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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Chelsea add to Liverpool’s nightmare to reach FA Cup quarter-finals

Liverpool have now been beaten three times in four games in all competitions having also lost to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League, last-16 tie.

By: Reuters | Updated: March 4, 2020 8:37:23 am
Ross Barkley celebrates scoring Chelsea’s second goal with teammates. (Source: Reuters)

Chelsea made it a torrid few days for Liverpool as goals by Willian and Ross Barkley sealed a 2-0 victory to send them through to the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Liverpool’s 44-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League ended in stunning fashion with a 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday and they were rocked again at Stamford Bridge.

Keeper Adrian, in for the rested Alisson, endured a horrible moment when he allowed Willian’s powerful shot to bounce off him and into the net in 13th minute.

To complete a miserable night for Liverpool, former Everton midfielder Barkley drove home Chelsea’s second goal just past the hour mark after a surging run.

Eight-time winners Chelsea thoroughly deserved their win and manager Frank Lampard will take heart from the fact that on the last two occasions they have beaten Liverpool in the Cup they have gone on to lift the trophy.

“They are the best team in the land, this year what they are doing in the league is incredible,” Lampard said.

“So for us to put in the effort, focus, determination and quality was something special tonight. It’s a one-off I know, but you have to celebrate these moments.”

After having their dream of an unbeaten season wrecked at Watford, Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp made seven changes but still started with Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, and Fabinho — a far cry from the previous round at Shrewsbury when he fielded a virtual under-21 side.

It was clear from the start that Klopp wanted an immediate response to the Watford shocker, and he almost got it with Mane failing to capitalise on a golden early chance.

A frenetic opening saw Adrian make a stunning save from Willian but seconds later he went from hero to villain. Fabinho was caught in possession and Willian let fly again. The shot went straight at the keeper but it somehow squirmed past him and into the back of the net.

At the other end, Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, back for the first time since being dropped in January, made a remarkable triple save before halftime. First, he blocked Mane’s close-range effort, then kept out follow-up attempts by Divock Origi and teenager Curtis Jones.

Liverpool faded in the second half and when Barkley burst forward and fired past Adrian the game was as good as over. It could have got even better, with Mason Mount striking a 25-yard free-kick against the bar and Olivier Giroud also denied by a superb save by Adrian.

For Liverpool, a season of utter dominance which will almost certainly deliver a first league title for 30 years, has suddenly hit the buffers. They have been beaten three times in four games in all competitions having also lost to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League, last-16 tie.

“We deserved to lose because they scored twice and we made massive mistakes for both goals,” Klopp said.

“Nobody has to feel sorry for us, we will win football games and that is what we want to do on Saturday.”

NEWCASTLE, SHEFFIELD GO THROUGH

Miguel Almiron struck twice as Newcastle United reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 with a 3-2 win at second-tier West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.

Sheffield United joined the Magpies in the last eight but needed extra time to see off Reading 2-1.

Allan Saint-Maximin hit the post before going on a fine individual run to tee up Almiron for the Premier League side’s opener after 33 minutes.

The Paraguay international grabbed his second on the stroke of halftime before combining again with Saint-Maximin for the third, setting up Valentino Lazaro for his first goal since he arrived on loan from Inter Milan in January.

Kyle Edwards hit the crossbar before Matt Phillips pulled one back for the hosts, and Kenneth Zohore added a second in the final moments as Championship leaders West Brom fought in vain.

On the other hand, Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick scored his first goal of the season when he headed home from Ben Osborn’s cross to put the Blades ahead after two minutes.

Reading equalised from the penalty spot after George Baldock shoved Andy Rinomhota, with George Puscas dispatching the spot-kick two minutes before the break.

Mark Bowen’s team were the better side in the second half but Billy Sharp headed home in the 105th minute after a fine run and cross from Luke Freeman.

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