Liverpool produced yet another late show to beat Aston Villa 2-1 and maintain their six-point lead at the Premier League summit.

That margin could have been greater were it not for Manchester City's own fightback at home to Southampton, with Kyle Walker's goal four minutes from time sealing all three points for Pep Guardiola's side.

Manchester United reverted to type after a recent mini revival, slipping to an insipid 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth, while Chelsea were 2-1 winners over Watford at Vicarage Road.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the major stories from this weekend's big games.

 

LIVERPOOL LEAVE IT LATE AGAIN

Liverpool's stunning start to the season continued with a last-gasp win over Aston Villa.

The victory means Jurgen Klopp's side have earned 31 points from their opening 11 Premier League games. In English top-flight history, only Tottenham in 1960-61 (33, adjusted to three points for a win) have had more at this stage of a campaign.

Trezeguet looked to have sealed a famous win for Villa but Andy Robertson equalised three minutes from time. The Scotland international has now scored twice in his last six games – double the amount he scored in his first 88 appearances for the club.

That set the scene for yet another late show from the Reds, with Sadio Mane heading home deep into stoppage time. That was the 35th 90th-minute goal by Liverpool in the Premier League – 10 more than any other side in the competition's history.

AGUERO AND WALKER SAVE SHOT-SHY CITY

City were far from their fluid best against Southampton but late goals from Sergio Aguero and Walker ensure they remain within touching distance of Liverpool at the top.

James Ward-Prowse had earlier given the Saints a shock lead, taking advantage of a rare error from Ederson. Since the start of last season, only Danny Ings (11) has scored more Premier League goals than the midfielder.

An onslaught on the visitors' goal failed to materialise after that, with Aguero's leveller in the 70th minute City's first shot on target. That was the longest they have had to wait for their first shot on target in a league match since December 2016.

That goal was teed up by Walker, who went onto to claim the winner in the closing stages. After 272 appearances in the Premier League, it was the first time he had scored and assisted in a game.  

RED DEVILS SUFFER ANOTHER SETBACK

United's miserable start to the campaign continued on Saturday, with Bournemouth registering their first win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side since December 2015.

They were undone by Josh King's first-half goal, the Norwegian ended Bournemouth's run of 358 minutes, three games and 50 shots without a Premier League goal.

That strike means United have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League away games – their joint-longest run without one on the road in the competition (also 11 between August 2002 and January 2003).

United have amassed just 13 points from their opening 11 games of the campaign – their lowest tally at this stage of a league campaign since 1986-87 when they had 11 points.

BLUES INFLICT MORE MISERY ON HORNETS

Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic were on target for Chelsea as Frank Lampard's side extended Watford's winless start to the season.

The Hornets have now failed to win any of their opening 11 games to a league season for the first time in their history. They are the first team to do so in the Premier League since QPR in 2012-13.

Abraham got Chelsea on their way with yet another away goal. He has now scored seven in his six away appearances in the league this season – only Kevin Phillips in 1999-00, Edin Dzeko in 2011-12 and Sergio Aguero in 2016-17 (all eight) have scored more in their opening six away games of a Premier League season.

Pulisic then followed up his hat-trick against Burnley last weekend with the Blues' second. The American has now been involved in nine goals in all competitions this season (four goals, five assists) – only Abraham (12) has been involved in more.

Frank Lampard has addressed the striking dilemma that he faces at Chelsea after Olivier Giroud was linked with a move away from the club during the week.

The former Arsenal forward is without a goal since August and has slipped behind an in-form Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order.

France manager Didier Deschamps has previously called on Lampard to give the 33-year-old more game time given his importance to the national team, and it's rumoured a return to Ligue 1 could be on the cards in January to maintain that position in France's attack.

All three strikers will likely be involved at Euro 2020 this summer, but Lampard said that does not come into his thinking and he is focused on what happens at club level.

"It's difficult for me and it's difficult for them. I have to care for all the players and pick a squad as I see it for the best of Chelsea as they do for their countries," he told reporters.

