March 20, 2023


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Mane punish 10 man Chelsea and error prone Kepa

2 min read

Sadio Mane’s double saw Liverpool continue their 100 per cent start to the season with a 2-0 victory over ten-man Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mane struck twice in quick succession early in the second half, the second coming courtesy of an awful mistake by Kepa Arrizabalaga, after the Blues had had Andreas Christensen sent off in first-half stoppage time, while Jorginho saw a penalty saved by Alisson late on.

Liverpool were without both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip because of minor injuries so Fabinho was asked to deputise at centre-back, while new boy Thiago Alcantara was named among the substitutes.

Frank Lampard made just one change to the side that had gotten Chelsea’s season off to a winning start at Brighton on Monday, with Matteo Kovacic available again after suspension and brought into the line-up in place of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Liverpool dominated large spells of the opening period without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances, though Mo Salah’s drive across the face of goal would only have needed a touch to open the scoring, while Christensen made a crucial clearance after the Egyptian had rounded Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was found in no man’s land.

At the other end, Timo Werner was once again Chelsea’s liveliest attacking force, the German operating from the left and going closest with a low effort that drifted wide of the far corner.

On the stroke of half-time came a pivotal moment, as Jordan Henderson’s terrific ball sent Sadio Mane racing in behind. Christensen had been caught the wrong side of his man and made a cynical, rugby tackle to haul the Reds striker down, which Paul Tierney initially deemed worthy of a yellow card before consulting the pitchside monitor and upgrading his decision.

Henderson was forced off at the break with a tight groin, so Klopp handed Thiago an earlier than expected debut, while Lampard moved to plug the hole in his backline by sacrificing Havertz and sending on Fikayo Tomori.

It took the visitors just five minutes of the second half to find a breakthrough against ten men as Mane steered a superb header into the far corner after sharp link-up play between Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Four minutes later, the lead was doubled, Mane again the scorer but this time benefitting from a horrendous error from Kepa, whose attempt to play out was blocked by the Senegalese at close-quarters and slotted past him into the net.

Lampard’s men were offered an unexpected route back into the game when Thiago clumsily clipped the heels of Werner inside the box and Tierney pointed to the spot, but Alisson made an excellent low stop to deny Jorginho from 12 yards.

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