Champions Liverpool overcome Chelsea in eight-goal thriller

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Liverpool held off a Christian Pulisic-inspired comeback as the runaway Premier League champions overcame Chelsea 5-3 ahead of the trophy presentation at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's title winners got into the party spirit as they were involved in an eight-goal thriller on Merseyside in their final home game of an unforgettable season, though there was little sign of the late drama to come when they led 4-1. 

Naby Keita's right-footed rocket opened the scoring, and there was a long-awaited home goal for Roberto Firmino - his first in the league since March 2019 - early in the second half. 

The impressive Pulisic helped the Blues battle back to 4-3, raising hopes of clinching the draw they required to make certain of a top-four finish, but Liverpool had the last word, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slamming home to secure the win.

Liverpool had laboured since crossing the line yet appeared hungry to mark the occasion by producing something special. 

Their opener demonstrated one of the key traits that has helped end the 30-year wait to reign again, Keita helping to win possession as the hosts pressed high before unleashing a rasping shot that flashed beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.   

A debatable foul call by referee Andre Marriner offered Trent Alexander-Arnold the opportunity to curl in a second goal with a glorious a free-kick, while the visitors' set-piece woes continued when their failure to deal with a corner allowed Georginio Wijnaldum to smash the loose ball in.   

Chelsea pulled one back when Olivier Giroud reacted quickly to stab home from close range before half-time, but the game seemed up when Firmino finally ended his drought by heading home Alexander-Arnold's inviting cross. 

Pulisic had other ideas, though. The United States international slalomed through to set up fellow substitute Tammy Abraham for a tap-in finish, then reduced the deficit to one by swivelling inside the penalty area and firing into the roof of the net. 

Klopp made changes to try and stem the tide and it was one of his substitutes who ended Chelsea's hopes, Oxlade-Chamberlain arriving at the back post to provide the finish to Andy Robertson's delivery.

What does it mean? Reds sign off in style

Lifting the trophy inside an empty Anfield may not be the way Liverpool's players and staff imagined the moment finally happening, but this was an old-school Klopp performance to mark the celebrations.

Heavy metal football played out inside an empty stadium as the two teams went at each other in a gripping contest. Chelsea made plenty of noise themselves, though they had to accept being the supporting act.

Keita shows further positive signs

The opening goal was an eye-catching strike from Keita, who once again demonstrated that - when fit, as has not often been the case since his arrival - the Guinea international can be a key contributor to a squad that may not see any major new arrivals in the next window.

Little case for the defence

Chelsea have managed just one clean sheet on their travels in the league this term. For all the excitement over the arrivals of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, and the continued talk of a move for Kai Havertz, the defensive deficiencies will continue to undermine their progress until suitably fixed.

What's next?

Liverpool will aim to finish a memorable campaign on a winning note when they travel to Newcastle United on Monday (AEST), while Chelsea know a final-day victory over Wolves at Stamford Bridge will see them certain of Champions League football next term.

Source Omnisport