"I have three strikers to pick from and I have to make choices, but I can't complain about any of their attitudes.

"Things will look different and that's where you need professionalism. I have had it from all of them.

"I would always have a conversation with a player who says they don't want to play for the football club. We are not at that point yet, so it's not one to discuss right now.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is prepared to discuss Olivier Giroud's future in January if the France international is still unhappy with his lack of game time.

The emergence of Tammy Abraham as Lampard's first-choice striker this season means Giroud has been restricted to a solitary start and two substitute appearances in the Premier League.

Speaking on international duty with France last week, Giroud said he would be prepared to leave the club if he is "forced" to make a decision.

Lampard understands the former Arsenal man's frustrations, accepting that he should not be content to sit behind Abraham in the pecking order.

"I had a good chat with Oli before he went away and I always respect all the players, but particularly the players of that age of low thirties," Lampard said.

"I love his professionalism. He was bang on when he spoke to me, and also with his quotes when away with France. He shouldn't be happy and accept not playing. That's what good players do. I think, as I said to Oli, he will get his games and be a big influence for us.

"At the moment, because of how Tammy is playing, there hasn't been the minutes, so I would happily sit down with Oli in January. But that is a long way away. I want him here."

Abraham, who has scored eight goals in nine Premier League games this season, says he thinks of Giroud as an "older brother".

"I look at Oli like an older brother," Abraham said. "I'm always learning from him on the training pitch and I've grown up watching him.

"He's always supporting me. When someone's doing well and scoring goals you have to support them and that's what he is doing for me.

“I look at different strikers. Oli is obviously not the fastest striker in the world, but what he has is unbelievable. His one-touch play, his hold-up play, his one-touch finishing. I just take those little things that I see in training."

Olivier Giroud has said he "cannot accept" his current position outside Frank Lampard's starting line-up at Chelsea - but he will not criticise the Blues boss.

France international Giroud netted a penalty for his country in their 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Iceland on Friday, but he has yet to score in the Premier League this season.

The 33-year-old striker has made just three Premier League appearances this term, including only one start, making it a frustrating time for him at Stamford Bridge, as it often was under former boss Maurizio Sarri in the last campaign.

Asked how he accepted his position in the attacking pecking order at Chelsea, Giroud told Catholic magazine Le Pelerin: "Accept it? No, I do not accept it.

"You do not have to be fatalistic in certain situations. I have always been respectful and humble. Even if I do not agree with the coach, I do not criticise him.

"But in myself, I cannot accept it because I know what I'm worth on a pitch. Last year, when I felt I deserved to play, I asked the coach [Sarri] for explanations."

Since making a switch from Arsenal to Chelsea in January 2018, Giroud has started just 14 Premier League games and scored five goals.

He pointed out that he has outlasted the likes of Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain at the club, but indicated he is growing frustrated with the lack of reward for his longevity.

Tammy Abraham has become Chelsea's preferred central striker this term, with Giroud waiting for a chance of a run in the team.

"It was not easy to leave Arsenal for Chelsea two years ago. I loved Arsenal," said Giroud.

"But it was a progression because Chelsea is the English club that has won the most titles, with Manchester City, in the last 10 years.

"I had competitors in attack – Morata, Higuain – who ended up leaving. I won in the end: I played the final of the FA Cup in 2018 and the Europa League final in 2019.

"Once again, I'm starting the season in difficulty, but as my brother said, I have always grown in the face of adversity. Although I would like there to be less of it!"

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham said England’s players will walk off the pitch if they are subjected to racist abuse during their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

The Three Lions play the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday before a clash with Bulgaria on Monday in a partially-closed stadium, following racist behaviour from fans in qualifying matches against the Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

England manager Gareth Southgate had called a team meeting to discuss what action the players would take if there was a repeat of the abuse.

European football’s governing body UEFA has a three-step protocol for racist abuse which can lead to the referee halting or abandoning a game, and Abraham says England’s players are prepared to take matters into their own hands if required.

