Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season beating Liverpool at Anfield by 2-1 in a feisty contested encounter. Emre Can had earlier put the home side ahead as his deflected shot from range beat a hapless Thiabaut Courtois. Chelsea though restored parity when Gary Cahill drove in his effort following a goalmouth scramble. Diego Costa then put the Blues ahead and on course to go 7 points clear at the top of the table.
Here are Soccerlens player ratings for Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea:
Thiabaut Courtois 7– The Belgian was unlucky to concede from Emre Can’s deflected effort but his ball collection was and distribution was terrific. Courtois however hadn’t had to make any save in the last 25 minutes after Chelsea went 2-1 up. Speaks volumes of the non-existent Liverpool attacking line.
Branislav Ivanovic 6- Once again, it was a great shift put in by the Serbian who ran tirelessly, barging forward at every occasion possible. Was silly to get himself booked when he blocked Sterling, holding back the Liverpool youngster. Tidied up in defense too, always clearing the much important second balls.
Gary Cahill 5- The English International was in the heart of most things throughout the 90 minutes. Firstly, Emre Can’s effort deflected past him as Chelsea conceded but made amends by scoring the equalizer to restore parity. Cahill though was lucky to survive a late penalty call as it appeared that the ball had brushed past his left hand.
John Terry 6– The Chelsea captain stood tall in the back four making some key blocks and had a great game personally. Despite getting slow with age, Terry showed his positional awareness and tactical nous throughout.
Cesar Azpilicueta 7- The Spaniard came back from his 3 match suspension to produce a brilliant match winning performance. Rock solid at left back, he negated Coutinho throughout the second half and then ran almost the entire length of the pitch to set up Costa’s winner. He is arguably the best defender in the Premier league.
Nemanja Matic 7- Showed exactly why he is Chelsea’s most important player. As the above heat map suggests, he threw his body everywhere, ran like an engine and harried Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling. His individual stats read: 3 interceptions, 2 tackles won, 4 clearances.
Ramires 5- The Brazilian was asked to do a job, stifle Liverpool’s attacking threats and he did just that to perfection. Should have been booked for elbowing Sterling in the first half but apart from that he was immaculate with his passing. A tireless runner throughout before getting substituted.
Cesc Fabregas 5- Jordan Henderson did a fantastic job of marking Fabregas not allowing the Spaniard any yard of space in the final third. However it was from Fabregas’ corner from which Cahill equalized.
Eden Hazard 6– Once again a good game according to his high standards but would be disappointed having missed three glorious opportunities in the first half. Had an immense work rate tracking aback and joining attacks whenever needed.
Oscar 5– Like Hazard, his work rate was phenomenal, had very few opportunities to create any chance in the congested midfield. Received a late yellow card for a rash tackle.
Diego Costa 6- Another goal and another match winner for the Brazilian born turned Spaniard. Made a nuisance of himself shoving with Martin Skrtel throughout the encounter but as the scoreline stands, the striker had the last laugh.
Willian 5- Like Oscar and Hazard did a great job running in the final third and once again his work rate shows what discipline Mouriho has instilled in his team.
Didier Drogba n/a– Just touched the ball a couple of times
Filipe Luis n/a– Brought on in the last minute and just got one touch of the ball.
Simon Mignolet 4- Made a great save to deny John Terry but the rebound was drilled in by Cahill. Mignolet though, was poor in his distribution and the following vine might sum up his passing.
Glen Johnson 5– He did well to block to Eden Hazard efforts in the first half but was caught napping as Azpilicueta dribbled past Coutinho to set up Chelsea’s winner. Only won 20% of his tackles.
Martin Skrtel 4- Was engaged in a wrestling duel with Costa throughout and was caught in no man’s land as Cahill scored.
Dejan Lovren 2– The lesser said the better. The above picture might explain everything. Failed to win a single tackle.
Alberto Moreno 6- Showed great enthusiasm with his bursts forward but was unlucky to see Costa score as the ball deflected from his thigh.
Steven Gerrard 4– Tough to rate him on a day when he failed to win a single tackle but his passing range was exceptional. No end product; no chances created though
Jordan Henderson 6- Did a great job in marking Cesc Fabregas but was not in his usual third man running aplomb. Had a late volley blocked by Ivanovic
Emre Can 7- The German was certainly Liverpool’s best player apart from Coutinho. Was lucky to score but made great runs in between the channels.
Philipe Coutinho 7- Brendan Rodgers defended his substitution taking Coutinho off as he didn’t create enough. Well the Brazilian was Liverpool’s attacking outlet throughout the first half. I tend to disagree with Mr Rodgers here.
Raheem Sterling 4- Had a quiet game according to his standards and was unlucky to be booked after being on the receiving end of Ramires’ elbow.
Mario Balotelli 5- The Italian tried his best but it wasn’t enough. Balotelli looked high on confidence though, holding the ball well and using his strength to get his team mates involved but the monkey is still not off his back.
Joe Allen 4- Hardly made an impact
Fabio Borini 5- Looked sharp but failed to carve a clear goal scoring chance. Saw his header flow past Courtois from a tight angle.
Rickie Lambert n/a- Had very few touches of the ball and had a great chance to set Sterling but his shot was over-hit.