Liverpool vs Chelsea: How Mohamed Salah’s goal banished five years of ‘slip’ torment in a spectacular way

Has there ever been a more spectacular way of silencing the haters? Has there ever been a more emphatic way of banishing the torment which one club has not been able to escape for five years?

Mohamed Salah’s goal here was not necessarily the most important for Liverpool because it was not the first but it was the one which will involve the most replays – perhaps until the end of time if a league title comes to Anfield next month.

Salah had performed with the sort of intensity and trickery that had been absent from the rest of his team’s play before they took the lead. There was a developing sense that he might do something but surely not as outrageous as this.

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Robbie Fowler believes the purest strike of his Liverpool career was the one against Aston Villa 23 years ago when he turned Steve Staunton before ramming a low-rising shot past Mark Bosnich from 30-yards.

Salah’s did not involve the skill of Fowler’s or the distance but it was more dramatic and it was pumped into the top corner rather than the bottom. 


Player ratings: Liverpool vs Chelsea





1/22 Alisson – 7

2/22 Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7

3/22 Joel Matip – 6

4/22 Virgil van Dijk – 8

5/22 Andrew Robertson – 6

6/22 Fabinho – 7

7/22 Jordan Henderson – 8

8/22 Naby Keita – 8

9/22 Mohamed Salah – 8

10/22 Roberto Firmino – 6

11/22 Sadio Mané – 8

12/22 Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6

13/22 Cesar Azpilicueta – 7

14/22 Antonio Rudiger – 6

15/22 David Luiz – 6

16/22 Emerson Palmeiri – 4

17/22 Jorginho – 5

18/22 N’Golo Kanté – 7

19/22 Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6

20/22 Willian – 6

21/22 Callum Hudson-Odoi – 6

22/22 Eden Hazard – 5

1/22 Alisson – 7

2/22 Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7

3/22 Joel Matip – 6

4/22 Virgil van Dijk – 8

5/22 Andrew Robertson – 6

6/22 Fabinho – 7

7/22 Jordan Henderson – 8

8/22 Naby Keita – 8

9/22 Mohamed Salah – 8

10/22 Roberto Firmino – 6

11/22 Sadio Mané – 8

12/22 Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6

13/22 Cesar Azpilicueta – 7

14/22 Antonio Rudiger – 6

15/22 David Luiz – 6

16/22 Emerson Palmeiri – 4

17/22 Jorginho – 5

18/22 N’Golo Kanté – 7

19/22 Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6

20/22 Willian – 6

21/22 Callum Hudson-Odoi – 6

22/22 Eden Hazard – 5

The scene inside Anfield in the seconds after that moment were of atomic levels due to the scale of the pressure which had previously been present.

Three second half minutes washed all of that pressure away. The mood shifted primarily because of another sideways pass by Jordan Henderson. The midfielder, who has often been criticised for making too many of them, had been close to Chelsea’s defensive touchline when he made this one, though. Liverpool’s crosses from that position before had been blind but Henderson’s was perfectly directed. Two yards out, Sadio Mane could not miss with a header. In the corner, in front of an erupting Kop, Henderson celebrated as if he’d scored himself. The relief was enormous.

This game, however, will be remembered by what Salah did 180 seconds later. His substitution as injury time approached felt like a gesture by Jurgen Klopp to allow Anfield to acknowledge his brilliance. What followed was a presidential reception for the forward Anfield prefers to think of as a king.

The problems of Liverpool’s first half by that point seemed in the distant past; 45-minutes which felt like 45 seconds due to the concentration of the atmosphere and Chelsea’s commitment towards conservativism, though when they attacked, they did look dangerous.

Liverpool’s best chance of the period had fallen to Salah in the sixth minute. It was the sort of opportunity Liverpool’s forwards practice last in the warm up where crosses are fed in at different angles, testing the variation in their shooting ability. Perhaps Mane’s delivery was slightly behind him and he did have the space to adjust his body had he noticed but he did not and Kepa saved easier than he should have been able to.


