After an impressive close season in the transfer market aiming to bridge the gap to the top of the Premier League, Chelsea got an uneasy look at how that chasm appears on the field as Liverpool eased to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Even before Andreas Christensen's game-changing red card for a professional foul on Sadio Mane during first-half stoppage time, Jurgen Klopp's champions had dictated matters.

That state of affairs only became more skewed after half-time as Thiago Alcantara announced his Premier League arrival with a passing clinic against depleted opponents.

Mane gave his own lesson in clinical opportunism with both goals, even if Kepa Arrizabalaga's problems were almost as influential - on both Chelsea's demise and, in all likelihood, his immediate future.

Frank Lampard claimed afterwards that the 90 minutes were not without plus points for the Blues, with another lively Timo Werner showing giving a tantalising indication of how much the Germany forward might enjoy England's top flight.

PASS MASTER THIAGO MARKS HIS ARRIVAL

Losing skipper Jordan Henderson at the interval might have compromised Liverpool's strong position in the match, but former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago demonstrated the extra dimension he can lend to Klopp's winning machine, albeit in a match where the pattern was already established by Chelsea's numerical disadvantage.

Thiago completed 75 passes of 83 attempted (90.4 per cent), more than any Chelsea player over the course of the contest. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic - the closest thing to Thiago equivalents in Lampard's line-up - were both substituted in the 79th minute having completed 43 and 58 passes respectively.

Since Opta began collecting full passing data in 2003-04, the Spain international's 75 passes are the most made by a player to have played a maximum of 45 minutes.

Thiago's impact helped Liverpool to improve their 53.5 per cent share of first-half possession to 68 per cent in the second period. The visitors outstripped their 301 first-half passes with 458 after the break.

ALISSON UNDERLINES TALE OF TWO KEEPERS

Despite the free-scoring nature of the season, Opta's metric tracking errors leading directly to goals has only recorded three overall. Kepa is now responsible for two of those.

As Edouard Mendy seemingly closes in on a move to Stamford Bridge from Rennes, the Spain goalkeeper's race appears to be run.

At the other end of their home pitch, Chelsea's hierarchy were able to look ruefully at how things might have panned out. Alisson was understood to be a target to replace Thibaut Courtois before Liverpool got their man.

The Brazil number one made three saves, including an exceptional stop from Jorginho's 75th-minute penalty.

It was the first time Jorginho failed from the spot in nine attempts for Chelsea, excluding shoot-outs, and Alisson's first such stop from three faced since signing from Roma in 2018. In this age of the VAR keeping an eagle eye on keepers straying from their goal line, it was no mean feat.

WERNER SOUNDS ANOTHER WARNING AS MANE SETS STANDARD

As was the case when Jorginho converted his spot-kick against Brighton and Hove Albion, Werner drew a foul in the area to land the opportunity. The former RB Leipzig star is the first player to win a penalty in each of his first two Premier League appearances since Stamford Bridge favourite Eden Hazard back in 2012.

An early dart inside from the left channel suggested Werner might get plenty of joy out of makeshift centre-back Fabinho. However, the Brazilian's four tackles, four interceptions and 12 instances of gaining possession were the best of those numbers returned by any Liverpool player.

Werner's pace and directness is a huge part of his appeal and he has been quick to bring those attributes to Chelsea. His 20 sprints were more than any other player on Lampard's side, with his top speed of 32.27 kilometres per hour quicker than any of his team-mates.

If the £47.5million acquisition can hit the heights that have become customary for Mane, Lampard will be a very happy man indeed.

The Senegal star has scored in each of his past three Premier League away games for Liverpool and his match-winning brace was the 13th time he has converted more than once in a top-flight fixture.

Jurgen Klopp acknowledges Thiago Alcantara will need time to adapt to Liverpool's system but felt the 2-0 win over Chelsea was the "perfect" opportunity for a debut.

