Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea (Jan 31, 2024) Game Analysis
Twenty-year-old Conor Bradley scored his first goal for Liverpool and claimed two assists as Jürgen Klopp’s team moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea on Wednesday.
Liverpool forward Darwin Núñez hit the post with a first-half penalty and made history by becoming the first player since OPTA records began in 2003 to strike the woodwork four times in a single Premier League match.
Klopp’s side, who are unbeaten at Anfield this season in all competitions, have 51 points after 22 games. Manchester City, who have a game in hand, are second and level on points with third-place Arsenal with 46. Chelsea are 10th with 31.
“I don’t think you can have an outstanding team performance when the individuals don’t work together. The start was brilliant, we were really going for them,” Klopp told the BBC. “We were outstanding, it was a top game.”
“I just feel like I’m in a dream,” Bradley told TNT Sports.
Liverpool, whose victory was their 200th under Klopp who announced last week that he will leave at the end of the season, played with great intensity from the opening whistle and Chelsea struggled to get out of their own half.
Nunez peppered Chelsea’s goal with seven shots in the first half, but it was Jota who broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he took a pass from Bradley, bundled past two Chelsea defenders to score.
Bradley, who has been exceptional since earning a starting berth following an injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold, whipped the Anfield fans into a frenzy in the 39th minute when he hammered an angled shot into the far corner after a surging run.
“What a wonderful kid he is,” Klopp said. “Outstanding finish, the whole game, the contribution, the involvement. It’s a job to play against Sterling, that’s not easy. I’m really happy for him… that was pretty special.”
The youngster from Northern Ireland left a defender in his wake in the 65th minute before launching a pinpoint cross that Szoboszlai leapt to head past Djordje Petrovic.
“We just gave everything that we had, the first 11 and the guys who came in. We showed our quality and 4-1 is a good result,” Szoboszlai told the BBC.
“[Bradley] just put the ball on my head so I didn’t really have to do much. We are really happy to have him because he showed many times that he is ready to play.”
Christopher Nkunku pulled one back in the 71st but Liverpool’s Diaz replied eight minutes later.
Liverpool had 27 shots to Chelsea’s four, with 12 on target, many of them by Nunez.
“It was bad luck for us,” Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino said. “But that doesn’t change the feeling Liverpool were better than us.”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.