PERMIER LEAGUE

Player Ratings: Liverpool lift the Premier League title in 8-goal thriller

Liverpool’s last game at Anfield in their Premier League-winning campaign brought all the fireworks and excitement that has marked the Reds under Jürgen Klopp.

Player Ratings: Liverpool lift the Premier League title in 8-goal thriller
PHIL NOBLE Pool via REUTERS

Liverpool’s historic 2019/20 league campaign finally reached its belated climax on Wednesday evening as Jordan Henderson became the first Liverpool captain to lift the trophy since Alan Hansen. It was a night for celebration regardless of the final result but Liverpool’s performance really got the party started as they stormed into an early lead.

Their first was a crashing drive from Naby Keita that cannoned in of the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the box. Liverpool grew in stature as the half went on and Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled their lead ten minutes before the break with a sumptuous free-kick. The right-back sent the ball up and over the Chelsea wall from 30 yards and Kepa Arrizabalaga could only watch as it flew into the top corner.

Naby Keita blasts in the opener

Gini Wijnaldum got a third with an emphatic finish shortly before the break but there was still time for Chelsea to get one back in first half stoppage time. A bit of pinball in the box saw the ball drop to Olivier Giroud who slid the ball home.

The game continued with the same attacking vigour in the second half and there was even an Anfield goal for Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian was picked out by a fine cross from Alexander-Arnold and he planted his header past Kepa for his first home league goal of the season.

Substitute Christian Pulisic then made a telling impact, setting up Tammy Abraham with a brilliant run before thumping in Chelsea’s third himself. It looked like becoming a bit nervy for the champions but a fine counter attacking goal sealed the three points when a brilliant run from Robertson found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the back post who rifled home Liverpool’s fifth.

A thrilling victory for the Reds and one worthy of the fireworks surrounding the stadium as Liverpool fans readied themselves for the moment they had waited three decades for. The all-important trophy lift came on a specially-built stage in the heart of the Kop with Sir Kenny Dalglish doing the honours with the medals.

Liverpool Player Ratings:

Alisson Becker – The goalkeeper was one of two signings that transformed Liverpool into genuine title contenders and his calming presence was on show again. Could do little with any of the three goals scored by Chelsea and his confidence on the ball was vital to Liverpool’s style. 7/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold – The right-back has been a key source of creativity throughout the season and his technical ability was on show again with a stunning free kick. Broke his own record for most assists in a season from a defender but showed one of his occasional fragility when Pulisic strolled past him for Chelsea’s second. 8/10

Joe Gomez – The Englishman has been given a deserved run in the side due to the injury to Joel Matip and has deputised well in general, despite not quite being up to the standard of his defensive partner. Was beaten easily for Abraham’s goal but a decent performance against a talented attack. Looks well-placed to push on next season. 6/10

Virgil van Dijk – The imperious Van Dijk has made 500 more passes than any other player in the league this season and his passing range was an important asset again. Absent-mindedly collided with Gomez to gift Pulisic a chance but could have done little to prevent any of the goals. Remains the outstanding defender in the Premier League. 7/10

Andy Robertson – Robertson’s industry down the left hand side has been invaluable to Liverpool and his runs down the wing again allowed Mane the space to dart inside and cause damage. The desire, energy and quality involved in his run for Liverpool’s fifth reaffirms his reputation as the best left-back in the Premier League. 8/10

Naby Keita – The midfielder has offered a lot of promise since the restart and his first half rocket showed what he can bring in years to come. Tends to burn out as the game wears on and did the same again, but certainly showed his worth. 7/10

Fabinho – Has become the first midfielder on the team sheet in the absence of Jordan Henderson and fulfilled a vital role screening the defence as Chelsea threw on more and more attacking talent. His range of passing gets the best of Liverpool’s prolific wings and he now looks like the best in the league in the deep-lying role. 7/10

Georginio Wijnaldum – Another solid performance from the Dutchman who rarely puts a foot wrong in the middle for Liverpool, showing the eye for an Anfield goal that has made him a legend. His place may be under threat when Henderson returns but he will remain a hugely valuable squad member. 7/10

Mohamed Salah - Liverpool’s top goal-scorer in each of his three seasons at the club has become a one-minded scoring machine from the right wing but never quite got his range in against his former club. Continued to make chances for himself but cut a frustrated figure after being substituted. Will get a chance for his 20th league goal on Sunday. 6/10

Roberto Firmino – The inimitable forward has been questioned for his goal-scoring record this campaign but finally broke his Anfield duck with a thumping header in the second half. His passing and link-up play was as crisp and precise as always and that goal will have been the icing on the cake for everyone connected to the club. 8/10

Sadio Mane – The Senegalese starts out wide for Liverpool but is far from a traditional winger for the Reds, drifting inside with devastating runs. He skipped between Chelsea defenders a couple of times and often occupied two Blues players with his intelligent running. Withdrawn before he could score but caused problems. 7/10

 

Substitutes

James Milner – A typically dependable performance from Milner who embodies many of the qualities that Klopp demands. Remains a wealth of experience off the bench. 6/10

Curtis Jones – The highly-rated youngster had another impressive cameo off the bench and made a smart dummy to set up Liverpool’s fifth. Was recently given the number 17 shirt previously worn by a young Steven Gerrard, if there were any doubts as to how highly he is regarded at Anfield. 7/10

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Offers a goal threat that is often missing from the Liverpool midfield and scored the fifth that put the game beyond Chelsea with a comprehensive finish. Always offer energy off the bench. 7/10

Takumi Minamino – A late switch for Firmino but saw little of the ball, looks like becoming a valuable squad player next campaign though. N/A

Divock Origi – Brought on as a late substitute and remains a cult hero at Anfield for his heroics against Barcelona. N/A