Thiago signed from Bayern Munich this week in an initial £20million transfer and was named on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

When captain Jordan Henderson had to be replaced at half-time, the Spain midfielder was introduced for his Premier League bow and played his part as Sadio Mane scored twice against Chelsea's 10 men.

Thiago completed 75 passes, more than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match and more than any Premier League player when on the pitch for only 45 minutes since Opta passing data began in 2003-04.

On the other hand, he conceded a penalty for a foul on Timo Werner, but Alisson saved Jorginho's spot-kick and Klopp was pleased overall with the performance of his new man.

"It was top timing," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He trained. He had eight days off or whatever. He played with Spain, he trained with Munich, he's fit, so that's not a problem.

"But of course, he's not used to our things. We play a different system, but that's how it is, that's how football is. You need to get used to your mates next to you.

"But then when they have one man down, it's pretty much the perfect game. And with Hendo feeling a little bit, we had to react and we decided to bring him on.

"I liked it, I liked his game a lot. Defensively was tricky for him because we set it up differently, but offensively, with the ball, yeah, that's him. He wants to pass the ball."

Thiago played at the base of the midfield, where Fabinho would usually be stationed.

The Brazilian was shifted into the centre of defence due to injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and Klopp was delighted with the way he dealt with Werner.

"Timo is a top player. With space, there is no real football tactic that can defend him when he has the ball," Klopp said.

"But Fabinho obviously is a pretty good challenger, really good in one-on-one situations. He did outstandingly well.

"He can play the position and obviously today enjoyed it a lot, so it was good, a really good performance. If Sadio doesn't score two goals, I think a man of the match contender would have been Fabinho."

Thiago was followed into Anfield by Diogo Jota, signed from Wolves, and Klopp was asked to reflect on a positive week for the champions.

"We've had a lot of good weeks in the past, to be honest, but this was a good one as well," he replied.

Sadio Mane scored twice as Kepa Arrizabalaga made another calamitous error in a 2-0 victory for Liverpool over 10-man Chelsea, with Thiago Alcantara conceding a penalty on his debut.

Frank Lampard's side hardly laid a glove on the Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge and their cause was not helped by Andreas Christensen's red card late in the first half, with Mane then scoring twice in the space of four minutes after the restart.

Mane's second was a gift from the much-maligned Kepa, whose days as Chelsea's first choice seem numbered with Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy supposedly close to joining.

Thiago – who came on as a half-time substitute following his £20million move from Bayern Munich – marked his Liverpool debut by fouling Timo Werner to give away a penalty, but Alisson saved Jorginho's spot-kick to cap a miserable day for Chelsea.

Kepa needed Christensen to block Roberto Firmino's goal-bound flick after the goalkeeper left his line and was beaten to a loose ball by Mohamed Salah in the 13th minute.

Momentum swung in Liverpool's favour on the cusp of half-time when Christensen brought down Mane and was sent off by referee Paul Tierney, who changed his initial decision to book the defender after a VAR review.

With new arrival Thiago thrown into the fray due to a reported thigh problem for Jordan Henderson, it took just five minutes for the Reds to make their numerical advantage count – Salah and Firmino combining to set up Mane, who headed in from six yards.

While Liverpool's quality crafted their opener, their second was handed to them as Kepa's pass was intercepted by Mane and he fired home.

Thiago's clumsy tackle on Werner handed Chelsea a lifeline, but it was one Jorginho failed to take with his tame penalty easily saved by Alisson.

Kepa went a small way to making amends for his mistake late on, pulling off two saves in swift succession from Mane and Salah to keep Liverpool's winning margin down to two.

 

What does it mean? Big-spending Blues no match

Much was made of Chelsea's transfer spend of approximately £200m heading into this season, but on Sunday's evidence Lampard's men are far off mounting a title tilt.

All 11 Chelsea starters had average positions inside their own half throughout the encounter, and they managed just three shots on target, including Jorginho's failed spot-kick.

