LONDON (AP) — Liverpool restored its five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino clinched a 2-1 victory over Chelsea on Sunday.
Chasing a first English title since 1990, Liverpool claimed a sixth successive league win at the start of the season after Chelsea was unpicked twice from set-pieces in the first half.
“We’ve tried to execute a game plan in order to bounce back from midweek,” Alexander-Arnold said, reflecting on the Champions League title defense opening with a loss at Napoli. “It shows what kind of side we are. We’ve won all different types of games. 18 out of 18 points (in the Premier League) is massive.”
But Chelsea has now conceded 13 goals in the opening six league games under Frank Lampard, leaving the team 10 points behind Liverpool.
Alexander-Arnold was teed up by Mohamed Salah’s free kick to get the opener in the 14th minute.
“It was close so we’ve moved the ball and made the angle a bit better,” Alexander-Arnold told Sky Sports television. “Maybe it confused their ‘keeper. It moves their formation so if we can get a little advantage in that way then it helps. It was too close to go over the wall and I didn’t know if the wall would jump to go under it.”
A defensive mix-up allowed Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta to put the ball in the net in the 27th minute but the equalizer was ruled out once the VAR rolled back the action and spotted an offside.
Liverpool’s response to the reprieve was to extend its lead in the 30th minute when Firmino headed in Andy Robertson’s cross.
“I don’t want to sound naïve,” Lampard said. “But to concede from a cross for Firmino is ridiculous. He shouldn’t be having a free header in the box.”
Chelsea’s plans were disrupted by two injury-enforced defensive changes in the first half with Andreas Christensen and Emerson Palmieri forced off.
Chelsea did pull one back in the 71st minute when N’Golo Kante was given space to twist through the defense. Many might have been expecting him to release the ball to an opponent, but the Frenchman struck the ball into the top of the net.
“The last 25 to 30 minutes were really tough,” Alexander-Arnold said. “But we’ve been able to see it out.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports