Recap: Two goals from Philippe Coutinho give Jurgen Klopp his first Premier League victory as Liverpool manager to leave Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho teetering on the brink. Chelsea had started positively and got the perfect boost when some sloppy Liverpool defending allowed Ramires to head home after just four minutes. But Chelsea reverted immediately into their shell. In the past, particularly in the second half of last season, that strategy may well have been enough to close the game out and pick up the three points. But Mourinho’s side just don’t possess that same resilience right now.
The crucial moment of the game came just before halftime when Philippe Coutinho produced some individual brilliance to curl home a superb equalizer. Chelsea stepped things up again at the start of the second half and have some justification for feeling aggrieved, with Lucas extremely lucky to escape picking up a second yellow card. But to focus on that would be to fail to acknowledge the deep-rooted problems currently afflicting this Chelsea team. With 16minutes remaining, Chelsea’s defending was again found wanting, allowing Coutinho to strike for goal and get a deflection to beat Begovic.
Klopp’s substitutions in the end made a far bigger impact than those of Mourinho’s and especially the arrival of Benteke. The Belgian played his part in the second goal and then scored the decisive third when shooting low into the corner. As in the past two games, there were some positive signs for Chelsea, but they have simply lost the winning habit. And for a manger like Mourinho, whose sole ethos is about winning, that is a galling state of affairs. Chelsea have now lost an incredible six of their first 11 matches, the worst ever start to a season for defending Premier League champions.
As for Liverpool, this is the perfect way for Klopp to kick-start his reign. It is clear his players are fully committed to his demands and, while they remain very much a work in progress, there is plenty to encourage, especially when they have a natural striker, like Benteke, spearheading their attack.
FULL-TIME Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool
91 mins: There will be four minutes of injury time, which begin with Liverpool bringing on Dejan Lovren for Lallana.
87 mins: Oscar has a shot blocked by Skrtel, but it’s hard to see any way back for Chelsea. It hasn’t all been bad for Chelsea in this game, but it’s startling how the belief in the team has so quickly ebbed away.
Here's Benteke's goal, his second in two Premier League games off the bench.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool (Benteke, 83)
Surely that’s it now for Chelsea, and maybe for Mourinho, too. Benteke has made a real impact since coming on, and again he wins a key header. This time he makes his way into the box to meet Ibe’s ball inside and drill a low shot that gets a slight touch off Cahill on its way into the bottom corner of the net.
79 mins: Costa takes the ball down and turns sharply in the box, but his left-footed effort was well blocked by a Liverpool defender. Real end-to-end stuff now at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool immediately break forward and Jordan Ibe, on for Firmino, has a shot deflected just wide.
Here's that second goal from Coutinho:
77 mins: Alberto Moreno close to extending Liverpool’s lead, blasting a low shot toward the near post that Begovic does well to block behind for a corner.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool (Coutinho, 74)
Coutinho has done it again. Chelsea were in the ascendency, but it’s Liverpool who go in front with just over 15 minutes remaining. Benteke won the ball well in the air to knock it down into Coutinho’s path on the edge of the box, and, unlike for the first goal where he turned onto his left foot, this time he feints onto his right foot, before curling a shot goalward. He gets a large slice of fortune, with the effort deflecting off the leg of Terry and leaving Begovic wrong-footed.
71 mins: So close to an sensational goal from Oscar. The Brazilian robs Lucas just inside the Liverpool half and then immediately looks up and tried to float a lob over the advanced Mignolet. It takes a fine recovery from the Liverpool goalkeeper to stop it finding the back of the net. This is thrilling stuff now.
71 mins: Cesc Fabregas comes in to the action for Chelsea, replacing John Obi Mikel.
67 mins: Lucas, already on a yellow card, trips Ramires, and Chelsea, and especially Mourinho, appeal furiously that the Brazilian should be the recipient of a second yellow card and sent on his way. Referee Mark Clattenburg fails to oblige and instead simply gives the Brazilian a stern talking to. It’s fair to assume Mourinho will be mentioning that if he elects to speak to the media after the match.
65 mins: In fact, Firmino goes into the No. 10 role, with Lallana moving to the right and Coutinho to the left.
64 mins: Christian Benteke makes his introduction to add some real presence up front for Liverpool. The big summer signing, who had been carrying a knee injury, replaces James Milner. That should mean Firmino drops back to the right.
61 mins: Chelsea again threaten going forward, with Ramires having a shot blocked on the edge of the box. It’s been something of a slow burner, but this match could be set for a thrilling last 30 minutes.
60 mins: Kenedy almost makes an immediate impact, cutting in from the left and shooting wide of the near post on his right foot. The 19-year-old again immediately looking purposeful after coming on.
59 mins: Young Brazilian Kenedy comes on for Chelsea in place of Eden Hazard. That’s another bold call from Jose Mourinho to replace last season’s player of the year. And the Belgian sprints off in a clear sign that it is a purely tactical switch.
56 mins: Firmino tries an ambitious shot from distance, but never got hold of it and Begovic holds onto the ball with ease.
54 mins: Chelsea now have to press forward more and that could play into Liverpool’s favor. Klopp’s men are now finding more space going forward than they did for the vast majority of the opening half.
52 mins: Some uncertainty from Chelsea at the back with Gary Cahill heading back toward his own goalkeeper, but sending the ball beyond Begovic and out for a corner. The error goes unpunished, with Liverpool unable to threaten from the resulting set piece.
48 mins: Chelsea are now tasked with putting their foot back on the gas after Liverpool’s equalizer, and they’ve made a quick start to the second half. Martin Skrtel just stopped Oscar’s burst into the box before Willian crossed harmlessly into the arms of Mignolet.