Mane off the mark

Salah was the star for Liverpool in their victory over Leeds United last week, but it was Mane who took centre stage this time. The Senegal forward is only the third Liverpool player to score a Premier League brace at Stamford Bridge, after Steve McManaman in December 1995 and Philippe Coutinho in October 2015.

Christensen's moment of panic sets Chelsea back

Thiago Silva's introduction cannot come quickly enough for Chelsea. Christensen's mistake handed Liverpool the impetus, as he became the first player since his boss Lampard – back in 2009 – to be sent off in a league fixture between the sides. He was also the first Blues player to see red at Stamford Bridge since David Luiz in 2017.

What's next?

Liverpool visit Lincoln City in the EFL Cup on Thursday, while Chelsea are in action against Barnsley a day prior.

Davide Zappacosta and Marko Pjaca have joined Genoa on loan from Chelsea and Juventus respectively.

Zappacosta, 28, spent last term in Serie A with Roma but made only nine league appearances, having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury while in the capital.

The right-back joined the Blues in 2017, yet, having featured regularly across his debut campaign, he earned just one Premier League start in his second term.

He appears to have fallen down the pecking order under Frank Lampard following the emergence of Reece James, but is under contract until 2022.

Winger Pjaca, 25, has been at Juventus since 2016 after signing on a five-year deal from Dinamo Zagreb.

However, the Croatian has failed to establish himself in the Bianconeri's first team – for whom he last played a Serie A game in March 2017 – and his spell at Genoa will be his latest loan away from the club after stints with Schalke, Fiorentina and Anderlecht.

Genoa, who finished 17th in Serie A last season and narrowly avoided relegation, begin the new campaign at home to Crotone on Sunday.

Andrea Pirlo was untouchable at the height of his playing career, a footballer whose grace and prowling presence drew widespread admiration and struck fear into rival teams.

As a coach, we can surmise but really it is a guessing game as to what we will be getting from Pirlo as the dugout rookie leads Juventus into the 2020-21 season.

On Sunday evening in Italy, the man who was a World Cup winner in 2006 takes charge of his first Serie A game with Juve, who play Sampdoria in Turin.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve reign lasted just one season, albeit another Scudetto-yielding campaign for the most successful club in the league's history. Pirlo will be expected to deliver at least that level of success, and encourage a swagger too.

He joins a host of significant former players plucked for leadership roles at an elite level, typically on a hunch rooted in familiarity, the chosen ones often still fresh from their playing days and with scant experience to call on. Top marks in coaching exams provide no guarantee that success will follow.

Many times, the gamble on a colt coach has paid off, with presidents and owners rightly sensing the novice harbours the innate expertise to lead and to inspire, and crucially to bring results. On other occasions, it has ended in frustration and tears, and in some instances the jury remains out.

Here is a look at just some of those cases, illustrating how there are no guarantees attached to such appointments.

PEP GUARDIOLA

The go-to example for any club that wishes to justify appointing a club legend to sudden seniority on the coaching side, former midfield general Guardiola was just 37 when he took charge at Barcelona in 2008, after a year coaching the B team. He departed four years and 14 trophies later, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League triumphs, and was vaunted as the world's best coach.

Further successes have come with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Plainly, Pep was born to lead and Barcelona were wise to the fact.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

How would Zidane, the mercurial playmaker – the only rival to Brazil striker Ronaldo when assessing the greatest player of their generation – take to coaching? Could the erstwhile Galactico tease out the best from those who can but dream of matching the twinkling feet and god-gifted balance with which he was blessed? Could the former Real Madrid maestro really be a suitable fit for the Bernabeu job that has swallowed up many an experienced coach?

Three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles later, we probably have a decent idea of the answer to those questions. There have still been ups and downs, and a brief split along the way, but 18 months in charge of Madrid's B team – Castilla – hardened Zidane for the obstacles he would face in the top job. His Madrid sides have at times lacked the verve that was his signature as a player, but they have delivered results and abundant trophies, and ultimately that is what counts.

