Liverpool put Chelsea to the sword at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp saw his side move five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a thumping win over the Blues.
Liverpool made a fast start as Darwin Nunez hit the crossbar and saw a shot tipped onto the post by Chelsea goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic, but the hosts were perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty when Conor Gallagher was clipped by Virgil van Dijk in the box.
Diogo Jota then powered through the Chelsea defence to fire Liverpool ahead, before Conor Bradley produced a stunning finish to double their lead with his first goal for the club. It could have been three at half-time had Nunez then converted a penalty, but the striker hit the post again.
Mauricio Pochettino made a triple change at the break but despite a brief improvement, Liverpool made it three as Bradley set up Dominik Szoboszlai’s header in front of the Kop. Christopher Nkunku pulled one back with his first Chelsea goal, and then could have had a penalty when Van Dijk clipped him from behind.
But Luiz Diaz then added a fourth and Klopp could afford to make changes ahead of Sunday’s trip to third-place Arsenal. Here are how the player rated from a frantic Anfield clash.
The Liverpool goalkeeper was largely a spectator. The hosts were completely dominant for the most part.
Conor Bradley, 9
A dream night for the 20-year-old: with two assists and his first goal for the club. Full of energy, and with a good eye for the pass, Bradley struck a wonderful finish into the corner and then produced an excellent cross to set up Szoboszlai’s header. “There’s only one Conor Bradley,” cried the Kop.
Ibrahima Konate, 8
The centre-back was solid in holding down the right side of Liverpool’s defence, allowing Bradley to bomb forwards. Hardly put a foot wrong.
Virgil van Dijk, 7
The Liverpool captain could have conceded two penalties. He took a risk after dangling his leg in the box but was relieved Gallagher’s tumble did not result in a spot-kick, and then caught Nkunku from behind. Liverpool survived but Van Dijk was lucky.
Joe Gomez, 8
Does Andy Robertson get his place back? Not on Gomez’s form. Another calm and steady performance from the stand-in left back.
Dominik Szoboszlai, 8
The midfielder appeared a little rusty in possession on what was his first start in four weeks, but made up for it with his energy in helping Liverpool dominate the midfield battle and got on the scoresheet with an excellent downward header to add the third.
Alexis Mac Allister, 8
Controlled midfield superbly with a balance of clever touches and body feints, coupled with a good sense of when to be strong in the tackle. Pressed extremely well and this was one of his best showings in a Liverpool shirt.
Curtis Jones, 8
Like Mac Allister, Jones blended the skill and the steel in another impressive performance. Was up against two £100m midfielders and came out on top.
Luis Diaz, 8
Always bright and willing to drive forwards, which pushed Chelsea back. His final ball and end product wasn’t quite there in the first half, but he was in the right place to get ahead of Badiashile and add Liverpool’s fourth.
Diogo Jota, 9
Sensational. Powered through Chelsea’s defence to put away Liverpool’s opener and then seemed to be everywhere in helping the Red keep the foot down.
Darwin Nunez. 8
A night of pure Nunez, hitting the woodwork four times to set a new Premier League record. That included a missed penalty and a free header from six yards. But you’d still say he had a good game, and Nunez then set up Diaz’s fourth.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6
Cody Gakpo, 6
Harvey Elliott, 6
Andy Robertson, 6
Dorde Petrovic, 7
The only Chelsea player to come away with any credit after the first half. The goalkeeper made a smart stop to tip Nunez’s shot onto the post, and then another from Jones.
Axel Disasi, 3
Looked extremely uncomfortable whenever isolated in the full-back position and offered nothing going forward. Chelsea desperately missed a recognised right back – and when Gusto came on it was too late.
Thiago Silva, 3
Should have taken charge to clear when Jota surged between the veteran defender and Badiashile. Chelsea were completely overwhelmed and Silva couldn’t get his defence in order.
Benoit Badiashile, 2
Brushed aside by Jota for Liverpool’s opener, in a moment that would have any defender in the world cringing with embarrassment. Bradley then burned past Badiashile for the third and Diaz got in front of him for the fourth.
Ben Chilwell, 3
The left-back was robbed by Bradley in the move for Liverpool’s opener and was then caught absent as the youngest roamed forward for the second. Booked for a dive in the box and hooked at half time.
Moises Caicedo, 3
At least he tried to fight back, but the former Liverpool transfer target was left all alone in midfield and struggled. A night where Liverpool perhaps were glad their £111m bid was trumped by Chelsea.
Enzo Fernandez, 2
It’s been over a year since Fernandez arrived in the Premier League but the World Cup winner remains miles off the pace. Could not live with Liverpool’s energy or match the level required. One moment summed it up: booked for a late challenge on Jones after Jota surged away from him.
Noni Madueke, 2
Anonymous. The winger had one opportunity to run at Gomez and was dispossessed with ease. Hooked at half-time.
Conor Gallagher, 4
He could have changed the game when he burst into the box and collided with Van Dijk’s leg, but he didn’t get the penalty he wanted. Brought off at half time.
Raheem Sterling, 4
Had a few moments where he had the opportunity to run into the space behind Bradley, but the former winger wasn’t able to exploit it. A glaring moment came when he failed to send Nkunku through on goal when the substitute had the whole Liverpool half in front of him.
Cole Palmer, 3
The false-9 role didn’t suit him and this was a poor night from Palmer, even when he did get moved back into midfield in the second half.
Malo Gusto,, 7: Gave Chelsea better balance and his surge and cross should have led to Chelsea pulling one back, but the chance fell to Mudryk.
Mykhailo Mudryk, 4: Skied Chelsea’s best chance of the match well over the bar. Another who still looks desperately short a year on from arriving at the club.
Christopher Nkunku, 7: Chelsea improved massively when the striker came on to lead the line. Now Pochettino needs to keep him fit after his first Chelsea goal.