Liverpool fought hard and battled back into the game, but were unable to capitalise against a 10-man Chelsea as they played out a 1-1 draw in the Premier League.
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Premier League (3), Anfield
August 28, 2021
Salah pen 45+4′
Red card: James 45+2′
A ferocious atmosphere welcomed the Reds onto the pitch and Jurgen Klopp‘s side gave the Kop a performance to shout about in the opening stages, with Harvey Elliott driving just wide of the post with the game’s first chance.
Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip dealt with the early threat of Romelu Lukaku well, while at the other end a stunning pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold teed up Jordan Henderson, who misfired on the volley.
But a well-drilled Chelsea continued to keep them at bay, and went in front in the 21st minute as Kai Havertz found the back of the net with a stooping, looping header.
Klopp was then forced into action before the break, with Roberto Firmino withdrawn and Diogo Jota sent on as the No. 9 suggested a minor injury problem.
Then deep into stoppage time, a goalline scramble that saw at least three clearances was eventually brought back by VAR as Reece James was sent off for handball on the line to allow Mohamed Salah to step up and score the penalty.
HT: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
With the numerical and home advantage, Liverpool pushed on and on after half-time, with Jota going close as he headed over a brilliant outside-of-the-boot cross from Salah before Van Dijk tested Edouard Mendy from 30 yards.
Mendy was consistently busy but the Reds struggled to pick the lock for clear-cut chances, with Klopp left to ponder another change with Thiago and Naby Keita among his substitutes.
It was Thiago who the manager turned to, with it something of a surprise as Henderson made way rather than Elliott – who has clearly won Klopp over in a big way.
Chelsea did particularly well to slow the game down despite the loss of James, but the Kop attempted to spur Liverpool back into life as they kept going throughout the 90-plus minutes.
A barrage of efforts late on saw the Reds push for a winner, but with blue shirts flooding the penalty area they were unable to find a way through.
TIA Man of the Match: Joel Matip
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimikas 86′); Fabinho, Henderson (Thiago 74′), Elliott; Salah, Mane, Firmino (Jota 43′)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Gomez, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho (Chalobah 87′), Kante (Silva 46′), Alonso; Havertz (Kovacic 46′), Mount, Lukaku
Subs not used: Kepa, Chilwell, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Werner
Next match: Leeds (A) – Premier League – Sunday, September 12, 4.30pm (BST)