MICHEL PLATINI

Before there was Zidane, France had Platini. A wonder of an attacking midfielder with Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Juventus, Platini was also a goalscoring titan of the France team that won Euro 84 and reached semi-finals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. It followed, to those that knew him, that Platini would go on to become a great national-team coach too, and at the age of 33 he was appointed to lead France, having retired as a player a year earlier. Platini took over with France already at a low ebb and defeats under his charge against Yugoslavia and Scotland meant they missed out on reaching the 1990 World Cup.

Could Platini bounce back? It seemed he might when France reached Euro 92 in style, with eight wins from eight qualifiers, Platini nurturing the likes of Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, but Les Bleus flopped at the tournament itself as they and England bowed out of a group from which Sweden and Denmark advanced. Platini resigned not long afterwards, began to forge a solid reputation in football administration, and by the late 1990s had built a strong, ultimately fateful, alliance with the then FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter. He would never coach again.

DIEGO MARADONA

If there were ever a case of being blinded by celebrity, then some of the presidents who have given Diego Armando Maradona coaching work surely have fallen victim. The biggest star of his generation, Maradona retired from playing in 1997 and, with barely a sniff of coaching experience and just about as much baggage as an airport carousel, was named boss of his native Argentina in 2008, tasked with taking the Albicelestes to the World Cup two years later. Argentina scraped their way into the finals and were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. Maradona's contract was not renewed.

He has continued to pick up coaching work, one curious-looking appointment after another, most recently with Gimnasia in the Argentinian top flight. Maradona the coach has been no match for Maradona the player, and it was naive surely for anyone to think that was ever remotely possible.

FRANK LAMPARD

Pirlo was an artist of the 21st century game, and he is considered a deep thinker, while the common theory is that English midfield counterpart Lampard achieved much of his success through hard graft and maximising his rather more rudimentary talent. Whether either categorisation fits the bill is a moot point, but Lampard has a wiser head on his shoulders than many footballers, was top of the class in his school days, and his IQ is reputed to be through the roof.

Derby County gave him a first break in coaching but it took Chelsea just a year to pounce and parachute Lampard into his first Premier League manager's job. A Stamford Bridge great as a player, Lampard had an acceptable first season as Blues boss but the acid test comes in this new term after a spree of big-money signings. A high-stakes London gamble will play out in the coming months.

ALAN SHEARER

As Pirlo takes charge of those in the Bianconeri stripes he once wore – Cristiano Ronaldo and all – it bears remembering that returning black and white messiahs can fail. Former Newcastle United striker Shearer returned to St James' Park in April 2009, the club's record goalscorer aiming to rescue the team from the threat of relegation, but a dismal return of five points from eight games saw them sink out of the Premier League.

Shearer left and has not coached since, happily staying in his niche as a television pundit. There are pressures but also a certain comfort to that studio role. Two months at Newcastle was the sum of Shearer's coaching career: as Pirlo may yet find out, that can be all it takes to destroy the notion of it being a natural next step.

Liverpool's transfer activity is ramping up.

After securing the services of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota is reportedly next on the list.

Could there be more arrivals?

 

TOP STORY – JOTA LIVERPOOL BOUND

Premier League champions Liverpool are set to complete the signing of Wolves star Diogo Jota, according to Goal.

Liverpool announced the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday as they look to retain their Premier League crown in 2020-21.

Now, Jurgen Klopp's men are poised to bring former Atletico Madrid forward Jota to Anfield amid widespread speculation.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC claims Porto full-back Alex Telles has agreed terms with Manchester United over a five-year deal. However, Paris Saint-Germain are also considering a move for the 27-year-old Brazilian following Juan Bernat's knee injury.

- Liverpool have enquired about Schalke star Ozan Kabak, reports Chris Williams. Bundesliga strugglers Schalke are reluctant to sell the 20-year-old centre-back.

