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CFC

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte was full of praise when explained the reason why the Blues “must be pleased” with today’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, as the Italian manager himself said speaking after the game.

“We played in a really good way because today we had a tactical plan – he said – For Liverpool it was very difficult to make chances to score”.

Conte introduced Fabregas, Willian and Pedro off the bench: “We prepared very well and it was a tactical decision, especially in the first half, to be very solid, and then be dangerous with the ball. In the second half we dominated the game and created many chances to score. Liverpool were lucky to score, and then to draw”.

“The first sub, I changed Danny [Drinkwater] because it was his first league game from the start, a big game, and you lose mental and physical energy, he played very well. With Cesc [Fabregas] I wanted good quality in midfield. I changed Bakayoko for Pedro and I asked Pedro to play as a midfielder because he’s more offensive than Bakayoko”.

“Then I brought Willian on to play with the strikers and moved Pedro to wing-back, – Conte added – I think it was a good idea, but even before the changes I don’t think we deserved to be 1-0 down”.

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“We must be pleased with the game, – said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte speaking at a press conference in Anfield – I think both teams played with great intensity from the start until the end. For us it was very difficult to play this game after long travelling and no rest for my players”.

Conte added: “When you play a strong team it’s not simple, so we must be pleased because in the first half we were very solid and always dangerous in possession. In the second half we created many chances to score and in our best moment we conceded the goal”.

“We were unlucky when you see the dynamic of the goal – the italian manager admitted – But at the same time I was very happy to see a great reaction, great desire and a great will to not accept a bad result. We drew but we tried to win the game, so we must be pleased with the draw”.

Chelsea remain 3rd on the Premier League table with 26 points, despite failing to reduce gap on Manchester United and Manchester City.

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Liverpool went close to winning the game against Chelsea at Anfield as Mohamed Salah‘s goal gave the lead with 25’ left to go, before Willian leveled up the clash with a strange shot which dropped over the head of Mignolet.

Reds‘ head coach Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport he’s massively disappointed with a decision of referee Michael Oliver: “After Willian’s goal I was angry because we wanted to make a change and change the system and the ref wouldn’t let us. He said it would take too long. I don’t understand it, how can a change take too long?”

 

“We wanted to change to five in the back, in that moment it could have helped a lot. That’s where Willian popped up with the goal, and that’s why I was angry”.

Liverpool remain three points behind Chelsea, sitting 5th on the table right behind Tottenham Hotspur, who were stopped by West Bromwich Albion earlier today.

 

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill reflected on his side’s away draw against Liverpool at Anfield this evening, a result which means the Premier League champions reman third with 26 points.

“I thought on reflection in the second-half we deserved to equal the game up. – he told BT Sport – They had some good spells in the first half we had some in the second. They did cause us some problems at times and I’m sure we did them,”

About the controversial goal scored by Willian: “You’ll have to ask him if it was cross. We’re delighted it went in, we deserved to get the goal”.

Manchester City could extend their gap on Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham if they beat Huddersfield at home tomorrow: “If we were in their shoes we’d be delighted with that – Cahill added – But we have some good games coming up and clearly this is a difficult place to come. It was important we didn’t lose today.”

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The Premier League big match of this fixture 13 at Anfield ends 1-1: if Simon Mignolet was the the hero of the first half Willian and Thibaut Courtois were the ones of the second part, with the first one equalising with only five minutes to go and the second one making a miracle on Mo Salah at 91′, it would have been probably the winner for the Reds.

Chelsea were less brilliant in the second half respect to the first one and Liverpool were more in control of the game, the Blues weren’t dangerous until 80′, with Alonso missing a clear chance in front of Mignolet: until then Liverpool had deserved to be 1-0 up, with Salah scoring after a super play by Coutinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Egyptian didn’t celebrate in sign of respect for his former team.

As we reported before the Blues were better in the first part of the game when they created three dangerous chances and Mignolet saved all of them being superb on Hazard and Drinkwater and deflecting in corner on Zappacosta.

Mo Salah trashed the only clear chance Liverpool had in the the first part when he shot wide alone in front of Courtois right before half-time.

Fabregas was surprisingly left on the bench by Conte in this important clash but it was when the Spaniard entered after Salah’s goal that the Blues started to improve their playing in the second half.

David Luiz was benched again by the Italian boss and now the situation is every day worse for the Brazilian defender, set to left Stamford Bridge after falling out with Conte.

With this important draw, and thanks to Spurs’ 1-1 at home with WBA, Chelsea maintain the third place in the Premier League table with 26 points behind Manchester ( 29) and Manchester City ( 34): Citizens still have to play against Huddersfield Town away, tomorrow afternoon, and can increase their gap oh the chasers.

 

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Simon Mignolet was the hero of these 45′ at Anfield saving three clear chances for Chelsea in five minutes in the middle of the first half: first on Eden Hazard, then on Danny Drinkwater and finally on Davide Zappacosta.

The Reds were dangerous only in the end of the first part with their star-man Mo Salah, whose shot was slightly wide.

Other 45 minutes to try to win this game for the Blues!

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LIVERPOOL – Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno, Henderson, Milner, Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Sturridge.

Subs:  Karius, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Mane, Lallana, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c); Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.

Subs: Caballero, David Luiz, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Willian, Pedro.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

 

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fires back to Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who complained about the Blues schedule in this busy week:

“I really get what Antonio is talking about, I heard about it, but maybe he forgot that they had the best Christmas schedule last year,” Klopp said, as Liverpool Echo reports.

“Everyone played every two days and they had about 12 days to play three games. They have the same situation this year and I don’t know how the Premier League will explain this.

“Now they have one day less. I really think recovery for a team is very important and he is right, it is difficult, but it will not have influence on this game. Maybe on the next one, that is possible.”

“They are already back, they flew back to London and they have two days to recover and that is a normal situation. Three days (between games) is never a problem, two days is a big problem but obviously nobody wants to hear that.”

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BBC pundit Danny Murphy reckons Chelsea need to emulate Spurs’ performance to get a positive result at Anfield this weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side obtained a comfortable 4-1 victory over Liverpool at Wembley Stadium last month.

Chelsea will have the chance to close the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City with a win and extend their advantage over Liverpool to six points.

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LIVERPOOL

– Joel Matip is a doubt for the hosts with a thigh strai

– Adam Lallana should be fit as he battles a similar issue

– Nathaniel Clyne remains out with a long-term back problem

CHELSEA

– Victor Moses is available following a six-week absence

– Michy Batshuayi is out for an ankle injury

– Charly Musonda jr. Is out for a knee injury

– Kenedy is out for an undisclosed issue

 

PREDICTED LINE-UPS

 

LIVERPOOL – Mignolet; Milner, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mane-

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

CHELSEA – Courtois; Christensen, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.

Manager: Antonio Conte

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