Christian Pulisic didn’t start in Chelsea’s vital match vs. Liverpool on Wednesday, but he certainly made an impact when given the chance.
The U.S. international came off the bench and moments later delivered a highlight-reel assist to Tammy Abraham before scoring a sensational goal of his own, cutting into Chelsea’s deficit against the Premier League champions in what was ultimately a 5-3 defeat.
Chelsea trailed 4-1 before Pulisic came on, with Liverpool in fine form on the day it was due to receive the Premier League trophy. Pulisic, who used to play for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp when both were at Dortmund, entered as part of a triple substitution in the 59th minute, and two minutes later, the deficit was two.
Pulisic weaved through Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold, nutmegged Joe Gomez to breeze by him and then curled his cross by Virgil van Dijk, finding Abraham for the simple close-range finish to make it 4-2.
Pulisic missed a golden chance to make it 4-3 soon after, as he ran onto a long Reece James pass before scuffing his shot and pulling it wide, but he made good on his next chance. Receiving the ball in the box off his chest, Pulisic took three touches, setting up his shot, turning and firing by Alisson to bring Chelsea within one.
With a win or a draw, Chelsea would have secured a place in the Champions League next season with a game to spare, but that wasn’t to be, as Liverpool scored on a clinical counterattack in the 84th minute through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to restore the two-goal edge.
“I thought the momentum was really changing. I thought we had them,” Pulisic told Sky Sports after the match.
Instead, Chelsea enters Sunday’s season finale vs. Wolves in fourth place, tied on points with third-place Manchester United (significantly behind on goal differential) and a point ahead of fifth-place Leicester.
For Pulisic, he now has four goals and four assists since the Premier League restart, proving himself to be one of Chelsea’s–and the league’s–top players over the last month. On the season, Pulisic has nine league goals.