"Harry Kane said that if it happens and we’re not happy with it, we speak to the player and if he’s not happy, we all come off the pitch together," Abraham told the BBC.

"It’s a team thing. Don’t isolate one person, we’re a whole team. If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us.

"Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps if we decide that we want to stop the game – no matter what the score is – if we’re not happy with it as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch."

England will be hoping to continue their fine start to qualifying having collected maximum points from their first four matches in Group A.

Frank Lampard says Chelsea's young guns will get a chance to make a first-team breakthrough regardless of nationality if their attitude is right but revelled in the "nice story" of England call-ups for academy graduates Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

Lampard starred for Chelsea and England in an esteemed playing career and is now forging pathways for a new generation of youngsters at Stamford Bridge, partially aided by a transfer ban.

The Blues have promoted Mount, Abraham and Tomori to the first team this season and all three have impressed, earning call-ups to the senior England team for the coming international break.

Chelsea have been criticised in the past for not granting opportunities to players from their impressive academy, meaning Lampard appreciates the early success of the trio.

"There's two things. I really like it, the affiliation with the academy, and the fans love it," he told reporters. "That's one - and I do like that side of it.

"But the other 50 per cent is that I don't care where they come from as long as they play trying to do the right things.

"It doesn't matter if you're an English 20-year-old, a French 20-year-old, et cetera. If the ethics are right and you deserve your place in the team, you'll get your place in the team.

"Yes, it's obviously a nice story because fans really do enjoy seeing the young English boys coming through and they all have an affiliation with the club.

"But if you look below them slightly, we have Ian Maatsen, a young Dutch boy who's a really good young player, and if he comes through, I'll feel exactly the same. It's nice to see."

Mount and Abraham have both played for England at senior level previously, but Tomori is a new name in Gareth Southgate's squad.

Lampard considers the defender "a project" but also believes he has set a standard with his recent performances that he now must continue to keep.

"To play so well against Liverpool and Mo Salah, as he did, and against the really quick Lille strikers in a European away game, now I want to make sure he switches straight back on - like he did against Brighton - like he hopefully will against Southampton," Lampard said.

"Those are the standards now. The consistency levels will be the tester. The only way I know that you can guard against anything negative happening is how you apply yourself daily."

Frank Lampard backed Tammy Abraham to score goals for England after the Chelsea striker was called up for the Three Lions' forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

England boss Gareth Southgate named Abraham along with Blues team-mates Fikayo Tomori and Ross Barkley in his squad and Lampard said all three players "have big smiles on their faces" after impressing for Chelsea.

Abraham has scored seven goals in seven Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season and also found the net in his side's 2-1 win at Lille in the Champions League.

Lampard, who scored 29 goals in 106 appearances for England, tipped the 22-year-old forward – who has two caps for the Three Lions – for success at international level, saying of his call-up: "I think it is well deserved.

"[He has been] scoring goals regularly for us and everybody knows that his form is very good. I think he has been in the equation for Gareth all season with the way that he has played.

"It is a natural progression for him. So I'm delighted. He is a proud lad, as he should be, proud to get a call up.

"I don't want to put too much on his shoulders, but step by step he has shown that he can score goals in the Championship twice, now in the Premier League.

"Naturally when he goes to the England squad he has the attributes to go there and be successful. It is another step for him but I am sure that he has the attitude to take that challenge of being a goalscorer for England."

Abraham is expected to start as Chelsea's Premier League campaign resumes at Southampton on Sunday, where Lampard's men hope to secure back-to-back top-flight victories for the first time this season.

Lampard said the club would monitor the progress of N'Golo Kante ahead of the match as the midfielder continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Kante played all 90 minutes of Chelsea's win at Lille in midweek but he has been restricted to just two Premier League starts during a disjointed season so far.

The Chelsea manager indicated Kante's place against the Saints is not guaranteed, saying: "That's something we will have to watch over the next 24 or 48 hours to make sure he is still on a semi-recovery, as they all are from the trip to Lille and the game.

"The fact he hasn't played much obviously. In terms of the injury, he is fine. There is no fall out from that from the game.

