Liverpool vs Chelsea result: Five things we learned as Naby Keita stars in goalfest at Anfield

Three points for the Reds and a trophy party afterwards

Karl Matchett
Thursday 23 July 2020 09:13 BST
Jurgen Klopp not concerned despite Liverpool missing out on 100-point record

Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-3 in their final home Premier League game of the season on Wednesday night.

An incident-packed first half saw four goals, plus one disallowed for Mason Mount due to offside.

Naby Keita scored the first with a thunderous strike in off the bar, before Trent Alexander-Arnold curled in a brilliant free-kick. Gini Wijnaldum then scored a third, before Olivier Giroud pulled one back just before the break.

After the break it was just as wild; Roberto Firmino headed a fourth for the Reds, but Christian Pulisic immediately set up Tammy Abraham and then netted another himself—but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finally killed the game off.

Here are five things we learned from the goalfest at Anfield.

Keita needs to make 2020 his own

Liverpool haven’t always hit the heights of the early stage of the season since the restart, but Naby Keita’s form has gone the other way—a massive uptick in performances.

Here he showed once more how he has found his groove; his first-half display was full of energy, attacking intent and, importantly, end product.

He won the ball, surged into space and unleashed an unstoppable missile past Kepa to open the scoring—the exact traits to his game Jurgen Klopp has been wanting to see on a more regular basis.

Keita has shown this type of performance and quality before, he simply hasn’t maintained it. For what’s left of 19/20, but more particularly into 2020/21, he has to maintain these standards of form and fitness to finally become the starter that giving him the No8 shirt always meant him to be.

Trent vs Reece

Alexander-Arnold bends in a second for the Reds

An interesting side-note of the game came with two of England’s potential right-back options playing, both in attacking roles, both getting forward frequently in a madcap, end-to-end affair.

There’s no doubt it’s the Liverpool man who is ahead at the moment, with Trent Alexander-Arnold already clocking up multiple trophies, caps and assists at the elite level – another of which came tonight, with a great cross for Firmino.

But Reece James has looked excellent at times this season, too, and playing as wing-back certainly benefits him in terms of being on the ball high upfield and delivering crosses – and set-pieces, too.

Trent still has the edge there too, as evidenced by his own super goal from 25 yards, but England’s options look particularly healthy in this area of the pitch.

Firmino breaks his duck

For the starting centre-forward of the title-winning team, it was a freak of a statistic that Roberto Firmino hadn’t scored a home league goal all season long.

Of course, Klopp has frequently made clear that his brilliant Brazilian is in the team for far more than scoring relentlessly; he plays a key tactical role and works tremendously hard for the team.

But the celebrations by Firmino and the way he clearly thanked Alexander-Arnold for the assist show the truth: He’s still a forward, and he still wants to score.

Away goals notched along the way proved critical to the Reds’ points haul and this one, a firm header between two defenders, provided as much relief as proved the point that he’s an all-round No. 9.

Chelsea a point away

Salah and Alonso battle for the ball

This defeat, combined with Manchester United’s earlier draw, means Chelsea know the odds remain in their favour—but they still have work to do to secure a Champions League spot for next season.

The Blues play Wolves on the final day, while Leicester and United will do battle in potentially a winner-takes-all spot.

That said, a Chelsea loss at Stamford Bridge combined with a draw between the Red Devils and Foxes will mean the latter two sides take third and fourth, and Chelsea will face the Europa League instead.

It’s still in their hands, and they certainly had a good go at Anfield, but a point still stands between themselves and next season’s European elite.

Party night

Regardless of the result, Liverpool had a big event planned for afterward: the lifting of the Premier League trophy.

Even so, it was clear both from the team sheet and their attacking intent from the outset that they wanted to go into the celebration on the back of a victory.

That looked assured for most of the game, but Pulisic’s introduction and some ongoing defensive concentration issues certainly meant it was momentarily in doubt.

Liverpool had the overall quality to keep pushing and ensuring the win would come their way, though, and while the fireworks went on in the background, the attacking ability on show meant the entertainment level was matched on the pitch, too.

Then it’s over to Jordan Henderson, for a long-awaited, and much-deserved, crowning of the champions.

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