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Liverpool held by battling Blues

THE EQUALISER: Willian just after he scored the leveller at Anfield

A THRILLING game between Liverpool and Chelsea ended all squared and gave runaway leaders Manchester City a boost in their serene title bid.

Both teams came into this match with confidence, with Liverpool winning their last four matches in the Premier League while Chelsea had been victorious their last five.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gambled with some big names missing from his starting XI, preferring Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, James Milner, Simon Mignolet and Joel Matip instead of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren, Gigi Wijnaldulm and Loris Karius.

Chelsea saw the return of Alvaro Morata, Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill.

The game was lively throughout, with both sides playing attacking football. Liverpool dominated possession but Chelsea always looked dangerous on the counter attack with the mercurial Eden Hazard playing just behind Morata.

The first half had lots of chances mostly coming from the Reds. At times Liverpool played some delightful football with Joe Gomez - on the right wing - being instrumental in a lot of the Merseyside club's attacks.

Chelsea, however had one of the best chances of the first half, with Danny Drinkwater testing the Liverpool defence after a sublime pass by Hazard; the midfielder's shot was well saved by Mignolet.

Minutes later, Chelsea were unlucky not to take the lead when a goalmouth scramble in the Liverpool goal and a flurry of shots, was eventually cleared safely.

It was former Chelsea player Mohamed Salah who scored the opening goal for the hosts in the 65th minute. The goal came after a surging run by Phillipe Coutinho into the Chelsea area, he found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who managed to toe poke it just past Tiemoue Bakayoko. The ball found Salah who expertly slotted home his 10th goal of the season.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first, with most of the possession belonging to the home side. But Chelsea were always a threat.

Chelsea’s equalizer came in the 85th when Brazilian Willian, who had just come on to replace Davide Zappacosta, hit a cross-cum-shot from the right-hand side of the Liverpool area, which somehow managed to loop over the head of Liverpool keeper Mignolet to level the scores.

The Reds almost took all three points, when deep into stoppage time, Salah’s thunderous shot from just outside the box, forcing a diving save from Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois,

Honours even at Anfield which on reflection was a fair result.

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