90+4min: FULL TIME; CHELSEA WIN!!!!
90+2min: Rudiger down with a cramp as Azpi wins a throw deep by the corner flag.
90+1min: Liverpool corner as Christensen covers a through ball. Havertz on for Werner in the meantime. Chelsea clear the corner.
89min: Rudiger pumps one long, and Alisson’s well out of his area to head clear over Pulisic.
88min: Rudiger pulls down Mane, who then gets hit in the head as Kovacic tries to kick the ball away. Kova diffuses the sudden flashpoint by quickly apologizing.
87min: Milner intercepts a pass and Liverpool have a bit of room, but Christensen’s alert to Mane and hooks clear.
85min: Azpi unable to prevent a corner, which Robertson takes, outswinging. Azpi heads that clear. Liverpool come again, and Chilwell scrambles out of the six-yard box. Mendy then catches a header straight at him. Chelsea rocking a bit there, all caused by Kante trying to run the ball out instead of just clearing.
83min: Christensen with a nice header, then Mendy collects a through ball as Chelsea continue to defend well.
81min: Pulisic and Werner almost able to combine on the counter, but Alisson’s out well. At the other end, Christensen slips which almost gives Firmino a chance, but Mendy’s alert and grabs the loose ball.
80min: Milner on for Thiago for the hosts. Kovacic on for Mount for Chelsea.
79min: Jorginho twists and turns just outside his own area to keep the ball, but Werner goes long instead of coming short and Liverpool have the ball back. Christensen clears for a throw.
77min: Chelsea keep the ball for a bit at the back, before finding Mount on the left and it’s 3-v-3. Mount finds Werner with a nice through ball and he has a good chance, but Alisson makes a nice save. Chelsea generate a couple crosses from the corner, but no real danger.
74min: Chelsea keep dropping deeper as Kante and James overplay a counter-opportunity to gift possession back. Rudiger makes a nice tackle on the near touchline, but it’s all Liverpool at the moment.
72min: Liverpool truly pressing now for the equalizer. Azpi makes a nice interception to relieve pressure for a second.
69min: Chelsea counter with Mount playing wide to Chilwell. His cross is blocked, but Chilwell wins the ball back. His second cross isn’t great either however, and Liverpool collect on the far side.
68min: Rudiger blocks off Mane, which is whistled for a free kick wide right. Chelsea clear that for a corner on the far side. In that comes from Robertson, outswinging. Mendy rises high and plucks it out of the air. Chelsea contrive to give it away on the right, but recover well to force an overhit pass from Thiago.
66min: Pulisic’s on for Ziyech
65min: Werner finally gets a call, as he’s bowled over by Kabak. Ziyech swings it in from the left, but it’s behind the runners. Liverpool have a chance to counter but Azpi wins the ball from Thiago. Atkinson thinks it’s a foul however. No card at least.
63min: Long ball looking for Jota immediately. Azpi there to clear, but only as far as Robertson, who crosses in. Firmino gets a hair to it, but it goes well wide of Mendy’s goal.
62min: Liverpool changes with Diogo Jota on for Salah(!?), Oxlade-Chamberlain on for Jones
61min: Werner tries his luck from outside the area. Wide. Was offside anyway. But the flag only goes up and hour later.
60min: Chelsea hemmed in a bit, but defending the area well enough. A chance to counter with Werner and Ziyech sees a return ball from the latter go a bit too straight and close to Alisson, who gathers.
58min: Kante putting in good work to stop Salah in the center, but can’t quite keep the ball and Liverpool win it back, eventually winninga corner. TAA takes low towards the penalty spot, but Kante’s alert to it and hacks clear.
56min: Ziyech with a glorious ball over the top toward Werner, he stretches but can’t quite reach it and Alisson can collect.
55min: Chelsea counter down the right with Werner, but his early ball in towards Mount is cut out by Alisson. At the other end, Mane is beyond the line, but is offside.
54min: Chilwell plays a 1-2 with Mount and the return ball is tremendous to get Chilwell into space. He hammers a shot towards goal, which Alisson blocks. The rebound falls to Ziyech, but his low shot is cleared off the line by Robertson! Unlucky.
53min: Chilwell in space to cross, but his cutback misses everyone. Kante arrives belatedly, but doesn’t take the left-footed shot and by the time he gets it on his right, he’s closed down by a crowd.
52min: Ziyech and Mount try to combine in the middle, but Liverpool clear.
50min: Liverpool corner, cleared.
49min: Liverpool cross from a yard away hits Kante’s hand in the area. We’ve seen these given more than once, but VAR asleep on this one.
47min: Liverpool out of the gates quickly, and a TAA ball-in from the right requires an excellent interception from Christensen to prevent a goal.
SECOND HALF: No changes for either side as Liverpool restart proceedings.
45+1min: HALF TIME!
45min: Salah finds Curtis Jones running from deep, but his touch isn’t quite good enough and Mendy can collect the loose ball.
44min: Kante almost assists a chance at the other end, but Azpi and James recover excellently to prevent Mane from running clear from the halfway line.
