Big performances in defensive third as Chelsea resistance frustrates Liverpool in draw – player ratings

Date published: Saturday 28th August 2021 7:29 - Samuel Bannister

Reece James red card incident in Liverpool v Chelsea as Diogo Jota shoots

Chelsea clung on to a hard-earned point after going a man down against Liverpool, whose pressure could not quite pay off in a 1-1 draw.

 

 

Chelsea took the lead through a sublime Kai Havertz header after a corner, but lost control of the game when Reece James was sent off for a handball that led to a Liverpool penalty. Mohamed Salah converted the resulting spot kick.

After the break, Liverpool were on top, making the most of their extra man. However, Chelsea defended resiliently and had their goalkeeper to thank for some crucial interventions too.

Liverpool

Alisson Becker: Commanded not just his area, but the defensive third by coming off his line to make a headed clearance around the 20th minute. After the break, punched crosses clear and retained control of his territory. 8/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold: Floated in an exceptional cross for a chance that his captain couldn’t make the most of. Still confident in possession and created a few more opportunities. Got up and down the flank well. 7

Joel Matip: Started fairly well before losing a few battles with Romelu Lukaku, who held him off with ease. Was fine on the ball, but sometimes outmuscled off it, until getting his confidence back as the clock ticked down. 6

Virgil van Dijk: Strong enough in a tough battle, while not winning every duel. Building up his confidence, carried the ball into the opposition half and even tested the keeper with a decent shot from outside the box. 7

Andy Robertson: Returning to the starting lineup, took his time to grow into the game but began to pick out some crosses. 6

Fabinho: One of three changes made by Jurgen Klopp, looked a bit clumsy with a couple of early fouls, but reminded of his quality on the ball by finding his range of passing. Became better in this department in the second half and also tried his luck with a powerful shot. 6

Jordan Henderson: Wasted a big chance after being set up by Alexander-Arnold in the air, seemingly caught in two minds. Struggled to settle on the ball, too, in terms of his passing. Calmed down in the second half by taking more control and went close with a curling effort from outside the box. 6

Jordan Henderson on the ball during game between Liverpool and Chelsea

Harvey Elliott: Awarded a start in a bigger game after impressing against Burnley last week. Showed his confidence by taking Liverpool’s first shot from outside the box early on. A good chance fell to him in the box 10 minutes before the break, but he scooped it over. Began to fall off the pace early in the second half but regained his rhythm in a positive sign of his mentality. 7

Mohamed Salah: Created danger after Liverpool went behind with a low inswinging cross, but it led to little. Smashed in the penalty that Liverpool equalised with on the verge of half-time, but missed a chance or two to win it in the second half. 7

Roberto Firmino: Worked hard off the ball in the first half but had to be taken off shortly before half time. 6

Sadio Mane: Showed endeavour and worked hard both in and out of possession, even when space was limited. His instinct inspired the penalty that Liverpool won – and Salah converted – on the stroke of half-time. 8

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota (on for Firmino, 43 mins): Directly replaced Firmino in a flexible central attacking position, trying to see some of the ball. Set up Salah with a good pass after bringing the ball down on a counter attack, but his teammate couldn’t capitalise. Forced a good tip over from Mendy with a looping header in the last minute. 7

Thiago Alcantara (on for Henderson, 74 mins): Provided calmness on the ball as Liverpool began to push for a breakthrough. 6

Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, ): N/A.


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Chelsea

Edouard Mendy: Regularly alert, confidently swept up danger inside and outside his box and claimed a number of crosses. Kept busy when his outfield teammates reduced in number by one, stopping a surprise shot from van Dijk and a powerful effort from Fabinho among others. 9

Cesar Azpilicueta: Popped up with the occasional timely intervention and was a combative presence in the defensive third. Swept up well. 7

Andreas Christensen: Deployed in the middle of Chelsea’s back three, quickly asserted his presence by cutting out crosses on the ground and in the air. Made a good tackle to stop a Jota dribble towards the end of the first half. Remained dominant after the break, keeping the hosts at bay with an immense performance. 9

Antonio Rudiger: Aerially alert to thwart danger early in the second half and was confident in ground duels also. Kept his composure as Liverpool kept knocking at the door late on. 8

Reece James: Sent in the corner that led to Chelsea’s opener. Just before the break, made a double block on the goalline – although with the help of his hand, which earned him a red card and Liverpool the penalty that prompted their equaliser. 6

Jorginho: Useful in possession before the break, but started the second half in sluggish fashion and looked like getting overrun a few times. Recovered with some better passes, but has had better games. 5

N’Golo Kante: Covered the ground required of him, winning the ball to thwart what could have been a major Liverpool chance midway through the first half. Taken off at half-time after James’ red card prompted a reshuffle. 7

Marcos Alonso: Competent going forward but vacated spaces defensively at times, although he made a few recoveries. 6

Mason Mount: Twisted Matip inside out with a brilliant turn in the first half and continued to cause problems for the opposing defence. Could have doubled Chelsea’s lead with a cross-goal effort in the 35th minute but began to fade as Chelsea became stretched. 7

Kai Havertz: Gave Chelsea the lead in the 21st minute with an outstanding backwards and looping header into the far corner. Continued to be a menace until Thomas Tuchel took him off at half-time to get extra defensive cover. 7

Romelu Lukaku: Wasteful with an early chance, but became more dangerous over time, causing issues for van Dijk and Matip with his strength and power. Became hard for him to make as much of an impact in the second half with one teammate less. 6

Substitutes:

Mateo Kovacic (on for Kante, half-time): Got involved early after coming on, showing a willingness for possession. 7

Thiago Silva (on for Havetz, half-time): Slotted into the defence to restore some stability at the break. 6

Trevoh Chalobah (on for Jorginho, 87): N/A. 

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