Liverpool outclass Chelsea to move five points clear

The Reds stretch their lead at the top of the table after a 4-1 thrashing of the big-spending London side

Reuters
Published : 1 Feb 2024, 05:17 AM
Updated : 1 Feb 2024, 05:17 AM

Twenty-year-old Conor Bradley scored his first goal for Liverpool and claimed two assists as Juergen Klopp's team moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea on Wednesday.

Diogo Jota, Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Diaz were also on target for Liverpool while Darwin Nunez failed to convert a first-half spot kick in a dominant display, but the hosts were perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty themselves with Chelsea having two strong appeals waved away.

"I don't think you can have an outstanding team performance when the individuals don't work together. The start was brilliant, we were really going for them," Klopp told the BBC. "We were outstanding, it was a top game."

Liverpool, unbeaten at Anfield this season in all competitions, have 51 points after 22 games. Manchester City, who have a game in hand, are second and level on points with third-placed Arsenal on 46. Chelsea are 10th with 31.

Bradley became the youngest Liverpool player to both score and assist a goal in a Premier League match since Raheem Sterling, who was on the pitch for Chelsea on Wednesday, nearly 10 years ago.

"I just feel like I'm in a dream," Bradley told TNT Sports.

Liverpool, whose victory was their 200th under Kloppwho announced last week that he will leave at the end of the season, played with great intensity from the opening whistle and Chelsea struggled to get out of their own half.

Nunez peppered Chelsea's goal with seven shots in the first half, but it was Jota who broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he took a pass from Bradley, bundled past two Chelsea defenders to score.

Bradley, who has been exceptional since earning a starting berth following an injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold, whipped the Anfield fans into a frenzy in the 39th minute when he hammered an angled shot into the far corner after a surging run.

"What a wonderful kid he is," Klopp said. "Outstanding finish, the whole game, the contribution, the involvement. It's a job to play against Sterling, that's not easy. I'm really happy for him... that was pretty special."

The youngster from Northern Ireland left a defender in his wake in the 65th minute before launching a pinpoint cross that Szoboszlai leapt to head past Djordje Petrovic.

"We just gave everything that we had, the first 11 and the guys who came in. We showed our quality and 4-1 is a good result," Szoboszlai told the BBC.

"(Bradley) just put the ball on my head so I didn't really have to do much. We are really happy to have him because he showed many times that he is ready to play."

Christopher Nkunku pulled one back in the 71st but Liverpool's Diaz replied eight minutes later.

Liverpool had 27 shots to Chelsea's four, with 12 on target, many of them by Nunez who also hit the post with a first-half penalty.

The Uruguayan became the first player since 2003-04 to hit the woodwork four times in a Premier League match.

Chelsea had two penalty appeals turned down, with both checked by VAR, the first when Virgil van Dijk brought down Conor Gallagher and the second when the Dutch defender appeared to kick Nkunku.

"It was bad luck for us," Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino said. "But that doesn't change the feeling Liverpool were better than us."