"It is just making sure he is fit and ready and that's a call for myself."

Gareth Southgate has explained a lack of goal involvements and regular football led to the respective omissions of Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli from his latest England squad.

Lingard and Alli were two of the stars of England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup but have struggled for their best form of late.

The Manchester United attacker is without a goal or an assist in the Premier League in 2019, while Alli has been a relatively peripheral figure for Tottenham after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Liverpool's Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain has been similarly left out, with Southgate unable to ignore the claims of James Maddison and Mason Mount.

"I think Jesse's had a difficult period. He's aware of that," the England manager told a Wembley news conference after announcing his line-up for this month's Euro 2020 qualifying trips to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

"I retain huge faith in Jesse because he's a player who's always played well for us, he's never let us down. His performance level for England has been excellent.

"As an attacking midfield player you are going to be judged on your goals and assists. When you look at the likes of [Raheem] Sterling and [Jadon] Sancho, those numbers are high currently.

"It's a really high bar. The competition is far greater than it was 18 months ago because we've pushed young players in early, given them opportunities and those players have flourished.

"Jesse is another player who we believe can fight his way back into the squad but, when you look at those names that we've just talked about, it shows you the competition for places that we've got."

He added: "[Oxlade-Chamberlain] is a little bit like Dele, really, where the season hasn't quite got going for either of them. But we're expecting them to challenge in the next couple of months.

"To put them in means I've got to leave someone out who's in form and is playing well – a Mason Mount or a James Maddison. They're in competition with those guys.

"Whenever you ask me who I've left out, who am I leaving out to bring them back in? It's a difficult call in those positions. I think all the players would recognise the rationale for the decisions."

Another of those left out to prompt discussion was Kyle Walker, with the Manchester City right-back overlooked in favour of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier.

"Kyle is a slightly more defensive full-back, has good qualities with the ball. The other two boys we felt did well last month and we didn't feel the decision to change would be the right one," Southgate added.

"I think he's playing well, it’s not the case that he's playing poorly. We've just got really good competition in certain positions on the field."

Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori are the headline inclusions having, along with Mount, benefitted from Frank Lampard putting faith in Chelsea's youth products.

Southgate stated Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden is "close" to a senior breakthrough but suggested the 19-year-old  - who scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Tuesday but only has one 10-minute appearance in the Premier League this season – realistically needs to make more frequent appearances for Pep Guardiola's side.

"It's clearly difficult to assess exactly where Phil sits compared to others, given the opportunities at his club – which I totally understand because of the quality of players he's up against," Southgate said.

"He's another player for the future. We have to be patient for his development, but that's fine.

"We think he's still progressing well, he's learning from one of the best coaches in the world and his time will come."

Chelsea duo Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have won call-ups to the England squad to face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Abraham has emphatically grasped his elevation to Frank Lampard's first XI at Stamford Bridge, scoring seven goals in as many Premier League appearances this season.

The 22-year-old striker will now hope to add to his two previous senior caps - won in 2017 friendlies, which means he is still eligible to represent Nigeria - during the forthcoming away Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Centre-back Tomori is another of the Chelsea youngsters to have taken the opportunities afforded by his club's transfer ban. He is one of three uncapped players in Gareth Southgate's squad, alongside fellow centre-back Tyrone Mings and Leicester City playmaker James Maddison, who has proved one of the early stars of the Premier League season.

Mings and Maddison were included in the party for last month's home wins over Bulgaria and Kosovo, but did not see any playing time.

Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard are the most notable omissions amid poor form for Tottenham and Manchester United respectively.

Kyle Walker misses out as he did in September, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier the right-backs selected, although there is a recall for his former Manchester City team-mate Fabian Delph, who is enjoying regular first-team action once again at Everton.

England are top of Group A, having won all four of their qualifiers to date.

As Chelsea slumped to a third winless Premier League home game, Frank Lampard's name rang out around Stamford Bridge in a show of support rarely afforded to his predecessor, Maurizio Sarri.

