Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea: Mason Mount eases the Blues past the reigning champions at Anfield

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Thomas Tuchel and his band of merry men will be celebrating a job well done tonight after Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield on a chilly Thursday night in the Premier League.

It could and perhaps should have been more comfortable - Chelsea were the better side for long spells and had a Timo Werner goal ruled offside in the first half by way of an offending armpit.

Unlike other times in the season where a dubious VAR call went against them, the Blues kept plugging away and were rewarded with a sumptuous Mason Mount goal which proved to be the winner that moved them into the top four.

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Within the very first minute, there was a sense that the Blues would have some success against the Liverpool high line. Reece James curled the ball down the line for a marginally offside Timo Werner, spearheading the attack on the night in the interest of exploiting said high line.

A Ozan Kabak long ball that caught James napping was a timely reminder of how this Liverpool side can make something of nothing, but Andrew Robertson snatched at the chance and Edouard Mendy saw it well wide.

It was a quiet start from both sides but Tuchel's Chelsea were in unfamiliar territory, not enjoying nearly as much as the ball as has been the modus operandi under the German. The irregularity would not last.

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On the stroke of the tenth minute, Werner nearly netted a wonder goal - taking down a floated ball from Ben Chilwell with the deftest of touches and blasting just past the top corner.

The game plan was apparent as Chelsea attempted to find Werner's cleverly disguised runs periodically. The patient probing of the Thomas Tuchel regime was not on display in the early stages.

The Blues almost found the opener from an innocuous hook through from captain Cesar Azpilicueta that caught everyone by surprise - no one more so than Timo Werner, who inexplicably tried to lift the ball over Alisson with the goal at his mercy and without realising how much time he had.

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Chelsea were in the ascendancy and settled into a positive pattern of play, showing plenty of intent as Werner flashed a low and dangerous cross into the area to no avail.

The halfway point of the first period came and went without so much of a hint of a real threat from Liverpool, and they would seemingly be duly punished.

Werner sprung the offside trap and beat the oncoming Alisson to the ball, knocking it past the Brazilian and then winning the foot race to the second ball to force it home. It came as just reward for the tireless German - until it was taken away.

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The striker was adjudged to be offside on account of his armpit in another display of why it is hard to take Premier League referees and the use of VAR seriously.

To his credit, Werner did not let his head drop and tried to force another opening with Fabinho doing well to recover.

It was all Chelsea, so it came as a shock when Mo Salah played an incredible first-time pass over the Blues' backline for Sadio Mane to miscue. A glorious chance that would have been cruel after Armpit-gate, but a wake-up call nonetheless.

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Liverpool grew in confidence with Curtis Jones putting an effort well wide. The home side looked dangerous on the counter and pacey in transition.

Mason Mount went for the spectacular with a half-volley in the 37th minute that left the vicinity of Anfield, but Chelsea's talisman would not have to wait long to try the spectacular again.

N'Golo Kante reached into his locker and sent a long-ball looking for Mount, who brought it down before cutting inside, leaving Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold for dead, and crashing the ball into the far corner. As he so often does, the Englishman was leading by example.

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Chelsea went in at the break satisfied with the lead, but the deserved two goal cushion would have made it all the sweeter. Instead, Liverpool came out the blocks flying after the interval and had claim for a penalty after the ball cannoned off Kante's hand. It would have been harsh, but not beyond the realms in the era of VAR.

Liverpool were on the front foot, but it was the away side who were next to go closest. Mount combined well with his English compatriot Chilwell in an excellent give and go before the latter thundered a shot that was well saved by Alisson. The rebound from Hakim Ziyech was agonisingly blocked on the line.

The Moroccan magician would make his mark just two minutes after, curling in his trademark left-foot pearler that Werner could just not quite get to. Two or three reasonably good chances had gone begging before Liverpool attempted to take their stranglehold once again, throwing the returning Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into the fray in minute 61.

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Chelsea would reply in kind by introducing Christian Pulisic for Ziyech a couple of minutes after. It was a much better performance by the Wizard, who deserves a great deal of credit after the criticisms of the past few months.

The game descended into a scrappy midfield battle, but not one that Thomas Tuchel would have minded with Liverpool chasing the goal deficit and looking short on ideas and intensity alike.

A golden opportunity to put the game to bed came in the 76th minute. Jorginho fizzed a delicious ball to Mount out wide who bore down on the The Reds before playing a cute slide-rule pass through to Werner, who found himself unmarked as he fired into Alisson at a tight angle.

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Tuchel turned to the bench to try and shore the game up, bringing his Croatian maestro Mateo Kovacic on for the goalscorer. Chelsea steeled themselves for the last ten minutes, knowing that if they weathered the storm to come they would return to London with a vital three points.

What followed was not so much as a storm as it was some moderate winds - the biggest heart in mouth moment following in the 84th minute as defensive striker Roberto Firmino glided past Kante and fizzed a rapturous cross into the box that could have gone anywhere. Chilwell did well to scramble the ball clear.

Three minutes of time were added on but Liverpool had no last throw of the dice - Antonio Rudiger eating up some time with cramp as Andreas Christensen was rewarded with a thoroughly deserved man of the match award. 

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In the final analysis, the Blues were comfortable and on another night could have routed Liverpool. Despite being in the midst of a run of fixtures that would challenge any team's capabilities, Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea can boast to be unbeaten under his stewardship and boast a fantastic win at the home of the reigning Premier League champions.

Their reward in the grand scheme of the season may only be three points, but it is nonetheless three points that take them above Everton into 4th - the team they host next on Monday in the Premier League. The cup finals keep on coming.


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