to take but doesn't beat the first man. A huge groan goes up in the stands. 4:48PM 90 mins Four minutes added on at Vicarage Road. 4:47PM 89 mins Winks fizzes a ball across the six-yard box but Lamela can't get on the end of it. Watford race up the other end but Carrillo's final ball lets him down not once, but twice. Firstly a through ball is over hit, then hit floats a cross straight into Lloris's hands. 4:46PM 89 mins Dembele is fouled in midfield and as Spurs try to take it quickly, Richarlison stops him and gets a yellow. 4:45PM 87 mins Andre Gray replaces Tom Cleverley. Watford are going for it here. 4:45PM 85 mins Watford are in the ascendancy, Richarlison winning a corner but they waste the chance and Lloris claims it. Winks replaces Alli, rather than Dembele. Alli isn't happy at all. He walks off as slowly as he likes and spits pretty aggressively a number of times. 4:42PM 83 mins Tired, tired legs out there. It's very open but there are sloppy touches letting players down on both sides. Spurs about to bring Harry Winks on, presumably for Dembele. 4:38PM 80 mins 10 minutes to go. Watford on top but Spurs remain a threat on the break. Can either side nick it? Possession last 15 mins: Possession: Watford vs Spurs 4:37PM 79 mins Lamela takes about a minute to give away a foul. He managed to get booked during his cameo in the week and could easily do so again here. 4:35PM 77 mins Erik Lamela comes on for Heung-min Son for the final 13 minutes. Only his second appearance after a 13-month absence, but he got the assist for Spurs' goal at Leicester in midweek. 4:34PM 75 mins I don't think this game will finish 1-1 but it's impossible to guess who will win it. Watford are having a decent spell now, Richarlison nearly getting on the end of a deep cross and Spurs unable to get out for the time being. Watford vs Spurs shots on goal 4:32PM 73 mins Dele Alli does brilliantly to get out of a tight position and find Kane, who plays Sissoko in on the right first time. He gets into the Watford box and shoots but a last ditch challenge denies him. Alli was pulled back by Zeegelaar in the build up and the Dutchman is booked. The Spurs corner comes to nothing. 4:29PM 70 mins Gomes is fine to continue. Vertgonhen is caught in possession by Capoue and when the Frenchman tries to run through on goal Vertonghen hauls him down. That could have been another red but he gets away with a yellow. 4:28PM 68 mins Trippier's low cross is dealt with by a combination of Gomes and Cleverley, but the Brazilian has got a knock to his head, and we have a short stoppage while this is seen to. 4:25PM 67 mins Another Watford change: Carrillo replaces Pereyra. 4:22PM 63 mins Big let off for Spurs as Doucoure hits a shot with the inside of his right boot from the edge of the box from a corner and it com