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Chelsea 1, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

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Points shared at Stamford Bridge as two captains used their heads.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

liverpool blog fc sbn

Chelsea 1 Terry 5'
Liverpool 1 Gerrard 44'

  • Pre-match thoughts: The Premier League champions against the Champions League hopefuls. A world renowned master versus a talented apprentice with much to learn. Manchester United secured a hard-fought victory away to Crystal Palace, so anything less than a win will completely extinguish Liverpool's faint dreams of the land of milk and honey. Rodgers' line-up was puzzling, but unsurprisingly so.

  • The game started with Steven Gerrard chants, a couple of robust challenges from Chelsea on Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, and a headed goal from John Terry. Set piece joy and far too easy for the Premier League champions.

  • Chelsea's long passing looked to be a potential weapon early on and released the quick Loïc Rémy with Dejan Lovren napping. Simon Mignolet thwarted the French striker from doubling Chelsea's lead with a little over ten minutes on the clock.

  • Liverpool showed a bright spark on 15 minutes after Emre Can played a clever pass to Raheem Sterling, suffering no ill-effects from an early knock on his ankle from a surprisingly over-committed Cesc Fàbregas, who ran at Chelsea's defenders with space ahead of him before dragging a low shot wide of Thibaut Courtois' goal.

  • On 32 minutes, Henderson played an excellent through ball to Rickie Lambert who would have had a clear one-on-one with Courtois if he had the pace and the anticipation necessary to profit.

  • Liverpool equalised through a set-piece and another header from Steven Gerrard who temporarily silenced the taunts from the home crowd. Two in two from the captain who was unmarked at the back post.

  • Half-time thoughts: Liverpool didn't do too badly in the first half and were competitive against the champions. The right flank was an area that Chelsea attacked frequently, testing Can's positional awareness in the position. Brendan Rodgers could look to taking off Rickie Lambert for more pace in the middle to threaten John Terry and half-time substitute Gary Cahill.

  • Coutinho fired wide with Courtois beaten just after the restart as Liverpool started the second half brightly. Adam Lallana scuffed his shot across goal shortly before Sterling's approach play created an opportunity for Coutinho.

  • Willian fizzed the ball across the goal on 55 minutes, but Liverpool were troubling Chelsea with the movement and interplay between Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling with Jordon Ibe on the bench and Lazar Marković out of the squad. Who needs Memphis Depay? 

  • Nemanja Matić's arrival on the hour mark for 19-year-old Premier League debutant Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a sign of José Mourinho's concern with 30 minutes to go.

  • On 67 minutes, Rodgers made the most sensible substitution available by bringing on young Jerome Sinclair for Rickie Lambert for the 18-year-old's first senior appearance in the Premier League. Jordon Ibe came on for the bright but tiring Adam Lallana. Interestingly, Chelsea took control of the midfield soon after and pressed for a goal through Eden Hazard and Fàbregas.

  • Lucas Leiva replaced Steven Gerrard with just over ten minutes to go. The captain was booed by the majority of the stadium but was roundly applauded by the two opposing managers. To the credit of some Chelsea supporters, they joined the away support in clapping Gerrard off when they didn't have to.

  • A late deflected shot from Coutinho trickled to Courtois, Henderson's snap shot from outside the area went wide, but Liverpool couldn't find a winner in a game that petered out in intensity. Jordon Ibe, who switched to the right, beat two players to get into the area but took on a third instead of finding a red shirt.

  • Full-time thoughts: Points shared in a solid performance that the initial line-up did not suggest, but Champions League qualification is impossible with Manchester United six points ahead with two games remaining. The sizeable goal difference gap makes it effectively seven. A win seals fifth, which Liverpool should be able to achieve. A striker remains a priority.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.