Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool and Chelsea come into this game on the back of contrasting results in Europe in midweek. Liverpool snatched a draw from the jaws of comfortable victory in Seville, while Chelsea strolled to a comfortable victory in Azerbaijan.
Liverpool (4-3-3) : Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Henderson, Milner, Coutinho, Oxlade Chamberlain, Sturridge, Salah
Chelsea (3-5-2) : Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Morata
Liverpool kicked off the first half with a sustained period of possession in the first 10 minutes with no major attacking output. The first decent attacking chance for Liverpool falls to Milner in the 15th minute whose shot from the edge of the box was scuffed and directionless.
Chelsea slowly began to grow into the game with Hazard emerging as the biggest threat. A weak clearance from Matip leads to the ball falling to the Belgian and he cuts in from the left flank and shoots at the near post which was parried away by Mignolet. The next big chance falls to Drinkwater in the 23rd minute as Hazard makes a great run through the middle and puts in a great pass down the middle to Drinkwater who struggles to get a shot away under pressure from Mignolet.
Chelsea continued to exert pressure on the home side with a shot from Zappacosta tipped over by Mignolet in the 24th minute. The resulting corner causes all sorts of confusion with the ball pinging around in the box before Liverpool clear it away.
Salah continues to be the only threat for Liverpool and his fancy footwork lead to a couple of opportunities midway through the first half.
Liverpool’s biggest chance falls to Salah in the 41st minute as he does well to shake off Cahill before a spin and shot which flies just wide off the far post. Liverpool then claimed a penalty shout as Coutinho gets pushed aside by Hazard on an aerial duel, but the referee waved away the protests.
HALF-TIME: LIVERPOOL 0 -0 CHELSEA
Neither side made a change at half-time as the home side tried to seize the early initiative in the second half. A careless mistake from Courtois gives Liverpool their first corner of the game which leads to another corner which is easily dealt with by Chelsea. Liverpool continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as they begin to stretch the Chelsea midfield. Liverpool players appeal for a penalty as the ball seems to hit Cahill on his arm but Michael Oliver is not interested.
Morata then got close on two successive occasions as Chelsea exploit their advantage on the right flank but both half chances are spurned by the Spaniard.
Liverpool then got their biggest chance of the second half as Salah spins on the edge of the box before laying the ball to Sturridge, whose shot is blocked by Azpilicueta on a full stretch. Liverpool were not to be denied though as Chelsea turn over possession in their own half leading to Oxlade Chamberlain poking the ball to Salah whose quick strike beats the on-rushing Courtois.
Liverpool made their first change with Wijnaldum coming on for Sturridge in the 66th minute. Liverpool seized the initiative post the restart and attack Liverpool in a series of attacking moves before Liverpool try to counter-attack through a surging run from Moreno, his one-two with Salah leading to no favourable result though.
Chelsea then made a series of attacking changes, bringing on Fabregas and Pedro and Fabregas made his presence felt slowly but surely with his passes almost finding Morata on a couple of occasions.
Hazard then goes close to going 1-on-1 with Mignolet leading to a corner. Chelsea made their last change bringing on Willian with Pedro moving to right wing-back. This leads to immediate impact with Willian’s chipped cross/shot looping over Mignolet into the goal.
Liverpool bring on Lallana(for his first appearance this season) and Mane in the dying moments of the game as both sides try to clinch the winning goal. The game though ends in a stalemate
FULL TIME: LIVERPOOL 1-1 CHELSEA