Sadio the main Mane for Liverpool as Reds put down an early marker
Mane's double sees off 10-man Chelsea with easy 2-0 win
Two goals from Sadio Mane just after half time eased champions Liverpool to a 2-0 win over 10-man Chelsea in the Premier League season’s first heavyweight clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
A dull game never threatened to live up to the eight-goal thriller when the sides met in July, and it proved all too easy for Liverpool to lay down the season’s first big marker, though Chelsea were architects of their own downfall.
Chelsea managed only one goal attempt in the first half but were solid enough until Danish defender Andreas Christensen was sent off shortly before the interval for hauling down Mane.
Mane headed Liverpool in front five minutes after the interval and four minutes later took advantage of a dreadful error by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as the hosts crumbled.
Liverpool gave new midfield signing Thiago Alcantara a debut off the bench but the Spaniard’s first impact was to offer Chelsea a lifeline by fouling Timo Werner to concede a penalty with a little under 20 minutes remaining.
But Jorginho’s effort was saved by the otherwise redundant Alisson Becker to spare Liverpool any late tension. Liverpool have won both their opening games, while Chelsea have three points.
● Brighton and Hove Albion got their Premier League season up and running with a clinical 3-0 victory over Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Sunday after an early brace by Neal Maupay.
The Frenchman put Brighton ahead from the penalty spot in the fourth minute when Allan Saint-Maximin brought down Tariq Lamptey after the teenage wingback cut inside from the right and darted into the box.
Lamptey, 10 days shy of his 20th birthday, was also involved in Brighton’s second four minutes later, releasing Leandro Trossard down the right.
The Belgian fired in a low cross that Maupay slotted home from close range and though the goal was initially disallowed for an offside in the build-up, referee Kevin Friend overturned his decision after consulting VAR.
The home side showed more fight after the restart and Callum Wilson spurned Newcastle’s best chance to cut the deficit when he headed over from close range in the 63rd minute after Brighton were caught trying to play out from the back.
It was the visitors, however, who extended their lead late on, when Aaron Connolly curled the ball home after being picked out inside the box by Maupay for a comfortable win for Brighton.
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