Chelsea are drawing 1-1 at home to Liverpool in a close and entertaining first half at Stamford Bridge.
The away side got forward early on and there were clear signs of Jurgen Klopp’s high presing game being implemented as they stole the ball in midfield and Firmino put the ball wide from the edge of the area. Chelsea responded by pushing up themselves, and got the perfect result from their early pressure. Costa, under heavy pressure, did well the play the ball back from the far left side of pitch to the on-running Azpilicueta who was given time to cross the ball into the box for Ramires to head low into the bottom corner in the fourth minute.
It certainly appeared as if Chelsea’s recent improved but unrewarded form continuing and beginning to yield results, and the team played with more thrust from midfield with Oscar replacing Fabregas in the centre. Costa’s runs were not directionless but rather creating space for the support cast behind- space which was now being used as opposed to wasted. Eden Hazard ran through in the dangerous and questioning manner that he did so may times last season, but his final ball let him down.
It took Liverpool several minutes to find themselves in the match and recover from their early set-back, but from the 20th minute onward it was them who had the majority of the ball as Chelsea sat back. Both Clyne and Lallana found themelves in space around Chelsea’s box to no avail, and the latter had an attempt that forced Begovic into a smart save as the game’s momentum went the way of Klopp’s team and Mourinho’s opted to try and catch the visitors on the break.
Liverpool were left incensed when after 30 minutes Clyne’s ball into the Chelsea box appeared to be blocked by the arm of John Terry. Closer inspection showed that the incident was just outside the box and it would have been impossible for the Chelsea captain to get his am out of the way.
Chelsea’s luck ran out second before the half-time whistle when Coutinho, who was allowed far too much space on the edge of the box, turned and curled the ball past Begovic to cut out their early lead. It is a familiar story and Chelsea should be wary of the next act.
The first half so far suggest hints of the game against Southampton weeks ago when a good start was followed by a weak middle and disaster at the end. It is is inevitable that Klopp will seek to exploit the situation in the second half probably with the introduction of Benteke. Chelsea must improve to avoid the this season’s usual story playing out again.
CHELSEA: Begovic; Zouma, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa.
Subs: Amelia, Baba Rahman, Matic, Kenedy, Fabregas, Remy, Falcao.
Manager: José Mourinho
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno; Milner, Lucas; Can, Coutinho, Lallana; Firmino.
Subs: Bogdan, Lovren, Allen, Ibe, Randall, Benteke, Teixeira.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, UK.