Atletico Madrid are finalising a deal for Bayern Munich utility Javier Martinez, says Marca. Martinez played for Athletic Bilbao before joining Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern in 2012.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City are eyeing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as an alternative to Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, though they have struggled to find an agreement with Napoli as PSG reportedly circle.

Milan have overtaken Barcelona in the race to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sky Italia. Tipped to reunite with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at Barca, Depay could now join Milan in a swap deal involving Lucas Paqueta.

- The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo says Barca are looking to sell Nelson Semedo to fund new arrivals, with Ajax sensation and Bayern target Sergino Dest, City defender Eric Garcia and Depay wanted.

- Goal confirmed Juventus are working to bring Everton forward Moise Kean back to Turin in addition to signing Roma's Edin Dzeko. Juve are interested in a loan deal, though Everton are asking for a permanent transfer or loan with an obligation to buy.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard expects "incredible" Gareth Bale to give Tottenham a major boost if he secures a return to the Premier League club.

Bale left Spurs for Real Madrid in 2013 for a then-world record fee of €100milion (£85m) and he went on to enjoy huge success in Spain.

But the past few years have been tumultuous for the Welshman and he finally appears set to leave Madrid in favour of a return to Spurs, having already arrived in London to complete a deal alongside Sergio Reguilon, a team-mate of his at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale developed into one of the Premier League's best players during his first spell with Spurs, during which time he regularly played against Lampard.

And, presuming the deal goes through without a hitch, Lampard believes Chelsea's potential top-four rivals are getting one of the world's finest players.

"Gareth Bale is an incredible player, an incredible individual talent who we remember very well from his Premier League days and the successes he's had at Real Madrid," Lampard told reporters on Friday.

"If he does go to Tottenham, which I keep seeing is going to happen, then I think he'll be a big addition to their squad.

"Of course, they've got very good individuals at Tottenham, they're a team that's expected to challenge in the Champions League places and above.

"They have fantastic individuals and if they get Gareth Bale they'll have another for sure. He's one of the best players in the world in my opinion over the last four or five seasons."

 

Liverpool and Manchester United could be set for another transfer battle.

The Premier League rivals were both reportedly interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who is set for a move to Anfield.

Now it seems they could be targeting the same player once more.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MAN UTD TARGET SARR

Liverpool have enquired about Watford star Ismaila Sarr, according to the Daily Mail.

It reports Watford want at least £36million for the 22-year-old forward, who scored five goals and provided four assists in 28 Premier League games last season.

Meanwhile, The Independent says Manchester United are looking at Sarr as they continue to be frustrated in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- What is next for Luis Suarez? Goal reports Roma striker Edin Dzeko is set to join Juventus on a two-year deal, dashing Barcelona forward Suarez's hopes of heading to the Serie A champions. Fabrizio Romano says Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Suarez, while he also claims Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is getting closer to a Roma switch.

- Gareth Bale's return to Tottenham is almost done. Sky Sports reports the Real Madrid attacker will fly to London from Spain on Friday after completing a medical, returning to Spurs after leaving for the LaLiga giants in 2013.

- Staying at Tottenham and The Sun claims Spurs had a transfer enquiry for forward Danny Ings rejected by Southampton. Ings enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 season, scoring 22 Premier League goals.

- After a difficult first season at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic is apparently considering his options. According to Marca, the Serbian forward is studying a temporary loan move from the LaLiga champions.

- At Madrid's rivals, Barcelona, more movement is also expected. Mundo Deportivo reports Ronald Koeman wants Ajax full-back Sergino Dest if Nelson Semedo leaves the club.

- Could Chelsea's spending spree continue? The Independent reports West Ham star Declan Rice is yet to decide whether to push for a move to Stamford Bridge, where the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva are new arrivals.

Tottenham could face Chelsea in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, while Liverpool will meet Leicester City or Arsenal if they advance.

With the early rounds of this year's competition packed into the month of September due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fourth-round draw took place on Thursday before next week's third-round fixtures.

The premature process means Spurs and Chelsea each have work to do - against Leyton Orient and Barnsley, respectively - if they are to set up a mouth-watering last-16 meeting.