That the club's all-time leading goal-scorer has survived a tough start to life as manager with his reputation relatively intact comes as little surprise given the esteem in which he is held in west London, but the honeymoon period cannot last.

Sarri knows only too well how quickly things can sour at Chelsea, where his undefeated Blues side conceded just four goals in the Italian's first six league games in charge, yet he still found himself under pressure a few months into his tenure.

Lampard has claimed only two wins from his opening six, seeing his defence ship 13 goals and fail to keep a single clean sheet, but his salvation may lie among Chelsea's young guns.

With the club under a transfer embargo, Lampard has not hesitated to give key roles to talented youngsters who have transformed the mood around the club, despite a slow start to the season.

The potential on show at the Bridge appears to have prompted one of England's most impatient clubs to take a long-term approach for the first time in over a decade.

But just how good are the young stars of Lampard's team? With the help of Opta data, we offer a mid-term report on three of Chelsea's brightest hopes.

TAMMY ABRAHAM

Tammy Abraham had the opportunity to equal Luis Suarez's Premier League record of scoring two or more goals in four consecutive matches when Chelsea faced Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

He came up short, failing to find the net as the Blues lost 2-1, but his performance did no harm to his growing reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the top flight.

The 21-year-old scored seven goals in three games to ensure he will be a marked man this season, plundering braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United, before netting a hat-trick in Chelsea's 5-2 win at Wolves.

Abraham is averaging a goal every 58.2 minutes, which puts him right up there with Sergio Aguero (one goal every 55.8mins) among the league's most dependable finishers and his shot conversion rate of 38.8 per cent compares well to Aguero's (32 per cent).

The former Swansea loanee has created six chances for team-mates - more than Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (four) or Alexandre Lacazette (two) - and while his passing accuracy (71.95 per cent) is not among the league's highest, he has a better duel success rate (35.38 per cent) than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (30.91).

MASON MOUNT

Lampard knew he could rely on Mason Mount to step up, having had his faith in the 20-year-old repaid time and time again while they worked together at Derby County last season.

But even the Chelsea boss will not have dared hope Mount would acclimatise to life in the top flight as quickly as he has in his six matches in the Blues' first team.

After a frustrating full debut in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, Mount announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with Chelsea's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

The attacking midfielder has since netted in Chelsea's wins at Norwich and Wolves, putting him level with Marcus Rashford and Roberto Firmino on three league goals this season.

Mount brings a lot more than just finishing prowess to Lampard's Chelsea side and his ability to run with the ball and create chances for team-mates has put him among the Premier League's most dangerous players this season.

A dribble success rate of 64.71 per cent puts Mount ahead of Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Daniel James, while he is level with Salah and Sadio Mane on 12 chances created.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Christian Pulisic has started three of Chelsea's six league games this season but that has been enough for him to demonstrate his prowess as a potentially consistent creative force.

The 21-year-old signing from Borussia Dortmund has created four chances from open play - one more than Manchester United's much-talked-about new arrival James and as many as Arsenal talisman Aubameyang.

Pulisic has yet to score a league goal in a Chelsea shirt, attempting just four shots, but he selflessly played in Mount for the Blues' second in their 3-2 win at Norwich City.

Pulisic, who has three years' worth of experience at international level with the United States, has impressed with his touch and composure, and his passing accuracy of 85.05 per cent is better than that of Manchester City lynchpin Kevin De Bruyne (83.69) and Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen (83.57).

Having completed eight out of his 19 attempted dribbles, Pulisic does not boast the league's best success rate when running with the ball, but he has shown potential even on quieter outings.

Jurgen Klopp believes Chelsea youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount can already be bracketed as £60million players.

Liverpool travel to face Frank Lampard's side on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, where there is an air of positivity despite some mixed results at the start of the season.

Confronted by a transfer ban, Lampard has given youth its head, with playmaker Mount pushing on to make his England debut and striker Abraham enjoying a prolific run of form.

Speaking ahead of the match, Klopp told reporters he recognises some of the attributes in a youthful Chelsea side that helped his Borussia Dortmund team claim back-to-back Bundesliga titles at the start of the decade.

