Liverpool score late on at Stamford Bridge through a Daniel Sturridge strike to earn a 1-1 draw against fellow unbeaten side Chelsea.
Filed: Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 19:21 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 19:50 UK
Liverpool, who had two efforts kept out on the line prior to their late leveller, drop points for the first time this season but remain unbeaten after seven games.
Victory for fellow unbeaten side Chelsea would have taken them level on points with Manchester City at the summit, but instead it is Liverpool who sit alongside the reigning champions in what is shaping up to be a tight title race.
The Egyptian forward had scored in four of his previous seven meetings with Chelsea, and he could have added to that tally in the opening quarter of this latest clash as he tested Kepa with a weak effort and then curled one wide.
Liverpool’s high press was making Chelsea uncomfortable and it was the visitors who were looking the more threatening in the final third, with Sadio Mane next to get a shot away which ended well wide of the target.
Three minutes later the Blues did take the lead, however, and it was through a fine Hazard finish across Alisson into the bottom corner following some one-touch passing in the build-up.
That was the first time that Liverpool had conceded in the first half of a league game this term, but they should have been level at the break as Salah rounded Kepa and had an unguarded net to aim for, only for Antonio Rudiger to race back and keep the ball out on the line.
Just one of the previous 11 meetings between these two sides had been won by more than one goal, and this latest tussle followed a similar theme as the teams cancelled each other out.
A blocked Mateo Kovacic shot on the edge of the box aside, the first serious attempt of the second period did not arrive until the hour mark via the boot of Mane.
The Reds’ leading scorer did well to turn in the box and found the target with his well-struck effort, but Kepa got down low to keep it out.
Alisson was then required at the other end of the field to deny Hazard from a one-on-one position after the Belgian was played through by a quick-thinking N’Golo Kante.
Unlike teammate Sturridge, Shaqiri failed to mark his arrival with a goal as he guided the ball wide of the target with just Kepa to beat from 10 yards, moments after Kovacic had a tame effort blocked by Alisson.
Liverpool, whose tally of 14 league goals in 2018-19 was bettered only by Man City ahead of this weekend, fashioned another chance in the final quarter of the match – Roberto Firmino‘s downward header being blocked on the line by Luiz.
The pressure finally told late on as, after Shaqiri had a free kick saved down low, Sturridge sent a sublime curled shot over the head of Kepa from all of 30 yards to leave his mark on a match that he entered late on.
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kovacic (Barkley 81′), Jorginho, Kante; Hazard, Giroud (Morata 65′), Willian (Moses 73′)
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson (Keita 78′), Milner (Sturridge 86′); Mane, Salah (Shaqiri 66′), Firmino
Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Liverpool