The #IndyPL100 countdown





1/101 #IndyPL100

2/101 100. Graeme Le Saux

3/101 99. Cesar Azpilicueta

4/101 98. Fernandinho

5/101 97. James Milner

6/101 96. Joe Cole

7/101 95. Juninho

8/101 94. Marcel Desailly

9/101 93. Arjen Robben

10/101 92. Robbie Keane

11/101 91. Chris Sutton

12/101 90. Sami Hyypia

13/101 89. Edin Dzeko

14/101 88. Lee Dixon

15/101 87. Nani

16/101 86. Peter Beardsley

17/101 85. Fredrik Ljungberg

18/101 84. Emmanuel Petit

19/101 83. Patrice Evra

20/101 82. Jay Jay Okocha

21/101 81. Steve McManaman

22/101 80. Branislav Ivanovic

23/101 79. Gary Speed

24/101 78. William Gallas

25/101 77. Mesut Ozil

26/101 76. Gilberto Silva

27/101 75. Jamie Carragher

28/101 74. Paul Ince

29/101 73. Les Ferdinand

30/101 72. Raheem Sterling

31/101 71. Mark Hughes

32/101 70. Gary Pallister

33/101 69. Jurgen Klinsmann

34/101 68. Ricardo Carvalho

35/101 67. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

36/101 66. David Ginola

37/101 65. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink

38/101 64. Diego Costa

39/101 63. Ledley King

40/101 62. Michael Essien

41/101 61. Marc Overmars

42/101 60. Fernando Torres

43/101 59. Kevin de Bruyne

44/101 58. David Seaman

45/101 57. Luka Modric

46/101 56. Dennis Irwin

47/101 55. Gary Neville

48/101 54. Xabi Alonso

49/101 53. Paolo Di Canio

50/101 52. Edwin Van Der Sar

51/101 51. Dimitar Berbatov

52/101 50. Steve Bruce

53/101 49. Nicolas Anelka

54/101 48. Dwight Yorke

55/101 47. Jaap Stam

56/101 46. Claude Makelele

57/101 45. Teddy Sheringham

58/101 44. Michael Carrick

59/101 43. Ian Wright

60/101 42. Robbie Fowler

61/101 41. Carlos Tevez

62/101 40. David de Gea

63/101 39. Sol Campbell

64/101 38. Tony Adams

65/101 37. Robert Pires

66/101 36. N’Golo Kante

67/101 35. Matthew Le Tissier

68/101 34. Harry Kane

69/101 33. Luis Suarez

70/101 32. Gianfranco Zola

71/101 31. Petr Cech

72/101 30. Cesc Fabregas

73/101 29. Yaya Toure

74/101 28. Michael Owen

75/101 27. Robin van Persie

76/101 26. Gareth Bale

77/101 25. Andy Cole

78/101 24. Vincent Kompany

79/101 23. Eden Hazard

80/101 22. Ruud van Nistelrooy

81/101 21. David Beckham

82/101 20. Peter Schmeichel

83/101 19. Nemanja Vidic

84/101 18. Didier Drogba

85/101 17. David Silva

86/101 16. Rio Ferdinand

87/101 15. Steven Gerrard

88/101 14. Ashley Cole

89/101 13. Dennis Bergkamp

90/101 12. Paul Scholes

91/101 11. Eric Cantona

92/101 10. Sergio Aguero

93/101 9. Patrick Vieira

94/101 8. John Terry

95/101 7. Alan Shearer

96/101 6. Wayne Rooney

97/101 5. Frank Lampard

98/101 4. Roy Keane

99/101 3. Ryan Giggs

100/101 2. Cristiano Ronaldo

101/101 1. Thierry Henry

1/101 #IndyPL100

2/101 100. Graeme Le Saux

3/101 99. Cesar Azpilicueta

4/101 98. Fernandinho

5/101 97. James Milner

6/101 96. Joe Cole

7/101 95. Juninho

8/101 94. Marcel Desailly

9/101 93. Arjen Robben

10/101 92. Robbie Keane

11/101 91. Chris Sutton

12/101 90. Sami Hyypia

13/101 89. Edin Dzeko

14/101 88. Lee Dixon

15/101 87. Nani

16/101 86. Peter Beardsley

17/101 85. Fredrik Ljungberg

18/101 84. Emmanuel Petit

19/101 83. Patrice Evra

20/101 82. Jay Jay Okocha

21/101 81. Steve McManaman

22/101 80. Branislav Ivanovic

23/101 79. Gary Speed

24/101 78. William Gallas

25/101 77. Mesut Ozil

26/101 76. Gilberto Silva

27/101 75. Jamie Carragher

28/101 74. Paul Ince