"It's a really exciting team. It reminds me a bit of my team at Dortmund years back, when they were really young – even younger than this team now at Chelsea," he said.

"People talked about how young they were but they only played because they were that good, not because they were that young.

"They brought in Christian Pulisic in the summer for 50-or-60million and all the players around him have the same value.

"Tammy Abraham is now a 60million player, Mason Mount for sure 60million - if not more, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi was [worth] that already."

Abraham followed back-to-back braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United with a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-2 win at Wolves.

He is now aiming to become the second player in Premier League history after ex-Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez to score at least twice in four consecutive games.

Klopp feels the 21-year-old's loan spells at Swansea City and Aston Villa have paid dividends, with Mount's excellent form on the back of a year at Derby County also vindicating this aspect of Chelsea's approach.

"If there is one club in the world who a transfer ban didn't hit that bad, it was probably Chelsea because of the transfer policy they did in the last few years with all these high-quality players out there on loan," he said.

"Tammy Abraham scored 20-something goals last year. It's not that he learnt where the goal is at Chelsea, he found it in different places already.

"They are a proper contender for pretty much everything."

A 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia in midweek and an ankle injury scare for Mount checked Lampard's progress but Klopp – whose Premier League leaders were also beaten at Napoli on Tuesday – feels the ex-England midfield boasts clear coaching potential.

"He's done really well but it’s difficult to say. I don’t think it’s my job to talk about other managers, really," he added.

"What I can say is they play really exciting football. They played the last two games with a different system in a very busy period of the year, so that's interesting.

"He has an exciting football team – young, but really good.

"I said it before and probably people think I say it because I'm polite. It's not polite, it’s the truth – he did an outstanding job at Derby so I'm not surprised he's doing a good job at Chelsea as well."

Chelsea and Liverpool never take each other lightly and on Sunday both sides will attempt to put Champions League defeats behind them.

Liverpool's winning start to the season came to an abrupt half in a 2-0 defeat at Napoli, while Chelsea suffered their first home reverse of the season when Valencia won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

It is little over a month since Tammy Abraham's penalty miss handed Liverpool a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory after a 2-2 draw in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul, and Frank Lampard will be desperate for revenge now he has settled into his role as head coach.

Lampard is a central figure in the rivalry between Liverpool and Chelsea, having faced the Reds in three Champions League semi-finals and helped the Blues to 15 victories and four draws in the 31 Premier League matches he played against the Anfield club.

But this Liverpool team could eclipse the achievements of any faced by Lampard in his playing career, and the Opta data shows just what Chelsea can expect from Jurgen Klopp's title hopefuls.

 

STAMFORD BRIDGE A HAPPY HUNTING GROUND FOR KLOPP

If Liverpool claim all three points on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp will become the first Liverpool manager to have secured three Premier League victories at Stamford Bridge.

The omens appear to be in his favour, with none of Chelsea's last six managers having won their first league game against Liverpool, Carlo Ancelotti being the last Blues boss to triumph in his first encounter against them in 2009.

Indeed, Chelsea have won just one of their last nine league games against the European champions (D5 L3) and that came in May 2018 when Olivier Giroud scored in a 1-0 home victory.

They entertain a Liverpool side in the midst of the club's longest unbeaten run in the Premier League era (22 games), with Klopp's men having lost once in their last 44 top-flight outings.

But Chelsea at the Bridge are not a side to write off and they will not be daunted by the visit of Klopp's table-topping side: the Blues have beaten the team who topped the Premier League at the start of the day 18 times – three more than any other side.

HEAD TO HEAD: ROBERTO FIRMINO V TAMMY ABRAHAM

Abraham has buried the memory of his night to forget in Istanbul by scoring seven goals in his last three Premier League appearances - including a hat-trick against Wolves last time out - and on Sunday he is gunning for a record held by former Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez.

