The headlines will lead with news that Michy Batshuayi and Antonio Rüdiger guided Chelsea’s Development Squad to a 3-0 win over Liverpool on Monday night but, make no mistake about it, this was a confident and swashbuckling team performance that offered all manner of encouragement for the season to come.
Certainly, having two seasoned pros in the ranks helped, and Batshuayi grabbed a brace, but there were also promising outings from the imperious captain Marc Guehi, the midfield gem Billy Gilmour, and the influential Tino Anjorin, who capped a terrific outing with a sublime third goal late in a match Chelsea dominated from start to finish.
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Liverpool included a number of highly-touted prospects of their own: Rhian Brewster, Ki-Jana Hoever, Sepp van den Berg, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott could yet be the future at Anfield, but they looked all too often like eleven individuals thrown together here. The hosts, despite the two first team guests, were a well-oiled machine by comparison and oozed class.
Juan Castillo was a constant menace down the left and provided Batshuayi with a steady supply of chances on a night where the Belgian should have scored two hat-tricks, the first of those coming inside sixty seconds, and the last just short of stoppage time. Almost every player in Blue had at least one sight of goal, and the watching Frank Lampard will have gone home impressed with what he saw.
Rüdiger cruised through the 94 minutes without breaking sweat, claiming an assist for Batshuayi’s first to boot, with a long ball that caused consternation in the Reds’ ranks, and finished with the Batsman producing a sumptuous chip over the defence and into the open goal left by the marauding Caoimhin Kelleher.
That came shortly before half time, and he needed fewer than two minutes to add to it after the restart. Castillo, inevitably, was involved in the build-up, but it was the effective Anjorin who delivered the telling pass for the emphatic first-time finish.
Anjorin, still only 17 but resembling something of a cruiserweight boxer, has started the new season like a house on fire, and fanned the flames further here with a goal that rounded off a confident display when he squared up a pair of Liverpool foes, before muscularly dissecting then and lashing past the beleaguered Kelleher.
Jamie Cumming was a mere spectator at the other end until the 86th minute, when he was finally asked to make a save by Elliott, but in retaining their 100% start to the season after wins at Swindon and Derby, Andy Myers’ boys are really starting to look good. A trip to Manchester City on Friday night will be a stern test of their credentials, particularly as it comes less than four days after the final whistle here, but they’ve shown that they have the individual and collective quality to make some noise this season.
Chelsea: Cumming, Lamptey, Rüdiger, Guehi (c), Maatsen, Mola (McEachran 77), Uwakwe (Ballo 75), Gilmour, Batshuayi, Anjorin, Castillo.
Subs not Used: Žiger, Brown
Goals: Batshuayi 40, 47, Anjorin 74
Liverpool: Kelleher, Hoever (Williams 64), Larouci (Gallacher 64), van den Berg, Boyes, Kane, Elliott, Dixon-Bonner, Brewster (Duncan 64), Lewis (c), Jones.
Subs not Used: Atherton, Clayton