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Liverpool restore five-point PL lead

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Liverpool restore five-point PL lead

Premier League leaders Liverpool restored their five-point advantage with a 4-1 win over Chelsea on a memorable night for youngster Conor Bradley and a typically frustrating one for Darwin Nunez.

With Manchester City beating Burnley and Arsenal winning on Tuesday, victory in the first of their major double-header – a trip to the Emirates is up next – was imperative but Jurgen Klopp’s side could not have expected to have had such a comfortable time.

Goals from Diogo Jota, Bradley – his first for the club – and Dominik Szoboszlai put the game beyond a woeful Chelsea inside 65 minutes but it could have been a rout as Nunez hit the woodwork an incredible four times – once from the penalty spot.

Thankfully for Liverpool his input was not needed as there was another star performer in the form of academy graduate Bradley, deputising for Trent Alexander-Arnold who was on the bench as he continued to make his comeback from injury, on only his second league start.

Bradley, man of the match against Norwich on Sunday, has been directly involved in six goals in his last four appearances and he deservedly departed to a standing ovation when Alexander-Arnold eventually took over.

While everything went perfectly for Bradley, Nunez could not catch a break as he was denied three times by Djordje Petrovic, with the goalkeeper tipping two shots onto the crossbar and the post in the first half.

Such was the Liverpool striker’s luck that when he did send Petrovic the wrong way from the spot, having taken the ball off Alexis Mac Allister, that same post was to deny him again.

But while Nunez’s brand of controlled chaos keeps him involved but does not always bring the right results, Klopp has a player who is almost the exact opposite in Jota.

The Portugal international is uncomplicated to the point of almost being unappreciated among bigger stars and characters on the forward line but his proficiency in front of goal is unrivalled.

He demonstrated as much when the again-excellent Bradley won the ball off Ben Chilwell 10 yards inside his own half, exchanged passes with Szoboszlai before driving forward to play in Jota.

The forward spotted a gap between Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile and barged through it to score, with VAR confirming the ball had rebounded off Badiashile’s hand and not Jota’s.

Former Chelsea captain John Terry, among the visiting supporters at the end Liverpool were attacking, would no doubt have had a number of questions.

With the visitors pinned back in their own half, Petrovic parried a low shot from Curtis Jones but was powerless to prevent a devastating angled finish from Bradley, who had been released down the right by Luis Diaz.

The 20-year-old allowed himself the luxury of celebrating a second time when VAR confirmed no foul in the build-up and, just when he thought his night could not get any better, the Kop sang his name for the first of numerous occasions.

Even Badiashile’s trip on Jota on the stroke of half-time could not change Nunez’s fortunes from the spot.

Chelsea left the pitch bemoaning the penalty they did not get at 0-0 when Conor Gallagher collided with Virgil van Dijk.

Gallagher did not make it back for the second half and neither did Chilwell, booked for diving, or Noni Madueke in an admission by Mauricio Pochettino the opening 45 minutes had been nowhere near good enough.

New arrival Mykhailo Mudryk blazed over the first chance after the break before Bradley crossed for Szoboszlai to head home the third.

Christopher Nkunku pulled one back but there was still time for Nunez to power a header against the crossbar before Diaz slid in the fourth at the far post from Nunez’s cross.

Victory was Klopp’s 200th league victory in 318 matches, faster than any other Liverpool manager.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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