Liverpool 1 - Chelsea 1
Chelsea: Hazard 25’
Liverpool: Sturridge 89’
Life is often about moments. A birthday party. A first kiss. A car crash. A graduation. The moments in life serve as a marker for us to look back on periods of life and smile or frown, depending on the moments. Surrounding all of the moments is the prodding, the hardship, and the mundane that most of our lives are. Before the first kiss was the full day of work at the job you hated. Before the graduation came years of assignments you can’t soon forget. But the moments give you a chance to remember all of it.
Daniel Sturridge gave us a moment in the 89th minute of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea this evening. What a moment is was too. It was a moment in the match. It was a moment in Liverpool’s season. And, it was a moment in Sturridge’s complex career. With that moment, Liverpool got the goal that gave them the draw they deserved. With that moment, Liverpool stay unbeaten, even on points at the top of the table with juggernauts Manchester City. It was also the moment Daniel Sturridge netted his 50th career Premier League goal, becoming the fastest player in minutes played to reach that milestone. A moment indeed.
The moment is the headline of that match, but it gave us so much more than that. It was an exhilarating, fast paced 90 minutes of football. One that makes you glad to be alive; glad to be in the moment. Before the match, I was confident that Liverpool would prove a point. Wednesday’s result wasn’t ideal, but it was what it was. I thought the Reds would break the dam and put in a classic performance against a top 6 side that we’ve come to love from Jurgen Klopp. That prediction clearly came from underestimating Liverpool’s opponent.
Chelsea are a very good side. Eden Hazard is very, very good a player. The first half proved both of those propositions to be true. It was a first half that had a fair balance of chances for both teams. Liverpool were probably the better of the two teams, but not by much because Chelsea were right there. Willian gets in behind and Alisson makes the save that we never made before. Having this conversation would be moot if Mo Salah puts away one or two of the half dozen chances he had in the opening 45 minutes. I don’t know if anything is “wrong” with Salah, he’s still an amazing player clearly, but I know for sure that something isn’t “right” with him. But that’s okay, because it won’t last forever.
And then there’s the moment. It’s Eden Hazard against Liverpool, after all. In the 25th minute, Chelsea work the ball around the middle of the pitch and Mateo Kovacic plays a beautiful ball to Hazard, and with an impossible angle Hazard puts it just past the fingers of Alisson. Nothing is impossible with Hazard. Can Bayern or Real Madrid or whoever just buy him already? I’m tired of him doing that against Liverpool.
Alas, as mentioned, Liverpool had their chances in the first half but couldn't find an equalizer. It was a very good game between two very good teams, after all. The second half belonged to Chelsea, but just slightly. Liverpool’s attack was prodding and searching, especially late on in the half. It felt like Liverpool could play another 90 minutes and nothing would go in.
And then the moment happens. It starts as if it’s just another prodding, frustrating attack with Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri doing some light passing drills in the center of the pitch. Sturridge picks it up from 25 yards out, takes a touch to his left and curls it past Kepa Arrizabalaga’s hand. Bang. Scenes. The arms dance.
On the whole, I think a draw is fair. Alisson “Pretty in Pink” Becker keeps two goals out. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were fantastic at the back. The midfield struggles. Salah has an off day, and Sadio Mane was involved but not enough at times. Roberto Firmino remains our most important player for the thankless role he has off the ball.
I can’t see the future. If I could, I’m probably not writing the words you’re reading right now. I can only hope in things that I can’t yet see. I hope that this moment is something we look back on in May.
Up the Wriggly Arms Dance Reds. Onto Napoli.