Liverpool extended their perfect start to the Premier League season with a win against Chelsea. This means that their lead at the top of the table remains at five points. The 2-1 scoreline means that there are some concerns for Liverpool, though there are plenty of positives to take from the game, including a fine performance from Fabinho.
Fabinho Vital in Liverpool Success
Brazilian Continues Fine Form
Though admittedly culpable in the build-up to N’Golo Kante‘s goal, Fabinho enjoyed a largely impressive performance. He showed his tactical nous late in the game when he picked up a yellow card to prevent a Chelsea counter-attack. He completed 88.6% of his passes and lasted the 90 minutes, showing why Klopp felt able to select him from the start in all three of this week’s games.
It wasn’t only in defence and in possession that Fabinho impressed; he also contributed to the first goal. It was his marauding run which led to Sadio Mane being fouled for the free-kick which Trent Alexander-Arnold eventually scored from. A fantastic statistic from Sky Sports earlier this week showed that in the 25 Premier League games Fabinho had played, Liverpool were unbeaten with 21 wins and four draws. That record has extended to 26 after today’s result.
Lack of Clean Sheets a Worry
Though Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be happy with a win away to a top 6 team and retaining a five-point lead at the top, there remains worries over the defence. A defensive unit of Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in front of Adrian has only kept one clean sheet this season.
However, it is difficult to criticise them for their individual displays as it hasn’t been their errors which have led to the goals. Joe Gomez remains an option but dropping van Dijk is unfathomable. Matip has also been a model of consistency, picking up the Man of the Match award.
There has been criticism of Alexander-Arnold’s defending and Gomez represents a more defensively stable option at right-back, though this comes at the cost of less attacking thrust. However, given how crucial attacks from the full-backs are in Klopp’s system, this seems unlikely. Alexander-Arnold also got himself on the score sheet against Chelsea and being dropped to the bench would go against the meritocratic approach Klopp is known for. Trent’s ability from set-pieces too is also crucial, with only Bournemouth having scored more goals from set pieces than Klopp’s side in the league this season.
No disrespect intended towards Adrian, but could the return of Alisson Becker calm the team down?
The Best in the World, His Name is Bobby Firmino
While Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had relatively quiet evenings at the Bridge, Roberto Firmino stepped up to score the winner. Jose Mourinho described him as a “workhorse” in his pre-match punditry, but Firmino offers so much more to this Liverpool side.
Firmino had two shots on target, scoring once, while neither Salah or Mane registered a shot on target. Firmino also completed 76% of his passes, setting up Georginio Wijnaldum for a chance which he hit too high. He also made two clearances, showing his willingness to drop deep and defend to help the team out.