Former Blues manager Jose Mourinho will hope to guide Tottenham towards their first piece of silverware since 2008, when they won this competition.

With Spurs advancing in the Europa League, they are still on course to play a staggering nine matches before the October international break.

Meanwhile, the pick of the third-round ties takes Arsenal to Leicester, yet the winners are likely to face another difficult fixture as Liverpool will be their opponents if they beat Lincoln City.

Holders Manchester City must beat Bournemouth to reach a trip to either Millwall or Burnley, while Manchester United will go to Preston North End or Brighton and Hove Albion if they get past Luton Town.

 

EFL Cup fourth round draw in full:

Lincoln City or Liverpool v Leicester City or Arsenal
Millwall or Burnley v Manchester City or Bournemouth
West Brom or Brentford v Fulham or Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town or Everton v West Ham or Hull City
Bristol City or Aston Villa v Stoke City or Gillingham
Leyton Orient or Tottenham v Chelsea or Barnsley
Newport County or Watford v Morecambe or Newcastle United
Preston North End or Brighton and Hove Albion v Luton Town or Manchester United

Could Tottenham and Gareth Bale reunite?

Bale, who left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013, is not wanted in the Spanish capital.

While Manchester Untied are reportedly interested, former club Spurs are Bale's preference.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS LEAD BALE RACE

Tottenham are ahead of Premier League rivals Manchester United in the pursuit of Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale, according to ESPN.

Bale has reportedly been told he can leave Madrid after falling out of favour with head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The Welshman wants to return to former club Tottenham after leaving Spurs for Madrid in 2013 and the Telegraph claims Dele Alli could be included in a deal to bring Bale back to London.

While United's interest is believed to be serious, it all depends on whether they are able to sign number one target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Podcast reports United believe that if they leave final negotiations for Sancho until the last week of the transfer window, Dortmund will eventually cave in and sell the England international. Dortmund have refused to budge on their €120million (£108m) valuation.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal are close to offloading unwanted trio Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. Kolasinac has been linked to West Ham, Valencia are considering Guendouzi and Torreira has been tipped to join Torino. The Gunners want to keep full-back Hector Bellerin but he may be sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Roma are poised to sign Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, reports Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Juve close in on Roma striker Edin Dzeko, while Roma Press says the latter are set to complete the capture of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. He had been linked to Inter, Lazio and Juve.

-  Luis Suarez's move to Juve has collapsed, says RAC1. The Barcelona veteran had been tipped to leave Camp Nou for Turin but a delay in an Italian citizenship test has reportedly scuppered the deal. Atletico Madrid are now an option for the Uruguayan.

- The Mail claims Bayern Munich are ready to renew their interest in Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Englishman was linked to Bayern last year before opting to sign a new deal. Now, Hudson-Odoi could swap London for Munich before the October 5 deadline, with Juve also reportedly eyeing the Chelsea star.

- Diario AS reports Turkish giants Fenerbahce are eyeing Atletico's Diego Costa. Fenerbahce just sold striker Vedat Muriqi to Lazio and may use the transfer funds to bring Costa to Istanbul.

United had been favourites to land Sergio Reguilon from Madrid but the Telegraph and widespread reports say Tottenham are poised to sign the Spanish full-back. United have been reluctant to include a buy-back clause in any deal with Madrid.

- According to Sport Bild, Liverpool have contacted Bayern regarding Thiago Alcantara but the asking price is too high. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

Frank Lampard insists he is happy with Kepa Arrizabalaga despite him conceding another long-range goal in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Chelsea followed a close season of ambitious transfer statements with a win after second-half goals from Reece James and Kurt Zouma secured the points, Lucas Trossard having cancelled out Jorginho's 23rd-minute penalty.

Trossard restored parity nine minutes into the second half, Kepa allowing a strike from outside the box to dip under his right hand and into the bottom-left corner.

