Liverpool ensured their Premier League title-lifting celebrations came off the back of a victory, as a barmy 5-3 win over Chelsea saw the visitors’ hopes of elite European qualification suffer a potentially crucial blow.
The deadlock was broken in mesmerising fashion, with Naby Keita unleashing a rocket that flew beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga off the underside of the bar. Not to be outdone by his teammate, Trent Alexander-Arnold sprinkled his own magic on the affair with a fine bending free kick.
Georginio Wijnaldum then got in on the act, firing high into the net after a poorly defended corner fell into his path. There was some reprieve for the visitors, with Olivier Giroud stabbing home just before half time.
Roberto Firmino ended a barren run without a home goal ten minutes after the restart, heading home after a stunning delivery from Alexander-Arnold. The goals kept pouring in, this time Tammy Abraham poking home after a glorious set up by Christian Pulisic. The American didn’t stop there, firing high beyond Alisson to set up a tense finale.
With the Blues pressing, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain provided a killer blow with a well taken finish to cap off a mad evening of football. One that leaves Chelsea’s European hopes left to the final round, and one that sees Liverpool lift the Premier League with a win to boot.
Key Talking Point
Did Liverpool win? Who cares, they’ve just lifted the Premier League title. Did Liverpool draw? Who cares, they’ve just lifted the Premier League title. Did Liverpool lose? Who cares, they’ve just lifted the Premier League title.
Wednesday’s clash was always going to be a moment to savour for the squad and the millions of Reds supporters around the world, regardless of the outcome. They could’ve been thumped 4-0, but shortly after full time that would’ve all been forgotten as they brought 30 long years of waiting to a celebratory end.
Yet, with all that said, the manner in which they won at Anfield was befitting of the occasion. Bags of entertainment. Some superb goals against a top four side were the cherry on the cake, one that is soon to be covered in confetti and glitter, all the while broadcast across the globe. A day to savour for all in red.
Starting XI: Alisson (7); Alexander-Arnold (8*), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7); Keita (8), Fabinho (7), Wijnaldum (8); Salah (7), Firmino (7), Mane (7).
Substitutes: Milner (7), Jones (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Minamino (N/A), Origi (N/A).
Kept Mason Mount at bay? All game. Scored a superb free kick? Dispatched. Set up Firmino with a sublime cross? Whipped.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right back in the world right now.
Key Talking Point
Change the system all you want, switch to a back three, five or whatever, but if the personnel aren’t capable of defending then it’s irrelevant what formation you go with. Frank Lampard saw his side defend superbly with a back three in the FA Cup semi finals, but the inconsistencies they show at the back have threatened their Champions League spot.
Unless the club have kept some of their business very tight-lipped, then the foolishness to go out and splash millions on forwards that could stretch way beyond three figures defies logic. Especially when someone like Pulisic is so incredibly talented that there is no need for such hefty reinforcements.
Chelsea will spend money on more forwards though, that much is certain. If they’ve got the money to spend and the scope to do so then, well, do it. But don’t abandon defensive stability for attacking flair when the issues in this side are as clear as day. Please, buy defenders.
Starting XI: Kepa (5); Azpilicueta (6), Zouma (5), Rudiger (5); James (6) Jorginho (5), Kovacic (6), Alonso (5); Willian (5), Giroud (7), Mount (6).
Substitutes: Abraham (7), Hudson-Odoi (6), Pulisic (9*).
He was only for half an hour but Christian Pulisic did more in the first 30 seconds of coming on than any other Chelsea forward on Wednesday.
He was Eden Hazard-like at times. But why doesn’t he start each week and why does Lampard want three more forwards? Baffling.
Premier League final day action beckons for both clubs on Sunday, with Chelsea hosting Wolves and Liverpool making the journey to Newcastle