Chelsea battled back from two goals down in an intense first half to earn a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in a result more beneficial for Manchester City than either’s title aspirations.
Chelsea should have had the lead when Trent Alexander-Arnold misplaced a clearance in his own box, but Caoimhin Kelleher got his hand to the ball before Christian Pulisic could shoot to punish him.
Moments later, Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead after capitalising on a mistake from Trevoh Chalobah at the other end. And it became 2-0 when Mohamed Salah cleverly finished at Edouard Mendy’s near post.
But Chelsea pulled one back before the break when man of the match Mateo Kovacic volleyed through the ball with his laces from outside the box, sending it off the post and in first time. And they struck again quickly after when Pulisic chested the ball down and finished with a cushioned strike.
The second half wasn’t quite as frantic and there was no change to the scoreline despite a few attempts.
It means Man City are 10 points clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Liverpool are one further behind, albeit with a game in hand.
Both sides will have plenty of energy to recover after what was an intense game for both sets of players.
Edouard Mendy: Although beaten at his near post by Salah’s goal, Mendy was otherwise on good form. He made a good save to deny the Egyptian in the second half when he could have been caught off his line and was generally in control of his area. 7
Trevoh Chalobah: At fault for the opening goal by failing to deal with the ball at his feet. He settled down to make an important challenge one on one with Salah later in the half. 6
Thiago Silva: Showed calmness and control from the back, displaying a good range of passing. Confidence personified. 8
Antonio Rudiger: Won the ball back at the start of the move that sparked Chelsea’s second goal on the stroke of half time after previously putting in a couple of decent challenges. The defender was involved in a competitive battle with his former Roma teammate Salah and despite his opponent scoring, won it on the whole. 8
Cesar Azpilicueta: Featuring as a wing-back due to Reece James being injured, Chelsea’s captain got a couple of crosses in from his different angle. 6
N’Golo Kante: As expected, he covered a lot of ground but not just out of possession, also venturing forward on the ball. 7
Mateo Kovacic: Busy in midfield and energetic, Kovacic tried to get on the ball frequently. He certainly made the most of it when it dropped to him on the edge of the box for his goal, which was a stunning strike. 9
The start of Chelsea's fightback…💪
Kovacic got their first goal of the match with an absolute stunner! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/EvhnFEnTHF
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 2, 2022
Marcos Alonso: Had a chance towards the 20th minute on the volley, but got his strike wrong and should have crossed back across goal anyway. It wasn’t the only example of him making the wrong decision in the final third. 5
Mason Mount: Subject of a VAR check in the first half for appearing to kick out at Kostas Tsimikas, Mount was allowed to stay on the pitch. He didn’t do a great deal to affect things, though. 6
Christian Pulisic: Missed the first big chance of the game due to a lack of quick decision making, but was an occasional threat with his dribbling ability. In addition, his goal was well taken. 7
Kai Havertz: Starting up front with Romelu Lukaku left out following a controversial interview, Havertz didn’t get many shooting chances. However, he still put himself about. 6
Jorginho (on for Chalobah, 70 mins): His introduction prompted a slight system change by Chelsea, but it didn’t quite pay off. 6
Callum Hudson-Odoi (on for Havertz, 79): Tried to get in behind during his brief stint on the pitch. 6
Caoimhin Kelleher: With Alisson Becker out due to a suspected positive Covid-19 case, Kelleher deputised in goal and made a good start with his thwarting of a huge early chance for Pulisic. He also made a point-blank save in the second half in a good cameo. 8
Trent Alexander-Arnold: His range was a bit off in the first 20 minutes, before he smartly set up Salah with a dinked pass for the second goal. From then on, he continued to provide his side with outlets. The full-back made good use of the ball. 8
Ibrahima Konate: Replacing Covid-positive Joel Matip in defence, the summer signing was involved in a few duels. He was booked late on. 6
Virgil van Dijk: Showing strength in the air and on the deck, the Dutch centre-half was hard to get past, but occasionally looked at risk of not keeping up with the tides of Chelsea attacks. 7
Kostas Tsimikas: Continuing to fill in for the suspended Andy Robertson, Tsimikas was busy in both phases of the game. He pulled one shot wide from outside the box. 7
Fabinho: Sometimes looked a little off the pace but found a way to recover and regain control. 6
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Jordan Henderson: Helped Liverpool continue their momentum and intensity when transitioning from the defensive to attacking phases. The captain went a bit quieter in the second half. 7
James Milner: The oldest player in the Liverpool lineup was up to the pace of the game early on, putting in several combative challenges. His intensity faded a bit before his withdrawal in the second half. 7
Mohamed Salah: Returning to Stamford Bridge, Salah bamboozled his former club with the second goal of the afternoon. He didn’t have too many openings after. 7
Diogo Jota: Trying to be a driving force for Liverpool going forward, his touch was good but chances were limited. 6
Sadio Mane: Booked just a few seconds in for colliding with Azpilicueta’s face, Chelsea felt he may have been lucky to stay on the pitch. He caused them a couple of problems after as he tried to exploit spaces, getting the first goal for example, but had few chances overall. 6
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Jota, 69): Went up front to replace Jota. 6
Naby Keita (on for Milner, 69): Brought an alteration of intensity by trying to dribble at different angles. 6
Curtis Jones (on for Mane, 90): N/A