Antonio Rudiger limits Liverpool's dynamic attack as Chelsea settle for draw
It was honours even as Chelsea and Liverpool played out a thrilling 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. The Blues looked to be heading for a second win inside a week against the Reds as they held on doggedly to a lead that came thanks to Eden Hazard, who scored an excellent goal midway through the first half, but a superb 89th-minute strike from substitute Daniel Sturridge denied Maurizio Sarri's men victory.
On balance, it was a fair result given that Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz both cleared Liverpool chances off the line. However, Sarri will be frustrated that his side once again failed to make the most of the opportunities that came their way to seal victory before Sturridge levelled.
This was an excellent team performance that saw every Chelsea player make a positive contribution. The Blues crowd, too, deserve much credit. Often criticised for not being vocal enough in their support of the players, they made themselves heard throughout the match.
Conceding a goal at such a late stage of proceedings is obviously disappointing. Not for the first time, Chelsea frustrated their fans by failing to make the most of the chances that came their way to kill off the opposition in a tight game.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Chelsea have made significant progress under Sarri, and another high-intensity, impressive performance against a Liverpool side who are probably as good as they are going to get under Jurgen Klopp is a measure of what the Italian has achieved in a short space of time. Sarri will be disappointed at conceding a late equaliser but was blameless in this respect.
Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 -- Made a fine save to deny Sadio Mane what looked a certain goal midway through the second half. Will be disappointed perhaps that he was deceived by the flight of the ball from Sturridge's shot that tied the game.
DF Cesar Azpilicuata, 7 -- Worked tirelessly to contain the threat down the left flank of Mane and Andy Robertson. Had little opportunity to play a more advanced role.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 9 -- A heroic performance that deserved a clean sheet. Stuck limpet-like to Mane and made a superb goal-line clearance to prevent Mohamed Salah equalising on the half-hour mark.
DF David Luiz, 8 -- Luiz's best display for Chelsea this season. Like Rudiger, the Brazilian also deserved a clean sheet for being well placed to clear a goal-bound effort this time from Roberto Firmino in the 72nd minute. Played some excellent long-range balls out of defence, linking up particularly well with Willian.
DF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- Had his work cut out containing Salah, often allowing the Egyptian too much space, particularly in the first half, in which to operate. Got tighter to his man in the second period, which ultimately saw Klopp withdraw his star man in the 66th minute.
MF Jorginho, 7 -- Another game of controlled and measured high-tempo passing from Jorginho, who worked the ball well with Mateo Kovacic. Offered little, though, in respect of shielding the defence behind him.
MF N'Golo Kante, 7 -- Sarri continues to deploy Kante in a more advanced role with a question mark remaining against the concept that won't have been removed after this performance. Showed some neat touches in linking up with both Willian and Hazard, but arguably could have served Chelsea better by helping take some of the heat off their over-worked backline.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 8 -- Worked well with Jorginho and bossed Jordan Henderson in midfield. Played a precise ball through to Hazard with which the Belgium international opened the scoring. Withdrawn late on for Ross Barkley.
FW Willian, 7 -- Had a chance to open the scoring for Chelsea but was denied by a smart save by Allison. Linked up well with Olivier Giroud in the first half but looked increasingly jaded after the break, squandering possession and putting his side under pressure as a result. Withdrawn in the 73rd minute.
FW Eden Hazard, 8 -- A second goal in as many games against Liverpool looked to have set Chelsea on their way to victory, a win that Hazard could have sealed had he buried the chance that came his way when Kante played him in midway through the second half. Allison was equal to his shot, and with that the opportunity had gone.
FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Worked hard to hold the ball up and make a nuisance of himself when Chelsea advanced, but ultimately was unable to have a telling influence on the game. Withdrawn in the 65th minute.
FW Alvaro Morata, 6 -- Replaced Giroud and offered a pair of fresh legs but little else that could be construed as constructive to Chelsea's cause.
MF Victor Moses, NR -- Replaced Willian and was able to give Chelsea added impetus on the flank. Lost possession too often when attempting to cross the ball.
MF Ross Barkley, NR -- Replaced Kovacic and revitalised Chelsea's midfield.