29/101 73. Les Ferdinand

30/101 72. Raheem Sterling

31/101 71. Mark Hughes

32/101 70. Gary Pallister

33/101 69. Jurgen Klinsmann

34/101 68. Ricardo Carvalho

35/101 67. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

36/101 66. David Ginola

37/101 65. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink

38/101 64. Diego Costa

39/101 63. Ledley King

40/101 62. Michael Essien

41/101 61. Marc Overmars

42/101 60. Fernando Torres

43/101 59. Kevin de Bruyne

44/101 58. David Seaman

45/101 57. Luka Modric

46/101 56. Dennis Irwin

47/101 55. Gary Neville

48/101 54. Xabi Alonso

49/101 53. Paolo Di Canio

50/101 52. Edwin Van Der Sar

51/101 51. Dimitar Berbatov

52/101 50. Steve Bruce

53/101 49. Nicolas Anelka

54/101 48. Dwight Yorke

55/101 47. Jaap Stam

56/101 46. Claude Makelele

57/101 45. Teddy Sheringham

58/101 44. Michael Carrick

59/101 43. Ian Wright

60/101 42. Robbie Fowler

61/101 41. Carlos Tevez

62/101 40. David de Gea

63/101 39. Sol Campbell

64/101 38. Tony Adams

65/101 37. Robert Pires

66/101 36. N’Golo Kante

67/101 35. Matthew Le Tissier

68/101 34. Harry Kane

69/101 33. Luis Suarez

70/101 32. Gianfranco Zola

71/101 31. Petr Cech

72/101 30. Cesc Fabregas

73/101 29. Yaya Toure

74/101 28. Michael Owen

75/101 27. Robin van Persie

76/101 26. Gareth Bale

77/101 25. Andy Cole

78/101 24. Vincent Kompany

79/101 23. Eden Hazard

80/101 22. Ruud van Nistelrooy

81/101 21. David Beckham

82/101 20. Peter Schmeichel

83/101 19. Nemanja Vidic

84/101 18. Didier Drogba

85/101 17. David Silva

86/101 16. Rio Ferdinand

87/101 15. Steven Gerrard

88/101 14. Ashley Cole

89/101 13. Dennis Bergkamp

90/101 12. Paul Scholes

91/101 11. Eric Cantona

92/101 10. Sergio Aguero

93/101 9. Patrick Vieira

94/101 8. John Terry

95/101 7. Alan Shearer

96/101 6. Wayne Rooney

97/101 5. Frank Lampard

98/101 4. Roy Keane

99/101 3. Ryan Giggs

100/101 2. Cristiano Ronaldo

101/101 1. Thierry Henry

Maurizio Sarri’s decision to use Eden Hazard as a lone striker potentially had its benefits because it meant the Belgian was positioned closer to goal and after all, he is usually a deadly finisher. Yet that reduced the possibility of his involvement in the build-up where his artwork brings others into the game. This nevertheless afforded greater discipline in Chelsea’s midfield, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho and N’golo Kante aligning themselves narrowly with Chelsea’s defence, not allowing Liverpool’s forward line the room to breathe.

Hazard threatened more after Chelsea fell behind and Gonzalo Higuain was introduced, pushing him to the left flank. Just as Liverpool had established a two-goal cushion inside two minutes, Hazard could have equalised inside the same timeframe. Liverpool’s opener might historically be regarded as defining but it could quite easily have been Hazard’s first miss, which struck the post.

In avoiding defeat, Liverpool’s unbeaten run at home in the league now stretches into a third year. Their last April home victory over Chelsea was in 1990 and a few weeks later they were crowned champions. It will take a slip from Manchester City for that to happen again but Liverpool, with Salah in this frame of mind, are not a team whose momentum is slowing. Instead, it feels like their belief is growing stronger. 

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