42min: GOALLLL, MOUNT AND THIS TIME NO VAR NONSENSE!! Kante with a glorious switch to Mount, who cuts inside Fabinho and picks out the bottom corner. Wonderful strike. 1-0, CHELSEA!
38min: Mendy out well to claim an early cross and start a Chelsea counter down the left. Mount cuts inside and finds Ziyech in the area, but his first-time shot is blocked.
37min: Kante intercepts the ball and Chelsea have a short field to attack, but we don’t release Werner and instead play wide. Eventually the ball comes in and Mount tries a volley on the turn, but he blasts it well over the bar.
34min: Werner working hard, almost nicks the ball off Kabak with space to run behind, but Robertson’s back to mop up.
31min: Liverpool’s front three try to combine, but Salah and Mane not on the same page and Mendy can collect the loose pass.
30min: Liverpool with a bit of pressure, but Chelsea holding firm at the edge of the box. Curtis Jones tries a curling shot from distance, well wide.
28min: Early cross from Liverpool finds Mane losing his markers, but he also misjudges the flight of the ball and airkicks his attempt. Lucky.
25min: ...and of course VAR chalks it off for a millimeter by drawing a line from Werner’s sleeve? Because that’s the world we live in.
24min: GOALLL!!! WERNER!!! A simple ball over the top, and both Werner and Ziyech are beyond the line. Werner pokes it past the onrushing Alisson, and then beats the defender to the ball to put it in the back of the net. VAR reviews ... Ziyech definitely offside, but Werner looks close...
21min: Liverpool keeping the ball at the back, with Chelsea holding position in midfield. Liverpool then try to go long for Salah in the right channel, but it’s overhit and Mendy collects.
19min: Mount with a great ball through for Chilwell, but his cross is blocked by a heel for a corner. Mount takes, inswinging, but it’s low and Liverpool can counter. Werner works back well to help stop that and Chelsea can counter, but everyone’s on the left so Werner’s ball in finds no takers.
17min: Azpi fires a rising shot over the bar after Ziyech works the ball well down the left.
16min: Unexpected ball in towards Werner, who’s unexpectedly onside, but it bounces awkwardly and Werner can’t quite chip it over Alisson.
15min: Chelsea build on the left, with Mount bursting through a couple, firing a pass into Werner, which he can’t quite control. Chelsea recover the ball and switch right, but James splits the difference between Kante and Mount on his cutback and Liverpool can clear.
13min: Mason Mount tracks back very well on Alexander-Arnold, but Chelsea’s counter is thwarted equally well by Salah tracking back on Chilwell to intercept Jorginho’s pass.
10min: Curtis Jones holds off a sea of blue shirts before looking for Mane over the top. But the ball bounces long and Mendy collects. Chelsea quickly go direct the other way, with Chilwell picking out Werner centrally. His touches is good/lucky to lose Kabak, and he fires a shot from just outside the area, which doesn’t miss by much.
9min: Another ball down the left for Robertson, but he can’t catch up to it. Liverpool well in control at the moment, with Christensen also surviving a half-hearted tackle attempt in the area on Mane, which could’ve easily been played up for a penalty shout by the Liverpool striker.
7min: Liverpool send Robertson down the left. James is there, but his chest control gifts possession back to the home side. Salah passes up a shot from 20 yards, Robertson does not, but his effort is well wide.
6min: Liverpool look over the top for Salah, but Mendy’s out quickly to sweep up and clear for a throw.
3min: Liverpool with a bit of possesion, but Chelsea holding them in midfield comfortably. Jorginho eventually wins the ball back.
1min: Chelsea with a bit of earlier possession before James releases Werner down the right. His cross is blocked for a corner, but he’s actually offside so it’s all called back belatedly.
KICK-OFF: Our commenting system is broken, but the live blog’s kicking, so here we go. It’s blue against red, fifth against sixth, top-four on the line. The players are out, in the traditional colors, and there’s a round of applause in appreciation and memory of Liverpool legend Ian St John, who passed away earlier this week. The players then take a knee, and Chelsea get the ball rolling.
The winner of this match will move up to fourth, while the loser will be left in an existential lurch. Football!
Thomas Tuchel has gone a bit of speed up top and plenty of control, in theory, in the middle. Abraham not on the bench, and this time probably because of the ankle knock.
Here we go!
Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3):
Alisson | Robertson, Fabinho, Kabak, Alexander-Arnold | Thiago, Jones, Wijnaldum | Mane, Firminho, Salah
Substitutes from: Adrian, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Shaqiri, Origi, R.Williams, N.Williams
Chelsea starting lineup (3-4-2-1):
Mendy | Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c) | Chilwell, Kante, Jorginho, James | Mount, Ziyech | Werner
Substitutes from: Arrizabalaga, Zouma, Alonso, Emerson, Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, Havertz, Pulisic, Giroud
Date / Time: Thursday, March 4, 2021, 20.15 GMT; 3:15pm EST; 1:45am IST (next day)
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Craig Pawson Martin Atkinson late sub as Pawson’s in self-isolation (on pitch); Anthony Taylor (VAR)
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); none (USA), Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ 3 Sport (NGA); elsewhere
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Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!