Chelsea 1 – 1 Liverpool. Chelsea and Liverpool played out a thrilling draw at Stamford Bridge as both sides delivered a prime example of why they are doing battle over £110m Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.
Liverpool agreed a British record deal for Caicedo but the player’s preference means he is likely to complete a move to Chelsea.
A highly entertaining encounter showcased the attacking quality of both sides while the defensive deficiencies illustrated why Caicedo has become a prized target.
Liverpool dominated the early stages, Mohamed Salah striking the bar before the Egypt forward delivered a stunning pass for Luis Diaz to slide home the opening goal after 18 minutes.
Chelsea, in their first Premier League game under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, rallied and drew level with an equaliser from new signing Axel Disasi, who scored from six yards after Liverpool failed to clear a set-piece.
Both sides had further chances – with Liverpool keeper Alisson saving well from Ben Chilwell and Nicolas Jackson – but neither side could find a winner.
Chelsea’s new manager Pochettino will have hoped to start his reign with a victory but there was plenty for him to be satisfied about as his new team recovered from a shaky start to deliver many encouraging signs.
There is work to do on making Chelsea more solid, hence the pursuit of Caicedo, but they showed character to overcome a sticky opening to make Alisson the busier goalkeeper in the second half and draw warm applause from their supporters at the final whistle.
New striker Jackson was powerful and industrious while left wing-back Chilwell was a threat going forward, not only bringing a save from the Brazil goalkeeper but also having a goal narrowly ruled out for offside following a video assistant referee intervention.
Pochettino knows there is work to do but a point against a Liverpool team determined to recapture their old position at the top of the table represents a decent start to the new campaign.
When Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp made the surprise decision to replace Salah after 77 minutes the forward made little attempt to disguise his unhappiness.
Salah had shown his usual magic in the first half, hitting the bar then producing a brushstroke of genius to set up Diaz’s opener.
As a result, there were plenty of quizzical looks as he made his way to the technical area, shaking his head and throwing his wrist strapping to the turf as he did so.
He was part of a potent Liverpool attacking display but it was clear in this game why Klopp is keen to add a midfield shield of security in the shape of Caicedo or Southampton’s Romeo Lavia.
For all Liverpool’s threat going forward, and substitute Darwin Nunez almost won it with a deflected show in the last few seconds, Liverpool looked vulnerable at the back.
The visitors will nevertheless be reasonably happy with a point, although they thought they had made it 2-0 when Salah scored in the first half before it was ruled out for offside by VAR.
However the flaws Klopp is trying to address with at least one more midfield signing remain obvious.
They were angry they did not receive a penalty for an appeal for handball against Jackson but a point was probably what they deserved.
source – BBC