Chelsea travelled to Anfield to take on Liverpool as the two strong title contenders came head to head. In a weekend dominated with headlines of Cristiano Ronaldo’s triumphant homecoming, both teams entered this game more than motivated to prove their respective title credentials. Ultimately, despite the visitors taking an early lead, the subsequent flow of the game was to be set when referee Anthony Taylor sent off Reece James for an apparent handball on the goal line. Mohamed Salah stepped up to slot the penalty home to equalize and the Blues sat deep throughout the second half to earn themselves a valuable point away from home. Here are the lessons learnt from Liverpool 1, Chelsea 1.
1. A defensive masterclass
It was not too long ago that a red card midway through the first half of a game had resulted in an utter Chelsea capitulation. The match against West Bromwich Albion last season had ended 5-2 following Thiago Silva’s early send off and Chelsea fans must have feared the worst once more when Reece James got his marching orders towards the end of the first half.
However, despite the similarities in formations and the obvious parallels player-wise, this was, at its core, a different Chelsea. This is the Champions of Europe Chelsea and crucially, this is a team of fighters and winners. Despite the feeling of injustice that followed Reece James’ controversial dismissal, none of the Blues lost their heads in face of wave after wave of Liverpool attacks. In a boisterous Anfield, this is an impressive feat and it just goes to show how much this team has developed over the past few months.
The man most deserving of praise however, has to be Thomas Tuchel. The level of defending on display against a Liverpool side that grew increasingly desperate as the game went on was just outstanding. This is a clear testament of the work that Tuchel has clearly done on the training pitch and when backed up by sound in-game management through his substitutions, gave Chelsea the highest chance of taking anything away from the game. But then again, this is the UEFA best men’s coach of the year we are talking about. So why am I even surprised?