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Chelsea make title statement with Anfield draw worth more than a point


T

itle statements come in all shapes and sizes.

On another, it could be a point on the road at one of the most notoriously difficult venues in world football, with just about everything conspiring against you.

That they did not is precisely why this was such a significant night for Thomas Tuchel’s team.

A 1-1 draw felt like it was worth more than the solitary point it provided.

Down to 10 men and facing a penalty deep into first-half stoppage time, with the Kop at its loudest, this game could have gotten away from Chelsea quickly.

Mo Salah swept home the spot kick to equalise Kai Havertz’s opener and the stadium was ready to pop.

Chelsea’s players were furious as Reece James was red-carded for a handball on the line he knew nothing about and required referee Anthony Taylor to review at pitch-side after VAR had deemed it too close to call.

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The penalty award was one thing. The sending off felt particularly harsh.

Tuchel was foaming at the mouth himself, which is why it is so remarkable he managed to get his emotions in check during the half-time and reorganise team so quickly.

As if to add salt to the wounds, the best player on the pitch, N’Golo Kante, was also forced off at the break with an injury.

Lesser teams would have crumbled. But not this team. Not this Chelsea.

It was uncomfortable. It was seat-of-your-pants stuff at times as Liverpool completely dominated possession and the flow of the game from start to finish of the second half. But when the final whistle blew, it was hard to recall too many clear-cut chances that Chelsea were forced to repel.

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If anything, they were left wondering what if after Romelu Lukaku saw an effort blocked from close range.


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