The Reds salvage a point with Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
Following on from a 2-1 triumph by Chelsea over Liverpool in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Anfield, both teams returned to Stamford Bridge for an all Premier League encounter, end of September. In the fifth minute, Sadio Mane cleared the path for Mohamed Salah, whose soft shot rolled into the safe keeping of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The next time Salah was set up by Trent Alexander-Arnold, he miscued his strike to the left of the target, in the eleventh minute. On the quarter of the hour mark, after build up play with Virgil van Dijk and then Roberto Firmino, a miss firing Sane, flew the ball out to the right. Five minutes later, Firmino’s strike in the box deflected off David Luiz, before the ball was hacked behind from Marcos Alonso, to nullify the Reds threat on goal. In the twenty first minute, a long pass forward by Alexander-Arnold, gave a sniff on goal to Salah, but as he turned past Alonso, his tame shot was easily collected by Arrizabalaga. But Alisson was finally called into action, as a long delivery from Luiz set Willian free on goal but an alert Alisson moved forward to block his effort, a minute later. Although the Blues did not have to wait as they drew first blood in the twenty fifth minute, as Mateo Kovacic, slid an incisive pass to Hazard, who on the left side of the area, struck a low first time effort, into the bottom right corner. On the half hour mark, after Hazard appended James Milner, the latter then took the free kick which deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta, before the ball was put over from a header by van Dijk. In the next two minutes, the Reds went even closer, when Firmino found space for Salah on the right, who rounded Arrizabalaga, before he was kept out from Antonio Rudiger, on the goal line. In the forty fourth minute, from a delivery by Alexander-Arnold, on the turn, Mane produced a bicycle kick which rose over the top and out of play. The Blues pressed early in the second half, with a pass from distance by Luiz, which Willian pulled back for Olivier Giroud, who turned the ball wide of the left post. In the fifty eighth minute, Arrizabalaga rescued the Blues, as he stopped down low with a one handed save to deny Mane, after he had been found from Firmino. After Luiz was fouled by Salah, a quickly taken free kick by N’Golo Kante caught the Reds napping, as Hazard raced through before a quick thinking Alisson, blocked his shot onto the outside roof of the net, in the sixty fourth minute. Chelsea then replaced Giroud with Alvaro Morata before Liverpool switched Salah with Xherdan Shaqiri. On sixty eight minutes, as Hazard instigated the move, a snap shot by Kovacic from outside the box was kept out by the agility of Alisson. But in the seventieth minute, Andrew Robertson laid the ball on a plate for Shaqiri, who completely miss timed his strike while in range of the target. The Reds went close again, when Milner’s cross was headed down by Firmino, but cleared off the line by Luiz, two minutes later. The Blues then replaced Willian with Victor Moses. Following a caution for Milner who brought down Moses on the run, a free kick by Hazard was turned wide off a header by Morata, in the seventy eighth minute. The Reds then took off their club captain, Jordan Henderson for Naby Keita which was followed by the Blues bringing on Ross Barkley for Kovacic. A poor back pass from Georgino Wijnaldum nearly let in Morata, but Alisson charged out from his goal to diffuse the situation, after eighty two minutes. A rash challenge by Luiz on Mane, gave away a free kick to Shaqiri, but he could not find a way past Arrizabalaga, a minute later. In the final throw of the dice by the Reds, Daniel Sturridge appeared for Milner, and it was to be a master stroke by Jurgen Klopp, as from Shaqiri’s assist, up stepped Sturridge, with a delightful curling strike from long distance into the top right corner of the net, in the eighty ninth minute. At the end from a Hazard corner, the ball was put over from an Alonso header, as the match ended on equal terms with both teams remaining unbeaten after an even contest.