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Analysis from Ian Doyle after Liverpool thumped Chelsea 4-1 in the Premier League to send title warning to Man City and Arsenal.


Mac Allister shows Caicedo the way


Moises Caicedo would have been forgiven for wondering just what in the world was going on.

Seemingly every time the Chelsea midfielder gained possession, he was engulfed by a sea of red, Liverpool players snapping at his heels.

Caicedo wasn’t alone in being harassed into submission during a first-half from the home side that threatened to obliterate the Londoners, such was their unrelenting dominance.


But it was the Ecuadorian who, along with the injured Romeo Lavia, chose to decline the invitation of a move to Liverpool last summer and chose Stamford Bridge instead.

While it appeared an obvious subplot to this fixture, it was particularly appropriate given what transpired, Jurgen Klopp’s side wresting the early midfield initiative and maintaining a vice-like grip throughout. At one point in the second half, Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez simply threw his arms wide in bewilderment at his team-mates.


By the time referee Paul Tierney put the visitors out of their misery with the final whistle on a 4-1 thumping, Caicedo had long since departed, trotting off disconsolately with the Anfield jeers ringing in his ears.


Liverpool, though, have moved on from that rejection, with their reconfigured engine room a key factor behind a campaign that sees them five points clear at the Premier League summit and still challenging on four fronts.


And here it was the player who resisted Chelsea and plumped instead for Liverpool that outshone his former Brighton team-mate in the midfield scrap.

Debate over Alexis Mac Allister’s suitability as a number six has abated given recent performances, this another to add to his growing collection. With more games his positioning and understanding of the role has improved, while some of his trademark passing left the Anfield crowd purring in appreciation.


With Wataru Endo’s absence on international duty having been extended earlier in the day, Mac Allister’s form has been crucial in maintaining the momentum brought by the Japanese.


Small wonder, then, that Klopp had his head in his hands when, in the closing stages, Mac Allister hit the turf in agony after a challenge with Chelsea substitute Cesare Casadei.


Liverpool will keep their fingers crossed the Argentine is fine for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday. On this evidence, he will be a key factor in a pivotal juncture in the title race.

Bradley a perfect gift


Liverpool supporters aren’t soft. Whether in opposition or one of their own, they know a good player when they see one.


And the Kop is well aware the Reds have a cracker in Conor Bradley.


There can’t be many youngsters in the club’s history who have been afforded their own chant when making only a second league appearance for the club.

But rarely has there been an impact as that made by the 20-year-old since stepping into the starting line-up in place of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.


Bradley, of course, is not a newcomer to Liverpool, having now made 14 appearances. And a successful loan spell last season at League One side Bolton Wanderers has made him battle-hardened.


But nobody could have foreseen just how well the Northern Ireland international has embraced the right-back role. His headline contribution here will be a superbly-taken first goal for Liverpool and two outstanding assists, but just as impressive was his tenacious defending, not least some strong challenges and ability to win free-kicks. The Anfield crowd absolutely loved it.


The standing ovation Bradley was afforded on his substitution for Alexander-Arnold – making a landmark 300th Liverpool appearance – midway through the second was hugely merited.


Alexander-Arnold might not automatically win back his right-back berth. Whoever takes over from Jurgen Klopp, they have inherited a real star in the making.


Nunez gotta Nunez


Was Darwin Nunez a carpenter in a former life? Certainly, the Liverpool striker loves the woodwork.


Having already become overly acquainted with the frame of the goal during his Reds career, Nunez contrived to strike it four times here – a record for a single player in a Premier League match.

Efforts were touched on to the bar and then post by Chelsea goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, although it was entirely down to the Uruguayan that his first-half penalty struck the post. And in the second half, the striker directed a presentable header against the crossbar.


Don’t be fooled, however. On the occasion of his 50th league appearance for Liverpool, Nunez was excellent, particularly during a first half in which he didn’t give Chelsea centre-backs Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva a moment’s peace.


That persistent pestering eventually earned deserved reward with 11 minutes remaining, Nunez too powerful for Thiago Silva and then delivering a cross from the left that invited Luis Diaz to score.


Diaz had already assisted Bradley’s strike and continues to add numbers to his game with five goal contributions – three goals and two assists – in his last eight games. The Colombian is in a good moment.

So, too, is Diogo Jota, who now has five goals and four assists in the same period since returning from injury. No Mohamed Salah, no problem so far for Liverpool.


Klopp’s new landmark


Even as he heads towards an Anfield exit, Jurgen Klopp continues to rack up the records.


Victory here was a 200th of his time in charge, with no other Liverpool boss having achieved it quicker than in the 318 games Klopp managed.


Indeed, only three other people have reached a double-century of triumphs while in the Reds hotseat – Bob Paisley, who managed it after 355 games, Bill Shankly (378) and Tom Watson (434).


And after seven successive draws against Chelsea, this was a comprehensive way to break the deadlock, even if it was surprisingly only a third win in the last 12 Premier League meetings at Anfield.


The Reds have now lost only one of their last 40 games against domestic opponents in all competitions, and the manner of his performance will surely have been noted by Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, who are now emerging as the main championship rivals.


Plus, of course, it landed a potential psychological blow ahead of a Wembley rematch against Chelsea next month. With Liverpool in this kind of form, it cannot come soon enough.

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