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EPL: Chelsea hold Liverpool

Chelsea and Liverpool shared the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 clash.

The result dented the title hopes of both teams as Manchester City went 10 points clear at the top of the table. 

Going into this match, both teams knew they needed a win to keep up with the Citizens, who stretched their winning run to 11 games after snatching a late victory at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon against a resilient Arsenal. 

Liverpool had a number of high profile absentees as manager Jurgen Klopp tested positive for covid alongside Alisson, Joel Matip, and Roberto Firmino. 

They could have lost Sadio Mane early in the match as well as his raised arm caught Cesar Azpilicueta in the sixth second and the Blues camp urged the referee to send the Senegal international off. 

But Anthony Taylor felt the challenge was not serious enough for a red card, and showed a yellow instead, making Thomas Tuchel wildly agitated on the touchline. 

Lukaku dropped

Before the match, Romelu Lukaku’s omission from the squad dominated the headlines.

Tuchel said he did not want to distract his team with unwanted attention before such an important game.

So, he chose to keep the Belgian, who had publicly expressed his disapproval of Tuchel’s tactics a few days ago, out of the squad. 

As the match progressed, the media attention completely shifted towards the game as the teams threw everything at each other, making it one of the most thrilling Premier League matches of the season. 

Mane draws first blood

Mohamed Salah tested Edouard Mendy on Chelsea goal before Sadio Mane capitalised on a Trevoh Chalobah error to make it 1-0 for Liverpool. 

In the 26th minute, Salah scored his 16th Premier League goal of the season as he latched on to a Trent Alexander-Arnold pass, left Marcus Alonso for dead with his incredible hip movement, and fired a ball into the net well beyond the reach of Mendy. 

Despite going two goals down before the half an hour mark, Chelsea did not lose spirit and continued to surge forward. 

After Chalobah brilliantly stopped Salah from extending the Reds lead, Chelsea found a way back into the match through Mateo Kovacic. 

Caoimhin Kelleher had a rare outing since Alisson could not make the trip to Stamford Bridge.

The young keeper made some good saves in the match, but he had no answer for Kovacic’s 20-yard screamer that sailed into the far corner of the net.

Four minutes later, the Stamford Bridge erupted as Christian Pulisic drew the scores level.

N’Golo Kante released the American into the Liverpool attacking third, and he made no mistake to make it 2-2. 

Mendy shows his class

The second half was relatively mundane compared to the high-octane action of the first half.

Salah attempted to score a long-ranger after finding Mendy off his lines, but the Chelsea custodian made a wonderful save to direct Salah’s effort over the crossbar.

He then made another save from Mane to prevent Liverpool from restoring their lead. 

Alonso rued overpowering his shot over the crossbar.

The Spaniard was involved in another big chance for Chelsea in the second half, but Pulisic could not make the best out of Alonso’s inviting cross inside the Liverpool box.

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