Thiago Friday. Jota Saturday. Sadio Sunday.

As weekends go, it's been near enough a perfect one for Liverpool. Amid the transfer frenzy of the previous 48 hours, it was almost overlooked that one of the most significant games of the Premier League season was just around the corner.

It's worth emphasising this point: Chelsea away is arguably the second or third toughest fixture on paper in any given season. Granted, Liverpool played half the game against 10 men, but trips to Stamford Bridge don't come much more straightforward than this (bar the momentary blip of the penalty incident towards the end).

Liverpool controlled the first-half supremely up until the sending off, albeit without creating anything clear cut. The second 45 was an imperious display of complete dominance, crushing into submission a side who many were keen to talk up as potential dark horses for the title before the season kicked off.

It sends out quite the message, which, backed up by the new arrivals over the past couple of days, says Liverpool aren't messing about. And what's ideal from Jürgen Klopp's perspective, is that there's still plenty of scope for improvement, because Liverpool weren't even at their best here. Nor did they need to be.

Liverpool can be more ruthless than that in the final third. Thiago Alcântara will only purr even more as he adapts to the team's way of playing. Defensively, there were still a few small issues Liverpool can look to iron out.

By and large, though, it was one to sit back and and relish. The champions mean business. Again.

Here's your second Podium of the 2020/21 season...

Gold: Fabinho making centre-back look like the easiest thing in the world

There were more than just a few murmurings of unease when the team news dropped with Fabinho playing alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back, almost as though it was some kind of enormous gamble from Klopp.

It's worth remembering this is a player who helped Liverpool keep a clean sheet against Bayern Munich in the Champions League playing there, and in doing so expertly shackled Robert Lewandowski.

He was absolutely imperious here across the 90 minutes, particularly in the first half when Chelsea did actually launch a few dangerous attacks. Any fears about how he'd cope directly up against the searing pace of Timo Werner were emphatically put to rest as he dealt with the German consummately in numerous one-on-one scenarios, emerging cleanly with the ball.

Not only that, he completed 96.6% of his passes, and touched the ball 101 times – the second-most of any player on the pitch behind Andy Robertson.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip both sustaining 'minor' injuries, it only strengthens the argument that Liverpool could do with adding another centre-back before the window closes, but in the meantime, Fabinho has proved again that he's not just capable of slotting in there when required, but can do so at an exceptionally high level. One of the many benefits of bringing Thiago in is so he can do exactly that without compromising the midfield.

Silver: Sadio Mané

A ruthless finishing display from Liverpool's No.10.

Ultimately Liverpool probably should have put Chelsea to the sword more than they did in the second half, but Mané was the fundamental reason Liverpool won the game as comfortably as they did.

His direct forward run brought the red card from Andreas Christensen to give Liverpool the man advantage on the brink of half-time, and it was he who put the hammer down to secure the victory in the second-half.

The first showcased his remarkable aerial ability, steering the ball precisely into the corner from Roberto Firmino's pin-point cross. He made it look a relatively simple finish, but with the ball curling away from goal, he had an awful lot to do to generate the necessary power and direction.

The second, meanwhile, was the epitome of what makes him such a relentlessly menacing attacking force, setting him apart from most forwards of his ilk. Furious with himself for losing possession on the edge of Chelsea's box, his tenacity to hunt the ball down and intercept Kepa's misguided pass was a magnificent sight to behold, before keeping his composure superbly to slot the ball home for his second, effectively putting the game to bed there and then. Ice cold brilliance.

Bronze: Alisson Becker actually saving a penalty

You thought it might never happen, didn't you?

It's one of those strange football quirks, the fact that arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet has seemingly been incapable of saving penalties every time he's faced them for Liverpool. He's exemplary at virtually everything else he does, but for whatever reason, he just doesn't do penalties.

Until today. A really smart stop, not falling for Jorginho's usual method of wrong-footing the goalkeeper and rolling it the other way. Bonus points for bailing Thiago out as well (though he was a touch unfortunate to concede it in the first place, in truth).

Must do better: Paul Tierney and his assistants

Seriously, how is Christensen getting away with just a yellow card initially? It wasn't even a vague attempt to win the ball, the kind of offence you'd be fortunate enough to get away with in rugby with the arms gripped around Mané's neck as he hauled him to the floor while almost climbing on his back.

Even if Tierney isn't 100% certain from his position in real time, surely one of his assistants lets him know straight away he's made a real howler. One which should never have required a VAR monitor review to get right. At least they did, at the second time of asking.