Olivier Giroud’s first-half header earned Chelsea a win over Liverpool which keeps alive their hopes of claiming a Champions League place. Here’s how we rated each Blues player in their 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Thibaut Courtois: 7
He made several decent saves, notably twice denying Sadio Mane in the first half, and the Belgian was also confident with his handling and composed with the ball at his feet.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
He was lucky to get away with a careless attempted second-half clearance but was otherwise excellent, setting an example in denying Liverpool’s dangerous front three time and space.
Gary Cahill: 7
Played his part in a brilliantly organised defensive display in his normal professional way.
Antonio Rudiger: 8
Like Azpilicueta, the German was positive and quick to close down in an excellent defensive display. Rudiger was dominant in the air and, crucially, his challenge in the dying seconds stopped Dominic Solanke from having a free header at goal. He also had a goal rightly ruled out for offside.
Victor Moses: 8
A moment of quality set up Giroud’s winner in a fine all-round performance at right full-back. Moses saw plenty of the ball and impressed throughout, but can still be hit and miss in the oppostion’s penalty box.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 7
Bakayoko continued his recent improvement following a miserable few months with an energetic display. His final ball still let him down too often, but he was generally much better much in possession, sharper in the midfield breakdown and quicker to press. He also got in the box on several occasions and nearly scored with a header before the break.
N’Golo Kante: 8
Operating in a slightly more defensive role, Kante excelled in protecting the back three and was rapid in regaining his position if he did wander forward and Chelsea lost possession. The Frenchman made some vital interceptions tracking back and allowed both Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas greater freedom.
Cesc Fabregas: 6
Another afternoon where the Spaniard did a tremendous amount of work off the ball with very little personal reward, showing his willingness to do the ugly work demanded by Antonio Conte’s circumspect tactical gameplan.
Marcos Alonso: 7
Back in the side following suspension, Alonso showed his quality at both ends, defending solidly, keeping his shape and bombing on when possible. He almost scored with an outrageous first-time volley from a tight angle towards the end of the match.
Eden Hazard: 8
Hazard’s contribution was huge, with Chelsea’s playmaker always involved and never shy of taking possession in tight situations. He made numerous mazy runs and was typically difficult to knock off the ball, dealing with some cynical Liverpool tackling with the minimum of fuss.
Olivier Giroud: 7
His beautifully taken header was enough for victory but was far from his only contribution. Giroud’s hold-up play was impressive and he made sure Virgil van Dijk had a tough afternoon, contesting every ball and giving Hazard the confidence to know his endless runs forward would not be in vain.