Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Two points dropped - The story of our season continues!
Asmir Begovic had a moment of madness that has cost Chelsea three points here at Anfield tonight...
Asmir Begovic had a moment of madness that has cost Chelsea three points here at Anfield tonight and despite that moment two minutes into injury time, I couldn't see Liverpool scoring in fact I had Chelsea down for a clean sheet on my daily acca here. Eden Hazard's amazing solo goal should have won it for us.
Guus Hiddink decided to change his team about due to injuries to Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic. In came Baba Rahman and Betrand Traore with Thibaut Courtois then being withdrawn due to a mystery illness, as a result a third change was made with Asmir Begovic starting in goal.
John Obi Mikel was moved to centre back alongside Captain for the night Gary Cahill with Cesar Azpilicueta and Baba Rahman playing either side of them. Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas anchored our midfield with Willian, Hazard and Pedro supporting Traore up top.
Now we know that at Anfield, Liverpool will create openings and chances in the game and as expected, the hosts started the better of the two sides and but for a Baba Rahman block from close range, Liverpool could have a taken an early lead. However, the game began to turn after fifteen minutes as Chelsea began to string their passes together and grow into the game.
Yes, they still created one or two worrying moments with Begovic and our back four being tested, but Chelsea more importantly were doing the same. Our passing last night was crisp and sharp and we look somewhere near where we should have been all season.
Pedro and Willian were busy down the wings but it was Eden Hazard operating as a number ten that was causing Liverpool all sorts of problems. He popped up at times down either side, through the middle or dropping off deep to collect the ball and the hosts midfield didn't know who was to mark him. Skipping passed challenges as he had done throughout last season, Hazard's in-game confidence was growing and it became more than apparent with a goal that has to be right up there with the best he has ever scored for Chelsea. Picking the ball up out wide, he turns back inside and beats five defenders before placing the ball inside the far corner to make it 0-1 Chelsea.
The hosts looked stunned and so do Jurgen Klopp on the sidelines doing his pieces at his players for either giving the ball away or not playing anywhere near what they are capable of. Chelsea were comfortable and headed into half time with their tails up.
Second half and no changes and it's clear from the early moments that this is going to be end-to-end football. Liverpool come forward and have a go and Eden Hazard looks for space to collect the ball and start a Chelsea counter attack when we win possession.
It's worth noting that Liverpool had caused us some moments of concern as they failed to play that killer ball in the box or, failing to take chances from close range. Chelsea were standing firm and were defending resolute, as I said it didn't look like they would score.
With Bertrand Traore linking up really well with our midfield, we always looked a threat and Mignolet was forced into saves from Pedro and Traore on the break. We just couldn't capitalise on a clear cut opportunity late on for Pedro as Hazard played him in on goal. As a defender gets back to challenge him, he cuts the ball back inside and fires low down only for Mignolet to save low down and deny the Spaniard for a second time.
As the later the game moved on in the half, Liverpool were coming forward in wave after wave but Begovic dealt with balls into the box and shots from range easily enough. Danny Sturridge also forced Begovic into action from close range and he came off his line and blocked his effort to deny him.
Chelsea bring Tammy Abraham and Kenedy on for Traore and Willian and both work hard tracking back but also look to get forward when they can. However it was the Liverpool substitute Christian Benteke who came on and made a difference as Asmir Begovic in a moment of madness, palms a high ball into the box; literally under no pressure at all, straight onto the head of Benteke and he nods the ball into the net from three yards! 1-1 and not what the home side deserved.
It was tough on Chelsea because we had played well and at times had passed them off the pitch. We looked like a good side again and team with attacking threat and substance once again. Cesc Fabregas played it simple tonight and it was easy, Nemanja Matic played well with Cahill and Mikel dealing with anything that come their way easily enough.
Eden Hazard was quite simply outstanding tonight and his goal was worthy enough to win any game let alone this one. It's just a shame that Begovic had to spoil his night.
This was tough on Chelsea but pretty much sums up our season doesn't it!
We move on to (and) Leicester at home on Sunday!