It was another blockbuster clash in the premier league as 10-man Chelsea held on for a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
Despite the noise from the home fans at Anfield, the Blues were able to silence the crowd when Kai Havertz scored the opening goal from a Reece James corner at near post. What a goal that was from one of the best players in the league!
The Blues were having an almost dominant game as they went head to head with the Reds until a VAR check from Anthony Taylor led to Reece James being sent off for a handball offense on the goal line. Liverpool were awarded a penalty afterwards.
"For me it was too quick…"
Thomas Tuchel was critical of the VAR check which lead to Reece James' red card v Liverpool pic.twitter.com/zUdxgL6pCW
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 28, 2021
Jurgen klopp’s men equalized through the resulting penalty from the handball incident before the end of the opening half.
Despite being a man down in the second half of the game, the European champions frustrated the Reds as they weren’t able to get a winner till the end of the game.
A dominant defensive performance in the second half – Tuchel commands more respect
With his side down to 10 men, Thomas Tuchel made two changes at half time seeing Kai Havertz substituted for Thiago Silva and Ngolo Kante made way for Mateo Kovacic.
Liverpool-Chelsea yesterday is one of those where Tuchel really did do a good job shutting down Liverpool with 10 men, but there are also plenty of worlds where one of those open play shots (either in first or second half) goes in and LFC get the three points.
— Grace Robertson 🏳️⚧️ (@GraceOnFootball) August 29, 2021
The changes and restructure worked well for the blues as they held on and frustrated Liverpool with Edouard Mendy making 6 saves, his most in a single match since joining the Blues.
The blues were able to secure a point which maintained their unbeaten start to the season and it was a fair result to take despite the circumstances before the international break.
The Anthony Taylor curse strikes again
Another Chelsea match, another controversial Anthony Taylor decision but this time it was Reece James who was sent off a few minutes before halftime.
The controversial red card ruined Chelsea’s game plans and the course of the game at large. The rules of the game states that “if a ball touches a player’s arm after it has come off any other body part, it’s not an offense”.
Azpilicueta on Reece James's Handball: 🗣
— Mwas Mchelsea (@MwasMchelsea_) August 28, 2021
With that in mind, many felt that Anthony Taylor ruined the game as Chelsea were on the verge of maybe securing the three points at Anfield.
Following Reece’s red card, Anthony Taylor has now sent off three Chelsea players in his career. First it was Victor Moses in the 2017 Fa cup final and second was Mateo Kovacic in the 2020 FA cup final.
Anthony Taylor hates Chelsea Football Club. pic.twitter.com/GRK2E9FYHS
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) August 28, 2021
Decisions in the final third is a work in progress for the Chelsea attackers
Before the red card incident, the blues could have been at least 3-0 up in the first half if they had taken their chances of making the right decision in the final third.
After the opening goal from Kai Havertz, there was an instance where he had to put Lukaku through to make it 2-0 but instead decided to take the shot himself and it ended up being blocked by Robertson. A proper finisher like Lukaku is now upfront and perhaps the Chelsea players are not yet used to him yet. On another day, the Blues could have been punished for wasted chances.
There was also another instance where Mason Mount had to lay the through ball for Lukaku to score but also rather took the shot himself.
Lukaku didn’t pick Kai Havertz on 2 clear chances. Havertz did’t pick Lukaku on one. Mount decided to shoot at goal and not pass to Havertz… But Mount is the one you’re attacking for having no vision.
All we should hope for is the synergy btw the 3 Tuchel’s preferred option.
— Series Abíọ́dún ☻ (@Engr_Series) August 29, 2021
Poor decision making in the final third from our attackers was what kept Liverpool in the game before the red card incident and felt like we would have finished the game in the first half.
Mendy the rock continues to impress
Without exaggeration, Edouard Mendy is looking like the best piece of business Chelsea have done in years. He was supposed to come in as a sort of ‘competition’ to Kepa Arrizabalaga but he has easily made the no.1 spot his own.
He put in yet another assured shift against the Reds, making six saves and coming up big on several occasions. Knowing that the last line of defence has a safe pair of hands will bring even more confidence to our backline.
Most saves made in a single Premier League game this season:
◉ Edouard Mendy (6 vs Liverpool)
◉ Illan Meslier (6 vs Everton)
◉ Nick Pope (6 vs Burnley)
◉ Hugo Lloris (6 vs Wolves)
Keeping busy. pic.twitter.com/54XQ15HeUH
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 28, 2021
Coincidentally, that was the most amount of saves he has had to make in a single game for Chelsea so far.
You could see that look of satisfaction at in the eyes of Thomas Tuchel while speaking to his goalkeeper at the end of the game.
Thomas Tuchel's reaction with Edouard Mendy at full time 🤝 pic.twitter.com/Rk8tils8oF
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 28, 2021
More of that Mendy, more of that.
My Verdict: It was a hard fought battle away at Anfield which gave us an important point. Going forward though, the Blues need to sort out their offensive sequence by improving on the final third decisions especially if Tuchel has decided his front three will be a trio of Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz.