37 min Werner misses a sitter, though everyone in the ground knew that Havertz was going to be flagged offside as soon as the ball went dead.
36 min Henderson’s very deep cross is volleyed into the ground and wide of the near post by Robertson. It was a half chance at most.
35 min Salah, on the left of the box after a half-cleared corner, smashes a low cross that whistles past everyone in the six-yard area.
32 min A decent effort from Werner. He picked up a loose ball 30 yards out, ran at the backpedalling Alexander-Arnold and hit a left-footed shot that drifted just wide of the far post. Alisson had it covered though.
31 min Now Chelsea do put a few passes together. Eventually Alonso sprays a fine pass out to his fellow full-back James, whose low cross is cleared at the near post by Robertson.
30 min Chelsea can’t keep the ball. I can remember only one move of more than four of five passes, when Kante turned away from goal in the area.
29 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Average of over five goals per game so far in the Premiership this weekend, and on course to break the record for most goals in a single round of fixtures. So, come on, let’s have some please. Forget Expected Goals, let’s bring back the Guardian Goals Guarantee.”
When you say ‘bring back’…
28 min There’s only been one shot on target in the match. It hasn’t been a thriller, even if the tactical struggle has been interesting.
24 min Alexander-Arnold’s driven cross is kicked away by Christensen at the near post. Chelsea are holding on a little bit.
23 min Kovacic’s pass over the defence is just too far in front of Mount, who made a good run infield and would have been through on goal had he been able to control the ball.
21 min Liverpool are still very dominant, even if most of their possession has been harmless. Chelsea have threatened occasionally through Werner, but Havertz and Mount have barely touched the ball.
19 min Salah’s shot from the edge of the area is blocked by Christensen. Chelsea break through Werner, who tries to twist away from the last man Fabinho on the edge of the Liverpool area and is expertly tackled. Really good defending.
17 min Chelsea work the ball nicely from left to right, with Mount eventually finding Kante in the area. The shot isn’t on so he turns away from goal, don’t ask me why, and the move peters out.
14 min: Christensen clears off the line! That was a strange incident. The ball ricocheted towards the Chelsea area after a 50/50 between James and Henderson. Kepa came, thinking he would get there first, but the ball kept running away from him and towards Salah on the right side of the area. Salah went round Kepa and crossed low to the near post, where Firmino’s close-range shot was blocked on the line by Christensen.
12 min Salah plays a square pass to tee up Wijnaldum, who shoots wide from 25 yards. We haven’t seen that potential penalty again, so presumably there was nothing in it.
11 min Salah goes over in the area after a slightly clumsy challenge from Kovacic (I think). There wasn’t much of an appeal, actually, but it will presumably be checked.
11 min This is a bit ominous for Chelsea. Liverpool are completely dominating possession, and it feels like a matter of time before they create a clear chance.
10 min “At home you’re distracted by your to-do list,” says Zach Neeley. “Lacks the freedom of the open road.”
Wasn’t that Cummings’ excuse?
9 min Robertson, who has already made four or five terrific runs, wins a corner off James. He takes it himself and it’s headed away at the near post.
8 min Chelsea look happy to sit deep and use the pace of Werner on the break. Liverpool are on the front foot, same as always.
7 min “Without the fans maybe being at home is not such an advantage,” says Gary Stover.
Yes, agreed, though it’s slightly odd that it’s happening now rather than straight after lockdown, as it did in the Bundesliga.
5 min Liverpool have started like the home team, with lots of possession. They look relaxed and confident.
3 min Werner has another run at Fabinho, who does well to stand his ground and ease Werner off the ball.
3 min Kovavic’s overhit pass is kept in by the speedy Werner. He then beats Fabinho with ease but his cross is blocked.
2 min Chelsea have started with Kai Havertz at centre forward. Timo Werner is on the left wing and Mason Mount on the right.
1 min Peep peep! Liverpool, specifically Naby Keita, kick off from left to right.
Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp greet each other with a handshake, a hug and a smile. I give it half an hour.
This is a great spot from my colleague Tim de Lisle. Any theories? It might be a fitness thing, with rusty defences more vulnerable to counter-attacks.
Pre-match thoughts “I have to say I would be quite anxious right now if I was a Chelsea fan,” says Robert Lin. “This game could be a reality check for the big spenders as their new signings take time to settle in. Liverpool could go for the jugular and get a real statement win.”
It’s really warm in west London, around 25 degrees. That, and the short pre-season, will probably impact upon the tempo of the game.
There were big away wins in the first two games of the day: Southampton 2-5 Spurs and Newcastle o-3 Brighton.
Thanks for the emails pointing out that the Liverpool team only had ten men. I’d omitted Virgil van Dijk to bring him down a peg or two after that error last weekend, but he’s back now.
Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have minor injuries, so Fabinho will play at centre-back for Liverpool. Their new signing Thiago Alcantara is on the bench; Diogo Jota was not registered in time for this game. Chelsea make one change from the team that beat Brighton: Mateo Kovacic is in for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. It looks like a switch from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Kepa; James, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Havertz, Werner, Mount.
Substitutes: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Giroud.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Thiago, Milner, Jones, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi.
Referee Paul Tierney.
As if this game needs a preamble! Chelsea v Liverpool would have been an early-season humdinger even without the burgeoning needle between the two sides. It will be ultra-competitive on the touchline at Stamford Bridge, never mind the pitch. Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp had a slanging match during Liverpool’s 5-3 win at the end of last season, and though they have been very polite this week, their competitive juices will start flowing once the match begins.
Both teams started the league season with victories. Liverpool beat Leeds 4-3 in a madcap game at Anfield, while Chelsea had a slightly flattering 3-1 win at Brighton. This is an early chance for them to show they are serious title contenders, and for Liverpool to put Chelsea back in their box. One way or another, it’ll be emotional.
Kick off 4.30pm.