Frank Lampard claimed that the decision to send Andreas Christensen off in Chelsea’s loss to Liverpool was not as clearcut as others believe.
Christensen was given his marching orders for hauling down Sadio Mane when the Liverpool attacker was bursting towards goal just before half-time.
It was a game-changing moment, as Chelsea immediately suffered the consequences after the break when Mane scored a brace. There was no way back for Chelsea – who also missed a penalty when Alisson Becker saved Jorginho’s effort – and so it finished 2-0 to their visitors.
However, Lampard was taking plenty of positives from the game, insisting that the outcome could have been different if they had finished with 11 players.
He told Match of the Day: “For chances the first half was very even. The red card changes the face of the game, the talk I do at half-time, it forces me into a reshuffle and it was always going to be difficult after that.
“I think it could be given or not. I was perhaps surprised it was given as a yellow first. If it was given as a red straight away and you continue with that.”
While Chelsea eventually suffered their first defeat of the season, after beating Brighton on Monday, Lampard thought their performance levels improved.
“I’m actually happier in many ways than I was after Brighton on Monday,” he insisted. “It was a game of spirit and character and lots of individuals showed me good things today.
“I thought we could get higher up the pitch and would have done with 11. I was concerned with how we would defend our box, first half we were brilliant at doing it but the red card changed the whole course of the game.”
LAMPARD REACTS TO KEPA ERROR
Another game-changing moment was a mistake by Kepa Arrizabalaga which gifted Liverpool their second goal.
The goalkeeper has been under a lot of pressure recently, with Chelsea keen to sign Edouard Mendy from Rennes to provide tougher competition for the number one spot.
And Kepa did his credentials of retaining his place no favours by sloppily giving the ball away to Mane, who converted to give Liverpool daylight.
Lampard admits it was a big mistake from the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, but pointed out that it was another sign of how close they came to getting a point.
“Big mistake,” he said. “Clear mistake and when you reflect on the half without the mistake and the penalty we draw the game 1-1.”