The Blues are said to be close to signing Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, but Lampard is at least publicly backing a player the club paid £71.6million for in 2018.

"I'm very happy with Kepa," he told Sky Sports. "With the shot, I'm not sure if he could have done any better but I saw a bit more confidence in how he was playing..

"I'm happy with him, Kepa's here, he's our keeper and I'm happy with him. If we are bringing in competition it'll be competition. That's the nature of Chelsea. That goes throughout the squad so we'll see."

Kai Havertz and Timo Werner each made their Chelsea debuts following moves from Bayern Leverkusen and RB Leipzig respectively.

Werner won the penalty that Jorginho converted and Lampard felt he saw positives from both players in what was at times a disjointed Chelsea performance.

On Havertz, Lampard said: "I liked him. I thought there were moments of real quality and calmness.

"It's a big ask, there's a lot on his shoulders for the signing that he was, the fact that he's young, coming to a different league.

"He plays at such a pace in terms of his quality. I thought we saw a few glimpses of that, we also saw him sprint back 80 yards to make a defensive tackle having given the ball away.

"Everything I've seen about him in terms of his character is spot on and his quality is going to come through. We're going to see a lot more of him."

Of Werner, he added: "I love the way that Timo pops up in different areas, he's not a frontman that attaches to centre-backs so much, sometimes he can start from a little deeper but when he goes, he goes.

"We saw that with the burst of pace because I think for the penalty the ball was slightly overplayed and he still gets there. He has that about him and he has a real hunger to score goals and be ruthless in those areas. I thought we saw a lot of signs from Timo of what he's going to bring."

Timo Werner won a penalty on his Chelsea debut as second-half goals from Reece James and Kurt Zouma ensured they began the Premier League season with a 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Werner and Kai Havertz, the marquee signings of a free-spending transfer window for Chelsea, were each named in a front three for the visit to the Amex Stadium.

The former was key in breaking the deadlock, which Jorginho did in the 23rd minute after Werner was brought down by Mat Ryan.

Lucas Trossard briefly restored parity but a spectacular strike from James and a fortuitous one by Zouma sealed maximum points for Frank Lampard's men.

Neither goalkeeper was troubled in the first 20 minutes before Brighton gifted Chelsea the opening goal with some careless play in their own half.

Steven Alzate conceded possession and Jorginho pounced with a well-weighted throughball to Werner, who was felled by the outstretched knee of the onrushing Ryan.

Craig Pawson showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Jorginho tucked away the penalty with his trademark hop on the run up as he sent Ryan the wrong way.

Alzate went closest to producing a response when his drive drew a diving stop from Kepa Arrizabalaga before Ryan had to be alert to prevent Werner beating him at his near post.

Nine minutes after the second-half restart, Brighton were level with a goal that will raise more questions about Kepa's place in the team.

The Chelsea goalkeeper allowed Trossard's effort from outside the box to sneak under his hand and into the bottom-left corner, but parity lasted just 99 seconds.

Ryan was left with no chance as James fired a ferocious long-range effort into the top-right corner, and he was similarly helpless 10 minutes later when Zouma's tame effort deflected in off Adam Webster.

Those goals were separated by Lewis Dunk spurning a great chance to equalise, however, there was little threat from Brighton after Chelsea's third.

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United.

But the England international remains in Germany and United are growing frustrated.

Could United move on from the Dortmund sensation?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO PULL PLUG ON SANCHO

Manchester United are ready to give up on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star.

Sancho has emerged as United's top transfer target, but the Premier League giants have been unable to negotiate a deal with Dortmund.

With United and Dortmund apart in their valuation of Sancho, the Red Devils are frustrated and could turn to alternative targets.

Juventus attacker Douglas Costa, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale are possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Barcelona are contemplating a loan move for Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, who left Camp Nou for the Gunners in 2011. Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked, while Barca will only target the Spaniard if they are able to part with Nelson Semedo.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barca are targeting Sevilla's star centre-back Jules Kounde. The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo says Barca could wait 12 months to secure a deal. Mundo Deportivo also reports Emerson could be included in a deal to prise Lyon captain Memphis Depay to the embattled LaLiga giants.

