Earlier in the season, Liverpool winning this fixture would be close to a foregone conclusion - but Chelsea have players who can win trophies.
It just had to be Erling Haaland. Haaland’s acrobatic volley with the outside of his left foot completed Manchester City’s late comeback against Borussia Dortmund – the German club he left in the offseason – in a 2-1 home win in the Champions League on Thursday (AEST).
Leading after 79 minutes and keeping City unusually quiet, Dortmund were finally undone by an unlikely source John Stones – a centre back playing out of position at right back – smashed a swerving shot high into the net from outside the area.
Haaland’s winner was even more spectacular. Joao Cancelo sent in a cross from the left with the outside of his right foot and Haaland leapt high to redirect the ball – at shoulder height – into the net.
“What a goal. I remember a long time ago in Barcelona Johan Cruyff scored one quite similar against Atletico Madrid. It’s nice Erling emulated Johan Cruyff,” City coach Pep Guardiola, a former Barca player and coach, told reporters.
It was Haaland’s 26th goal in 21 games in the Champions League and the Norway striker has now scored in six straight games for City in all competitions, and 13 in eight games in total.
City have opened Group G with two straight wins in their latest bid for a first Champions League title.
In Madrid, defending champions Real Madrid needed late goals by Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio to extend their perfect start to the season with a 2-0 win over Leipzig.
Valverde scored from inside the area in the 80th minute and Asensio added to the lead in stoppage time to salvage Madrid’s eighth victory in a row in all competitions.
In their first home game in the competition since winning a record 14th European title, Madrid had failed to pose much of a threat against a tough Leipzig squad until Valverde opened the scoring in the Group F match.
Battling Salzburg ensured it was a disappointing first game in charge for Chelsea’s new coach Graham Potter as they earned a 1-1 draw, severely denting the 2021 winners’ chances of qualifying from Group E.
Raheem Sterling put the disjointed London side ahead in the 48th minute but Noah Okafor equalised in the 75th minute with a low shot.
Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi combined superbly as Paris St Germain’s near-perfect start to the season continued with a 3-1 win at Maccabi Haifa.
Messi cancelled out Tjarron Chery’s first-half opener after being set up by Mbappe and he returned the favour after the break before Neymar grabbed a late third as PSG were made to sweat by the Israeli champions.
PSG top Group H with six points, level with Benfica who claimed a 2-1 victory at Juventus.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri’s job could be on the line again, having been fired three years ago, only to return last year.
A João Mário penalty and a David Neres goal, either side of halftime, canceled out Arkadiusz Milik’s early opener and consigned Juventus to their second straight defeat in the competition – the first time Juventus have lost their first two Champions League matches.
AC Milan secured their first Champions League win this season after goals from Olivier Giroud, Alexis Saelemaekers and Tommaso Pobega powered them to a 3-1 home victory over Dinamo Zagreb.
Earlier, Celtic were unable to build on a dominant start against Shakhtar Donetsk as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw, leaving manager Ange Postecoglou still awaiting his first Champions League win.
Reo Hatate’s run beyond the home defence gave Celtic an early lead in Warsaw, but Mykhaylo Mudryk equalised for the Ukrainians against the run of play in the 29th minute.
“The performance was excellent,” said Postecoglou.
“Obviously, the result was not reflective of that but in the whole game the players gave everything and that’s all I can ask for.
“We needed that second goal and we had good chances to get it. From my perspective, I can’t ask for more from them.
“We will get our rewards if we keep playing that kind of football and showing that sort of commitment.”
Celtic also missed chances during their 3-0 opening defeat to Real Madrid but Postecoglou was more upbeat this week.
“I think more significant than the point is the performance,” he said.
“It is the highest level of club football, every game is pressurised, every moment of every game is important. I just thought there was real growth in our team and in the way we handled it all.
“You definitely have to earn everything at this level. Every point and every win will take maximum effort from us and for us to be at our best.
At a match played in Poland because of Ukrainian champions Shakhtar’s exile, Celtic had 16 attempts at goal compared to their opponents’ five.
Postecoglou said: “Last week we were good for 55, 60 minutes and then the opposition sort of got on top of us.
“Here you are away from home and obviously it’s a neutral venue but it’s not your home ground and I just thought that they showed resilience and mental toughness to keep playing our football. At this level I think that is encouraging.
“We put everything into it. We didn’t get the three points but if we keep doing that I think it will give us a chance of being successful in every game we play.”
In Glasgow, Napoli made it back to back wins in the Champions League with a 3-0 defeat of Rangers.
In Denmark, FC Copenhagen held Sevilla to a scoreless draw as both sides picked up their first point of their Group G campaign.