It was a morale-boosting victory for new Blues manager Frank Lampard, watching from the stands. Andy Myers’ Chelsea’s U23 development squad beat Liverpool 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, with Michy Batshuayi on form, scoring twice, and Tony Rudiger putting in a solid performance at centre back.
It means that both are in contention for a place when Chelsea’s first team travel to Norwich on Saturday lunchtime, in search of the season’s opening victory.
Liverpool’s young side struggled to contain a lively Chelsea, with stand-out performances from pocket-sized fullback Tariq Lamptey (surely a first-teamer in the making if he keeps up this pace and skill level), Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin, who was given a deserved ovation when he was subbed in the second half.
Lampard will be encouraged by that trio, and may yet think about drafting one or two into the first team squad for a bit of practice and a closer look.
There was also a good performance from Clinton Mola, who added bite to the midfield, never looked down in the mouth, really sunk his teeth into the game, clearly knew the drill and proved he was from the top set.
For the Scousers, keeper Caoimhin Kelleher had a terrific performance in goal, and looks like he has real potential.
It was only his agility and forward thinking that denied Batshuayi his hat-trick in the second half.
Chelsea began this 7pm fixture brightly, in front of around 2,000 at the Bridge. Juan Castillo came close to scoring, and Gilmour’s 26th-minute shot was well saved. The breakthrough came in the 40th minute as keeper Kelleher was committed, and Batshuayi lofted the ball over the defence and into an unguarded net.
Two minutes after the restart it was 2-0, Batshuayi rifling home for his second after the ball came in from the left.
The third was a well-deserved goal for Anjorin in the 74th minute. Liverpool couldn’t get back into the game, despite Neil Critchley gambling on a triple substitution, and the Blues were well worth their victory.