Daniel Sturridge rescues Liverpool a point while Eden Hazard outshines Mohamed Salah
LONDON -- Three points from Stamford Bridge on Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League:
1. Sturridge rescues a point for Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge extended Liverpool's unbeaten start to the Premier League season by salvaging a point for Jurgen Klopp's team with a goal just three minutes after coming on as a substitute against Chelsea.
Liverpool had looked set to lose for the first time in the league this season after falling behind to Eden Hazard's 25th-minute opener at Stamford Bridge.
Despite dominating for lengthy periods and creating a series of chances to equalise, Liverpool struggled to make the breakthrough due to the home side's defensive discipline.
But with 88 minutes on the clock, former Chelsea forward Sturridge equalised in dramatic fashion with a 25-yard strike that flew into the top corner, beyond the reach of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In a pulsating game in West London, Chelsea twice had to clear off the line to deny Liverpool before Sturridge's late leveller.
But while neither team finished with three points, they both emerged from the game with their title aspirations consolidated by their respective performances.
Chelsea, with Hazard in unstoppable form, look capable of sustaining their title bid, while Liverpool now go into next Sunday's top-two clash against leaders Manchester City knowing that they have emerged unbeaten from another tough test of their credentials.
2. Chelsea still look a striker light
Eden Hazard could quite easily fire Chelsea to the Premier League title again, but it would be a risky strategy to expect the Belgian to sustain his current hot streak for the remainder of the season.
Unless he has a season like Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed in his penultimate one at Manchester United in 2007-08, when the Portuguese scored 42 goals in all competitions, Hazard will need help from elsewhere if Chelsea are to have a realistic chance of winning the league.
The problem facing Maurizio Sarri, however, is that he simply doesn't have a striker who can ease the burden on Hazard.
Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata are the two centre-forwards at Sarri's disposal, but Giroud has still yet to score this season -- he was replaced on 65 minutes after another unproductive outing against Liverpool -- and Morata continues to look like nothing more than a backup despite his high price tag.
The Spaniard has scored just once in the league himself this season and, although he has shown more enterprise this term under Sarri following his difficult campaign under Antonio Conte, he is not a 20-goal-a-season forward.
If Chelsea still had Diego Costa, you could pretty much make them title favourites, but Costa is now an Atletico Madrid player and none of his replacements have shown themselves to be good enough to take his place.
Pedro, currently injured, is perhaps Sarri's best hope, but again, he cannot be relied upon to score 15 to 20 goals.
So it's all on Hazard then!
3. Salah looking human so far this season
Mohamed Salah was always going to struggle to replicate last season's incredible scoring feats for Liverpool, so it's perhaps no surprise that the Egyptian forward is struggling for form right now.
When he was substituted by Klopp on 65 minutes, Salah had failed to score from three good chances at Stamford Bridge, and his stats for the season are now a distinctly average three goals in nine appearances.
All three goals have been scored in the Premier League at Anfield, against West Ham, Brighton and Southampton, so he has yet to deliver against a top-level opponent or score away from home.
There is no doubt that Salah will continue to score goals by the bucketload for Liverpool. He is simply too good a player to struggle for too long.
But having scored 44 goals in all competitions last season, Salah has a mountain to climb if he is to do that again.
And those comparisons with Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are now beginning to look a touch outlandish, with the game's two greatest modern players so far ahead of the rest because of their ability to score at such incredible rates year after year.
Last season, Salah would have scored at least one of the chances he had at Chelsea, but it wasn't his day here.
He looks off the pace and short on confidence, but it would be foolish to expect his dip to last too long.