SECOND HALF KICKOFF: Chelsea get the game back underway.
Here's a look at the Coutinho goal:
HALFTIME: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool
Chelsea got the dream start with Ramires’ early goal, and were then more than happy to drop off and allow Liverpool to dominate possession. The strategy appeared to be working, with Liverpool playing almost exclusively in front of the Chelsea defense and lacking a cutting edge in the penalty area. But Coutinho provided a moment of individual brilliance right on the stroke of halftime to tilt the whole balance of the contest and leave Mourinho having to give a very different team talk.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-1Liverpool (Coutinho, 45+3)
Right on the stroke of halftime, Liverpool’s special player provides the special moment they needed to turn their possession into an equalizer. Coutinho was given too much space on the edge of the box and he turned exquisitely inside Ramires and onto his left foot before curling a delightful shot past Begovic and into the Chelsea net. Mourinho immediately trudges off down the tunnel in frustration.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool (Coutinho, 45+2)
45 mins: Chelsea continuing to line up with Eden hazard in behind Costa and Oscar pushed out to the left. It’s not been a great success so far.
37 mins: Lucas climbs well to meet a Milner cross to the back post, but he can only direct his header tamely at Begovic. Liverpool really missing the cutting edge that Christian Benteke or Daniel Sturridge could provide.
35 mins: Liverpool slightly unlucky not to win a free-kick right on the edge of the box as the ball clearly hits the arm of John Terry. Jurgen Klopp gives a bemused reaction on the touchline to that decision not going his team’s way.
33 mins: Chelsea not exactly displaying a great deal of urgency since going in front. Mourinho’s side happy to sit back and absorb Liverpool’s pressure, waiting for a clear chance to strike on the break.
26 mins: Clearest sight of goal yet for Liverpool. Milner puts in a decent cross from the right and Lallana arrives on the stretch but can’t get enough on his left-footed effort to take it beyond Begovic, who holds on without any drama. Better signs for Liverpool, who have struggled to pose any threat in behind the Chelsea defense so far.
24 mins: Philippe Coutinho earns the game’s first yellow card for cynically dragging down his compatriot Willian.
19 mins: Adam Lallana tests Begovic for the first time, firing in a left-footed shot after Lucas’ effort deflected into his path, but the Chelsea goalkeeper holds comfortably. Liverpool are dominating possession, but nothing to unduly concern Chelsea’s defense so far.
15 mins: Moreno presses and wins the ball back just outside the Chelsea box, and a few seconds later Nathaniel Clyne drags a shot wide of Begovic’s goal. Liverpool coming into the game more the last few minutes, but still awaiting their first effort on target.
13 mins: Dangerous-looking counter attack for Chelsea after breaking beyond Liverpool’s high press, but Eden Hazard’s pass for Oscar lacked precision.
Here's a look at the Chelsea goal from Ramires. Alberto Moreno sleeping at the back post to allow the Brazilian to head in.
7 mins: Desperately close to a second goal for Chelsea. Willian’s free-kick is headed across the face of goal by John Terry, but somehow John Obi Mikel failed to turn the ball into the net as he slid in at the back post. Perhaps showing why the Nigerian just has a solitary Premier League goal in his career.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (Ramires, 4 mins)
Cesar Azpilicueta managed to get in behind the Liverpool defense down the left and picked out a good cross that was met by the fast-arriving Ramires to head down and just beyond Simon Mignolet. A huge early boost for Chelsea and manager Jose Mourinho, who immediately gets his name sung loudly around Stamford Bridge.
2 mins: Roberto Firmino wins the ball back in the Chelsea half, and, after a quick exchange with James Milner, has the first shot of the match, but it goes a long way wide of Asmir Begovic’s goal.
KICKOFF: Liverpool get things underway at Stamford Bridge.
8:22 a.m. EDT: The lineups are in, and the big news is that under pressure Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has left both Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic on the bench. Diego Costa, who had been a major fitness doubt, does take his place up front. Liverpool’s first-choice striker Christian Benteke will have to settle for a place on the bench as he returns from a knee injury. Roberto Firmino, who impressed against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, looks likely to take up the central striker role. Just over 20 minutes until kickoff at stamford Bridge.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 31, 2015
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 31, 2015
Preview: Always one of the highlights of the Premier League season, Chelsea take on Liverpool on Saturday in a match featuring two managers currently experiencing wildly contrasting predicaments. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is under mounting pressure after overseeing his club’s worst ever start to a Premier League season.
In midweek, Chelsea were also sent crashing out of the Capital One Cup after a penalty shootout defeat to Stoke City. Reports have even suggested that Mourinho may now be just one defeat from the sack, only five months on from guiding the team to the Premier League title.
Mourinho refused to comment on speculation over his future ahead of Saturday’s match, although did admit for the first time that he cannot guarantee Chelsea will qualify for the Champions League next season. The London club currently sit 15th in the Premier League, nine points off fourth place and 11 points adrift of the top spot many expected them to be occupying.
Liverpool are only three points better off, yet the mood surrounding Anfield could not be more different. Since replacing Brendan Rodgers earlier this month, Jurgen Klopp has brought a huge amount of excitement and optimism to a club that had again been struggling to live up to their proud history.
And after beginning his reign with three consecutive draws, Klopp secured his first win as Liverpool boss in midweek, when Bournemouth were defeated 1-0 in the last 16. Klopp will be boosted, too, by the return from injury of big summer signing Christian Benteke. The Belgian striker came off the bench to score in a 1-1 draw with Southampton last week before missing out against Bournemouth with a knee injury.
Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez remain sidelined for the Merseyside club. Chelsea will be without Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic for the clash at Stamford Bridge and have major doubts over the fitness of Spain internationals Diego Costa and Pedro.