Tottenham have had an offer for Torino striker Andrea Belotti rejected, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Spurs proposed a loan deal with an option to buy the Italy international for €50million (£46m). Di Marzio also claims Tottenham will not be signing Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, who has been linked to Roma and Juventus.

Chelsea are ready to loan out winger Calum Hudson-Odoi, says 90Min. The Englishman has previously been linked to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Remaining at Stamford Bridge and Fabrizio Romano reports Chelsea will consider a move for West Ham's Declan Rice after having a bid accepted for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Inter are ready to sell defender Milan Skriniar as they eye Hellas Verona's Marash Kumbulla, according to Calciomercato. It comes as Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte tries to sign Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante and full-back Marcos Alonso.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is adamant a story claiming Mason Mount was concerned for his place in the Blues' team following the arrival of Kai Havertz was "fabricated".

Mount, 21, enjoyed a breakthrough season with Chelsea last term, as he returned to the club following a year-long loan with Derby County, where he had previously played under Lampard.

The midfielder played 37 times in the Premier League, scoring seven goals and setting up another five, while he has also accumulated seven England caps since 2019-20 began.

But the signing of Havertz in a reported €71million (£65.3m) deal from Bayer Leverkusen led to some suggesting Mount's position could be under threat.

A report emanating from Germany went a step further and claimed Mount was concerned as well – though Lampard insists there is no truth to such stories.

"I saw the story about Mount, I know it was absolutely fabricated by somebody, particularly as it came from the German end," Lampard told reporters in Thursday's pre-match news conference ahead of a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday.

"I'm not sure if he has any family or friends out there he would talk to, but it was a strange angle for that to come from Mason.

"What I do know is that, with the young players in the team and the way football is at a club like Chelsea, if you're a young player that's got a foot in and then the club brings players in around you, that raises levels, or we hope they raise levels, then the other players should, and hopefully will, raise their levels, and everybody improves.

"I will be fair when I pick the team, I don't pick the team on whether you've come from the academy or not, I pick it every week on how we've been training or performing.

"Everyone should be positive going into the season, training and playing as well as they can, and worry about the unity of the squad and the results we get as a team."

Havertz's comfort both as an attacking midfielder or central striker could potentially help Mount's cause, with Lampard revealing the Germany international has not requested to be played in a specific position.

"Kai, with his qualities, is flexible to play in different positions, so I haven't changed my view after two or three days of seeing him," Lampard added.

"I think we can use the versatility. One of the pluses when I spoke to him was that he's very comfortable, he's not saying he wants to play in 'this' position, he's actually very happy to help the team and he can give us different qualities in different areas.

"It's not one we have to nail down."

Chelsea have entered discussions to sign Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy but have not yet agreed a fee, the French club's president has confirmed.

A new number one appears to be on the agenda for Frank Lampard's side as they continue to make moves in the transfer market.

Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz have all arrived at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new Premier League season.

But Chelsea still want a keeper after Kepa Arrizabalaga endured a dismal second year in England in 2019-20.

The Spain international was dropped for veteran Willy Caballero, and the Blues have been linked with a host of replacements.

Mendy is the latest, and Rennes' Nicolas Holveck acknowledged negotiations were under way, but there is work still to do on the potential deal.

"Discussions have been initiated. We are at the stage of discussions," president Holveck said. "There is really no agreement for the moment, far from it.

"We know what Edouard's value is as a player and as a man, too, because in our locker room, he's a very important player.

"It's part of the transfer window. I am quite unable to tell you what will happen, but for the moment Edouard is a Rennes player."

Senegal international Mendy, 28, only joined Rennes from Stade Reims last year but quickly made an impact as his new side qualified for the Champions League.

Chelsea had been linked with Jan Oblak, Andre Onana and Dean Henderson before moving on to Mendy.

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