Chelsea fought Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield despite the away team being a man down throughout the last 45 minutes. It was a gritty performance that will determine the character of the West London based side for ages. Liverpool, meanwhile, will be gutted that they neither scored a goal when they were a man up in the second half nor they did acquire three points when there was every opportunity to do so.
The game started with a very frenetic pace, with both teams challenging each other at an equal footing. Liverpool was more dominant with the ball but Chelsea matched up to it by dropping deep and hitting the opposing team with counters. It looked like the match will be lively throughout. Chelsea drew first blood in the match as Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander Arnold conceded a corner kick from Marcos Alonso’s kick. Reece James took the corner which he directly put in the box. The ball found forward Kai Havertz who scored with a looping header which went beyond Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. Liverpool, throughout the first half, was being able to get into Chelsea’s end but ended up never getting a clear cut chance.
The first half ended in absolute chaos when in added time, Chelsea conceded a penalty with Reece James getting a red card for a deliberate handball offence by referee Anthony Taylor whose history with Chelsea FC has been acrimonious, to say the least. The background to this event was a ball had come into the Chelsea box which was going to be taken by goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy but a miscommunication with defender Alonso led to the latter heading it straight to Mane whose shot was blocked by James. The ball went from the right wing-back’s thigh to his hand. The penalty was not initially given by the referee but a VAR check was conducted by the officials who couldn’t decide on it. They gave the onus on the on-field referee Taylor to decide. He went to the VAR screen to see it for himself but strangely didn’t see the full replay, only the part where Reece’s hand was in contact with the ball and didn’t investigate any further. He blew the whistle for a penalty and gave a very disputed red to Reece James. Ultimately, the penalty was scored by Mohammed Salah scored his 2nd goal in 3 matches.
The second half started with a clear advantage to Liverpool. Chelsea’s manager Thomas Tuchel made two changes as they brought in Thiago Silva and Mateo Kovacic for Kai Havertz and N’Golo Kante. The Blues showed steely determination and grit throughout the half as they showed the world a defensive masterclass. Liverpool had chances but nothing clear cut enough. Mendy performed well with crucial saves to allow the team to be in the match. Silva, Rudiger, Christensen locked up the Reds attack as Salah, Mane and Jota were bereft of ideas. Liverpool’s manager brought in Thiago Alcantra to boost up the creativity of the team but they still looked like they haven’t been able to shake the blues from last season. Chelsea even got two chances from the half but it didn’t materialize into anything special.
The match ended 1-1 with Chelsea being very happy with a point and Liverpool disappointed with not getting the despite the circumstances of the away team being a man down. The Man of the Match has to be Eduoard Mendy who made very important saves to allow Chelsea to still be in the game.