In a thrilling Saturday evening Premier League tie held at Anfield, 10-Man Chelsea managed to take home a well-deserved point.
Chelsea saw out the entire second half with 10 men to earn a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in Saturday’s contest between the two Premier League title hopefuls.
The two sides entered the game with identical records of six points, five goals scored and none conceded from their first two games, and there was nothing between them at Anfield.
German international Kai Havertz opened the scoring for Chelsea with a sublime header, but the flow of the game changed following a huge call by referee Anthony Taylor in first-half stoppage time.
Reece James was sent off for a handball on the line, with Mohamed Salah converting the subsequent penalty, but Liverpool could not make their possession dominance count.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had gone four games without conceding in the league stretching back into the end of last season, but their defense was breached by Chelsea 24 minutes after kick-off, thanks to a Kai Havertz header.
Havertz made a late run to the near post and brilliantly sent James’ delivery looping over Alisson for his first competitive Chelsea goal since netting the winner in May’s Champions League final.
A few minutes later, a big chance went begging for Mason Mount when flashing a shot across the face of the goal and that proved a big moment as Liverpool were level late in the first half.
The moment of the match came when Joel Matip headed the ball against the crossbar and Sadio Mane’s follow-up bounced off James’ leg and onto his arm, which the referee deemed worthy of a penalty and red card.
Liverpool penalty taker Mohamed Salah made no mistake in tucking away from 12 yards and momentum was with Liverpool for the vast majority of the second half.
Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard Mendy was required to keep out attempts from Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and the returning Andy Robertson who came back from an injury spell, while Jordan Henderson fired just wide.
Thomas Tuchel’s side gave their opponents a couple of scares when getting forward, with substitute Mateo Kovacic denied by Alisson late on, though there was to be no winning goal at either end as both teams’ perfect starts came to an end with a 1-1 draw.
With three matches played so far, it is far too early in the season to bill this a title decider of any sorts, but this was a chance for one of these sides to lay down a serious marker heading into the first international break of the campaign, set to start as from next week.
Chelsea won here on their most recent visit five months ago with a brilliant goal by Mason Mount, albeit with that game taking place in different circumstances behind closed doors, and they were pretty dominant again today until the James incident.
Liverpool looked like being the only winners from that point, but a failure to convert any of their 14 shots in the second half, with Mendy saving six of those shots means the sides remain level on points and goal difference after three games.
Chelsea’s Champions League final hero Havertz did brilliantly to get into a pocket of space and glance on James’ corner for the opener, though only he knows whether he was going for goal or perhaps just attempting to flick the ball on. Either way, that was the German’s first headed league goal since May 2020 and was his fifth goal since Tuchel took charge in January with only Mount having scored more with his sic goals.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson starting together for the first time this season following Robertson’s return from injury, the two full-backs were a threat throughout down the flanks as they created nine big chances between them, but still, Liverpool could not find the back of Chelsea’s net.
Next weekend will be an international break which means Premier League will be back on September 11, 2021, as Liverpool travels to Leeds United in their next Premier League match after the break, while Chelsea will be at home to Aston Villa.