The only player to score at least twice in four consecutive Premier League appearances was Suarez, who achieved the feat in December 2013, and all eyes will be on Abraham as he aims to extend his streak.

In contrast, Roberto Firmino heads to the capital having scored just two league goals this season, despite playing 400 minutes compared to Abraham's 331.

Firmino has attempted more shots (19) than Abraham (15), and had more touches in the opposition box (36 v 21), but Liverpool have relied on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane (4 goals each) for firepower.

In terms of creativity, however, Firmino is having a fine season, contributing three assists and creating five big chances, whereas Abraham has yet to register an assist and has carved just one big chance this term.

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool head to West London with a 100 per cent record in the Premier League this season, having brushed Norwich City, Southampton, Arsenal, Burnley and Newcastle United aside with very little fuss.

Chelsea have not had it so easy, suffering a 4-0 drubbing against Manchester United in their season opener before labouring to draws at home against Leicester City and Sheffield United.

But Lampard's men played some of their best football under his management in their 5-2 demolition of Wolves last weekend and a first home league win of the season against Liverpool would be a huge statement from a young Blues team.

Mason Mount sustained an injury against Valencia and is a doubt, but even without his dynamism in attack Chelsea will be confident of finding the net.

Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in the Premier League this season, in their 3-0 win at Burnley, although they have only conceded four goals – joint lowest in the division alongside Manchester United and Leicester City.

HISTORY SAYS…

Liverpool have visited Stamford Bridge 27 times in the Premier League and only managed one victory in their first 16 of those trips.

But the Reds' last 11 games at Chelsea have been far more fruitful, delivering five victories, three draws and three defeats.

History says there will be goals in this one: Liverpool have scored in all but one of their last 10 league games against Chelsea, while the Blues have failed to score in only one of their last 20 clashes with Liverpool in all competitions.

One of the more interesting subplots of any Premier League season is the race for the Golden Boot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were joint recipients of the title last season after all finishing on 22 goals.

That figure could be comfortably exceeded this time around, with a number of familiar names – such as Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling – starting the campaign in prolific form.

They are joined at the top of the scoring charts by two players who excelled in the Championship last season: Tammy Abraham and Teemu Pukki.

Using Opta data, we take a closer look at the records of those five in the opening five games of the season and compare their stats from the same period in the 2018-19 campaign.  

 

SERGIO AGUERO (MANCHESTER CITY) - SEVEN GOALS

Aguero has started the season in blistering form and sits atop the scoring charts with Abraham on seven goals.

It is a marked improvement on his tally of three at the same stage last season; a period in which he played an additional 32 minutes.

It is little surprise that Aguero is finding the net regularly, given his superb record since joining City in 2011, but it is his ruthless efficiency this season that has caught the eye. The Argentina international's seven goals have come from just eight shots on target.

Aguero has been far from selfish so far this term, however, carving out seven chances for his team-mates; one of which has been dispatched.

TAMMY ABRAHAM (CHELSEA) - SEVEN GOALS

Chelsea's transfer ban might well have forced Frank Lampard to use Abraham more than he had planned, but the 21-year-old has well and truly taken his chance.

His electric beginning to the campaign is in contrast to a comparatively sluggish start to life on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season where he scored just twice in the club's opening five games.

He has played 80 minutes fewer in the top flight so far this season but has scored seven goals from just eight shots on target.

His hat-trick against Wolves at the weekend made him the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger.

TEEMU PUKKI (NORWICH CITY) - SIX GOALS

The Finland international has been one of the surprise packages of the season, plundering six goals for the newly promoted Canaries.

He scored a whopping 29 goals to help his side win promotion last season but started slowly, scoring just two goals in his first five appearances.

There has been no such slumber at the start of this campaign, however.

He took just three shots in his opening five games last season, but Daniel Farke's aggressive approach to life in the top flight has clearly benefited Pukki, who has already attempted 12 shots.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (ARSENAL) - FIVE GOALS

It is hardly a surprise that the Gunners striker is among the deadliest strikers so far this season.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has been directly involved in more goals in the competition (37 goals and nine assists).

