Final Result: Chelsea 1 – 0 Liverpool
The jubilation of a Champions League final berth was cut short on Sunday afternoon for Liverpool when they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat against a rejuvenated Chelsea side who now keep their top-4 hopes alive until the ultimate gameweek as their determined display earned them three points in a must-win encounter.
Liverpool needed a draw to secure a Champions League berth and started the game brightly with swift moves via Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
However, they conceded against the run of play when Olivier Giroud headed home from Victor Moses’ cross. The first-half lead was kept intact as their deep defensive strategy paid off and the defeat now makes Liverpool’s final encounter against Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield a must-win one.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois (7)
Did well to deny a few efforts by the Reds in first-half but was not tested after the break as a resilient Blues back-line ensured a clean-sheet and defended the narrow lead.
Cesar Azpilicueta (8.5)
Was excellent on the right-hand side of a back-three as he kept on blocking the Reds’ moves with timely tackles and challenges.
Gary Cahill (8)
The veteran centre-back used his experience well to deal with Liverpool’s attacks and was a commanding presence inside the box.
Antonio Rudiger (8.5)
Mohamed Salah is going through a bad patch but that does not take anything away from the German centre-back who contained his ex-Roma teammate all game.
Victor Moses (8)
Should have done better defensively but the Nigerian was sublime while going forward and also assisted Giroud with a decent cross from the left flank. Was replaced by Davide Zappacosta in the closing minutes.
Cesc Fabregas (7)
Did not offer much in the attack but helped his side to resist the visitors in the middle of the park with timely interceptions and challenges. Was replaced by Pedro in the closing seconds.
N’Golo Kante (8.5)
Another inspiring display in the middle of the park as he worked tirelessly to break down Liverpool in the midfield, made timely tackles and carried the ball out from the deep.
Tiemoue Bakayoko (7.5)
Did well to hold the ball in midfield, kept his cool and managed to help his defence amidst intense pressure.
Marcos Alonso (8)
Did well to contain Mohamed Salah alongside Rudiger and also offered presence high up the pitch with his timely runs, crosses and strikes.
Eden Hazard (9)
His finest display this season as he looked unbeatable. His dribbles, ball-control and holding traits terrorised the Liverpool defence and the Belgian received a standing ovation from the home fans while being replaced by Willian late in the game.
Olivier Giroud (8)
Had one chance and converted that with a sublime header to continue his great scoring run against Liverpool in the Premier League.
Was introduced in the 86th-minute.
Davide Zappacosta (N/A)
Was introduced at around 89th-minute.
Was introduced in the stoppage time to buy some seconds.