London has made Liverpool feel right at home.
In three trips to the city in the first five rounds of the English Premier League, Liverpool are still unbeaten after comfortably accounting for Chelsea 2-1 on Friday.
Having won at Arsenal and drawn at Tottenham, Liverpool ended Chelsea’s unbeaten start in the league at Stamford Bridge, where the visitors posted consecutive wins for only the second time in 40 years.
Liverpool, more energetic and inventive, were 2-0 up in about 30 minutes and controlled proceedings for an hour.
Not until Diego Costa put Chelsea on the scoreboard did the match begin to feel competitive, but not for long, as Liverpool weathered Chelsea briefly coming out of their slumber, and returned to smothering the Blues.
Only Manchester City and Everton remain unbeaten in the league. Chelsea dropped to third and Liverpool rose to fourth.
“It’s a big victory, it keeps our momentum going,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “We defended excellently, and deserved the three points. It gives good confidence.”
Having already beaten last season’s league champion and runner-up, Liverpool’s third win makes the second-round loss to promoted Burnley even more confounding.
On Juergen Klopp’s watch, Liverpool have been strong against Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and the Manchester clubs, remaining unbeaten in six away games against them, and losing only once in 11 matches.
Reds defenders Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne ensured Costa and Eden Hazard were virtually non-entities in Chelsea’s first Friday night game in 14 years.
Lovren was so comfortable that he even scored the opener. Given a free-kick conceded by Chelsea stand-in captain Branislav Ivanovic on the left sideline, Liverpool eventually got the ball to Philippe Coutinho, who spotted Lovren and two more teammates unmarked at the far post.
Coutinho’s expertly weighted cross fell perfectly in front of Lovren to practically roll the ball past Thibaut Courtois.
It became 2-0 with a cracking goal from Henderson. He accepted a poor clearance from Chelsea on the left side of the box, had time to sight the goal, and unleashed a dipping shot into the top right corner.
“The beginning was brilliant,” Klopp said. “We played [soccer] like hell.”
Chelsea, sure to have been blasted at halftime by manager Antonio Conte, started the second spell better, with Nemanja Matic tiptoeing along the byline, and dinking the ball inside for a leaping Costa to volley in for his league-leading fifth goal in five games.
Chelsea never threatened again, as infrequent shots clattered off the legs of Liverpool defenders.
Only the relentless N’Golo Kante, in midfield, gave Liverpool trouble. And the second Chelsea debut for expensive defender David Luiz finished like his first in 2011; a home loss to Liverpool.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7