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English Premier League

Chelsea's Top-Four Hopes Dented After Eight-Goal Thriller

English Premier League

Result: Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea

Date: 22 July 2020

Venue: Anfield

Chelsea missed the chance to clinch a top-four spot with a game to spare after losing to Premier League champions Liverpool in an eight-goal thriller.

The Reds made only one change from their loss to Arsenal, as Naby Keita replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the line up, while the Blues kept the same line-up that beat Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, apart from goalkeeper Kepa, who returned in goals.

Jurgen Klopp's charges were under pressure in the early stages, as Mason Mount almost opened the scoring for Chelsea in the ninth minute with a gliding header from close range that missed slightly over the bar from Reece James' cross.

However, Keita gave Liverpool the lead in the 23rd minute with a stunning strike from just outside the box that looped over Kepa and hit the underside of the crossbar on its way into the back of the net.

Frank Lampard's troops thought they had equalised in the 33rd minute after Mount went clear on goal one-on-one with Alisson but the goal was chalked off for a marginal offside by the Video Assistant Referee.

Liverpool doubled their lead seven minutes before the break after Trent Alexander-Arnold curled a brilliant free-kick from outside the box over the wall and past the flat-footed Kepa.

Georginio Wijnaldum added a third goal for Klopp's men on the stroke of half-time with a thumping volley to the top corner inside the box after the Blues failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Chelsea pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time after Olivier Giroud reacted the quickest to tap home a rebound after Alisson parried Willian's looping strike towards an open goal.

The hosts were on the front foot early in the second stanza, as Salah missed a sitter just five minutes from the break but Roberto Firmino got on the score-sheet for the champions five minutes later with a neat header past Kepa from Alexander-Arnold's pin-point cross.

The Blues got a second goal back just after the hour-mark after Christian Pulisic broke away clear inside the box and setup Tammy Abraham, who made no mistake from six yards.

Pulisic reduced the deficit to just a single goal for Lampard's charges in the 73rd after he controlled Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross before rifling the ball into the top corner from close range.

Liverpool were dropping deep in their own half in the last ten minutes, inviting pressure from the Blues and Klopp brought on the fresh legs of Oxlade-Chamberlain in place of Salah to stretch the visitors on counter-attacks.

The change paid off as Klopp's men sealed the win in the last five minutes as Andrew Robertson raced away on the left flank and played a square pass towards the far post that was finished off by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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