Liverpool, Chelsea maintain perfect starts

Agence France-Presse . London | Published: 00:05, Sep 02,2018

 
 

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (R) scores his team’s opening goal against Leicester City during their Premier League match at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Liverpool and Chelsea saw off stiff resistance from Leicester and Bournemouth on Saturday to continue setting a fast pace at the top of the Premier League with four wins from four games.
A huge error from £65 million ($84 million) goalkeeper Alisson Becker threatened to halt Liverpool’s early season charge, but Jurgen Klopp’s men held out for a 2-1 win at the King Power in another demonstration of their new-found defensive solidity to go with the firepower of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Chelsea had to wait until 19 minutes from time to break down Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge before the in-form Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring and Eden Hazard sealed the points in a 2-0 win.
For once Salah had an off day as the Egyptian fired a glorious early chance wide and was substituted by Klopp 20 minutes from time.
Mane stepped into the breach to open the scoring with his fourth goal in as many games this season after good work by Andy Robertson before Firmino’s first of the campaign just before the break doubled the visitors’ advantage.
A two-goal lead was more than Liverpool deserved, though, as for the third straight game the Reds failed to hit their free-flowing best.
Victories against West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton had been built upon not conceding with new recruit Alisson more than playing his part.
But the Brazilian number one was caught trying to dribble past Kelechi Iheanacho and the Nigerian squared for Rachid Ghezzal to set up a grandstand finish.
‘It’s only positive that he is that good a footballer. But we all have to learn to use it in the right way still,’ said Klopp of Alisson’s propensity to take risks.
‘That was a mistake – no goalkeeper in the world should dribble in that situation.’
While Liverpool were expected to challenge champions Manchester City for the title having spent more than any other team in the league over the summer, Maurizio Sarri’s perfect start at Chelsea has surprised even the Italian himself.
Sarri’s imprint was again clear to see as the blues dominated possession, but were made to work to inflict Bournemouth’s first defeat of the campaign.
French World Cup winner Olivier Giroud came off the bench to help make the breakthrough as he exchanged passes with Pedro before the Spaniard curled home.
And Hazard then showed why Chelsea refused to contemplate letting him go to Real Madrid with a classy finish for his second goal of the season.
At the other end of the table West Ham remain without a point after Wolves snatched a 1-0 victory in stoppage time at the London Stadium thanks to Adama Traore’s winner.
Everton’s fine start to life under Marco Silva stumbled in a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield.
Brighton fought back from 2-0 down at home to Fulham to grab a 2-2 draw thanks to Glenn Murray’s double.
And Southampton claimed their first victory of the season by resisting intense Crystal Palace pressure to win 2-0 at Selhurst Park thanks to second-half goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

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