Chelsea 1 Cahill 10'
After a string matches of against lesser competition to start the pre-season, Liverpool looked to step up their level of play against Chelsea at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, before a reported crowd of over 53,000. Instead, both sides locked into a dull affair more notable for the fouls and injuries that occurred than the on-field performance.
From the onset, it was clear that discipline would play a major role in the game. Alberto Moreno received a yellow card in the sixth minute to become the first of five Reds to be booked. That's what happens when you pit two league rivals against each other, even in the pre-season. Hopefully the extra cash was worth it.
Cesc Fabregas committed the most egregious challenge of the night with a late two-legged slide into the legs of Ragnar Klavan, who was lucky to walk away without serious injury. The foul earned a straight red card, which you don't often see in an early pre-season affair.
Liverpool fell behind early in the 10th minute when Gary Cahill beat Roberto Firmino and Marko Grujic in the air to head in a corner. Besides that lapse, though, the Reds defended well and prevented Chelsea from establishing any sort of attacking flow. Klavan was especially solid at the back, showing that he's capable of stepping into the lineup when needed.
Going forward, Liverpool demonstrated an ability to perform skilled individual dribbles in and around the box but lacked consistency in the passing game, which stunted their attacking forays. Still, the moves in tight spaces from players like Ovie Ejaria and Sadio Mané were impressive and on multiple occasions led to decent opportunities.
In the 36th minute, the Reds had a double back-heel assisted goal from Firmino waved off due to a narrow offside call. But for the most part, they found it difficult to break down a Chelsea side that opted to sit back and defend after taking the early lead. Even when up a man for the final 20 minutes, it never seemed likely that they would score.
Liverpool players suffered injury scares on either side of half time, as both Marko Grujic and Dejan Lovren went down with head injuries. They were taken out to be safe, but it's unclear the extent of their problems.
Fortunately we can forget about this game soon, as Liverpool aim to regain their form against AC Milan on Saturday.