Jürgen Klopp has successfully reconstructed a strong Liverpool team with limited resources and time, unlike Chelsea who spent £1 billion on a group of individual players under Todd Boehly. These distinct approaches and outcomes clashed at Anfield, where a homegrown 20-year-old full-back, Conor Bradley, dominated against Mauricio Pochettino’s unfamiliar team on a significant evening for the current Premier League leaders.
Bradley was filled with inspiration as the Kop chanted his name continuously, while Klopp’s team effortlessly played with their Carabao Cup final opponents, a whole month before their scheduled match at Wembley. Liverpool can eagerly anticipate the rematch, while Chelsea is likely already dreading it.
The referee, Paul Tierney, did not award the visitors two penalties. This angered them. Surprisingly, Liverpool did not have any complaints against their usual nemesis, Klopp. However, the reality is that they were beaten in terms of strength, tactics, and skill throughout the entire game.
Pochettino admitted that the opposing team outperformed us from the very beginning and in every aspect.
Klopp’s confidence in the Liverpool team he will be leaving has once again been proven right in an intense and high-quality display. They did not give Chelsea any chance to play through their persistent pressing and continuously launched attacks on Djordje Petrovic’s goal. Bradley made history by becoming the first Northern Ireland player to score for the club in 70 years, and also added to his impressive assist record with five in four games. Despite Darwin Núñez hitting the woodwork four times and taking 11 shots at goal, he was not able to find the back of the net. Chelsea’s first corner came in stoppage time.
Klopp’s decision to retain Bradley in place of the fit-again Trent Alexander-Arnold was another example of his managerial shrewdness. It was a huge show of faith that elevated the young defender’s game beyond the heights he reached during the deputy captain’s recent absence.
Bradley’s stellar performance started with his creation of the initial opportunity for Núñez, who was determined to score from any position. However, Petrovic was able to anticipate and block the striker’s attempted lob.
Petrovic was the only one who prevented the first-half score from being too disrespectful. He saved a shot from Núñez and another from Alexis MacAllister, both of which were assisted by a well-threaded pass. He also stopped a left-footed drive from Uruguay’s player, hitting the crossbar and post respectively. He continued to save shots, including a daisy-cutter from Curtis Jones, but his central defenders failed to support him when the hosts eventually scored.
Ben Chilwell was also responsible for losing possession to Bradley in a weak manner. The defender exchanged passes with Jones and located Diogo Jota in an open space beyond the Chelsea area. The striker maneuvered past non-existent challenges from Thiago Silva and Benoît Badiashile, leaving John Terry, who was watching from the away end, feeling disappointed. Jota then poked a close-range shot beyond Petrovic, with the goal being confirmed after a VAR review for a potential handball by Jota when Silva attempted to clear the ball against him.
Chelsea’s initial penalty request was rejected after Conor Gallagher fell to the ground following a challenge from Virgil van Dijk. Although there was some contact from the Liverpool captain’s arm and knee, Gallagher seemed to exaggerate his reaction.
Liverpool increased their advantage thanks to their attacking right-back’s debut goal for the team. Luis Díaz evaded Enzo Fernández and passed to Bradley, who ran down the right flank. The young player remained calm and placed a low shot into the far corner, past Petrovic. Once again, VAR delayed the crowd’s cheers at Anfield as it checked for a potential foul by Jota on Chilwell in the lead-up to the goal. Chilwell argued that he would have been in Bradley’s position if not for the alleged foul, but VAR eventually allowed the goalscorer to enjoy his achievement.
Before the halftime, it was supposed to be three points for Liverpool. Tierney, the referee, once again favored Liverpool when Badiashile stepped on Jota’s foot in the penalty area. The referee immediately awarded a penalty kick, but Núñez hit the post while Petrovic dived the other direction.
Pochettino was vocal about his dissatisfaction with Chelsea’s lackluster performance in the first half. During halftime, he made three changes to the lineup and almost instantly saw a potential goal from Malo Gusto, who passed to Mykhailo Mudryk. However, Mudryk missed a clear chance from 10 yards out, sending the ball soaring into the Anfield Road stand.
Bradley continued to excel throughout the evening. He achieved five assists in just four games after receiving a pass from Van Dijk and running past Badiashile, who had been moved to left-back to replace Chilwell. At top speed, he delivered an impeccable cross into the penalty area, allowing Dominik Szoboszlai to jump above Chelsea’s defense and score with a header.
Christopher Nkunku provided a valuable threat to the Chelsea offense and scored a goal by directing Carney Chukwuemeka’s pass into the low corner. He also had a penalty appeal denied after being kicked in the heel by Van Dijk. Núñez hit the post once again with a powerful header from an assist by Andy Robertson before assisting Díaz in scoring the fourth goal with a well-placed cross to the back post. Liverpool is in good form as they prepare to face Arsenal on Sunday.