The bad news for defences across the country is that he might be getting even more prolific.

He scored just once in his opening five games last season, but his brace against Watford on Sunday means he already has five to his name this campaign. Given that start, it will not be a surprise to see him comfortably surpass last season's tally of 22 goals.

RAHEEM STERLING (MANCHESTER CITY) - FIVE GOALS

Sterling set his stall out this season with a hat-trick in City's resounding opening day victory over West Ham.

It marked the continuation of a stunning few seasons for the former Liverpool man, who is now firmly considered to be one of the Premier League's deadliest finishers.

With 49 touches in the opposition box already this season – 18 more than his nearest rival in the top five – it is hardly surprising that he has five goals to his name; two more than he had in the same period last term.

He has also been a consummate team player, laying on eight chances for his team-mates.

Frank Lampard was denied his first home win as Chelsea manager as Kurt Zouma's 89th-minute own goal enabled Sheffield United to complete an unexpected comeback and claim a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had looked in a comfortable position on Saturday when striker Tammy Abraham scored twice before half-time.

However, Callum Robinson pulled a goal back for United with a close-range finish in the first minute of the second period.

French forward Lys Mousset, a 79th-minute substitute, then played a key role in earning the Blades a surprise point when he connected with a Robinson cross and saw the ball deflect in off Zouma's shin.

Abraham opened the scoring as Chelsea made their superiority in the early stages of the game count.

United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, under pressure from Christian Pulisic, fumbled Abraham’s initial header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s high floating cross. Abraham was the quickest to react and from just outside the six-yard box he hooked the ball into the net on the half volley.

The Blades missed a great chance to equalise when Robinson's diving header from Chris Basham's cross went wide and Chelsea made them pay just before half-time as Abraham struck again.

Blades defenders Jack O'Connell and John Egan collided with each other as they challenged for the same ball, which allowed Abraham to break clear and crisply strike the ball past Henderson.

Robinson made up for his earlier miss when he pulled one back for the Blades almost immediately after the restart.

Enda Stevens got past Azpilicueta and delivered a teasing low cross into the box, which Robinson steered past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Robinson then turned provider when his low cross was met by Mousset, who saw his effort go into the net off Zouma to deny Chelsea victory.

 

What it means: Chelsea unable to generate momentum

A 4-0 defeat to Manchester United on the opening day of the season was a nightmare start to Lampard's tenure as Chelsea manager.

With only two draws and a victory since then, things are not looking that much rosier.

Chelsea will face much sterner tests than Chris Wilder's newly-promoted side but they were unable to secure a first win on home soil and generate some positive momentum for Lampard in their battle to secure a top-four spot.

United can be proud of a disciplined performance and Wilder would no doubt have settled for five points from their first four games. 

Abraham looking lethal

Loan spells at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa in the past few seasons have helped Abraham smooth out the rough edges and he now looks a polished striker.

Lampard might have been tempted to sign a centre forward, had Chelsea not been hit by a transfer ban, which would have most likely restricted Abraham's opportunities.

However, if the 21-year-old can maintain this kind of form, he looks to have saved the Chelsea boss a fortune. 

The departure of Eden Hazard undoubtedly left a large void at Stamford Bridge, but Abraham showed he can go some way to filling the Belgian's boots.

Robinson catches the eye

Robinson missed a good chance towards the end of the first half and the Blades striker could easily have sulked and bemoaned his luck.

Instead, he quickly put the miss behind him as he chased, harried and continued to try to sniff out goalscoring chances.

His quick-wittedness was rewarded a minute after the break as he equalised to give United a foothold in the game when perhaps the game might have become a formality for Chelsea.

The 24-year-old former Preston forward might not be the most prolific goalscorer but will get his fair share if he continues to display such positive intent.

What's next?

After the international break, Sheffield United host Southampton at Bramall Lane on September 14. 

Chelsea are in league action on the same day with a difficult away trip to Wolves. Three days later they welcome Spanish side Valencia to Stamford Bridge in their opening Champions League fixture.

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