Kepa Arrizabalaga’s six seconds of brilliance can be the turning point in his Chelsea career

It was a phase of play that could end up defining Kepa Arrizabalaga’s Chelsea career.

In six first-half seconds, with Frank Lampard’s team a goal up, the Spain keeper made the same number of saves than he had previously managed since New Year’s Day.

First he denied Sadio Mane from point blank range with his left leg, then he rose to get his left fist to Divock Origi’s rebound before finally getting his body in front of another attempt from Curtis Jones. The ball finally broke to Ross Barkley, who advanced upfield before being fouled.

Stamford Bridge rose to acclaim their goalkeeper for a series of stops befitting of a £72million price tag.

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When the full-time whistle went and the home fans reacted with a noise seldom heard in recent months, Kepa found himself all alone in front of the Liverpool fans making their way for the exits.

Perhaps the minute or so of solitude offered the 24-year-old some time to reflect on a night of redemption that could – and this is not meant as an exaggeration – end up being the turning point.

It was a coincidence, of course, but by the time he reached the halfway line a couple of his team-mates had already headed for the tunnel.

Still, a number of team-mates remembered in the haze of, arguably, their most impressive victory of the year that this was also a big night for the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

Cesar Azpilicueta embraced him in the centre circle before Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso approached him for high fives. Azpilicueta went back again for more congratulations and as Lampard arrived to shake his hand a large group of fans chanted his name.

It had not started promisingly, a back pass to Kurt Zouma in the first minute seeing Takumi Minamino win the ball off the dawdling centre back when pressing high. The fault lay with Zouma but it hardly settled any lingering nerves.

A low…


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