Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Reds player ratings
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with a point and shut down suggestions the Reds should have defeated Chelsea because they had one extra player on the pitch for the second half. Liverpool could only draw 1-1 against their title rivals at Anfield on Saturday evening but Klopp says it was not an advantage playing against 10 men after the interval.
Liverpool were unable to grind Chelsea down despite the visitors seeing Reece James dismissed for a handball on the line before half-time. His intervention stopped Sadio Mane from equalising for the home side.
But Mohamed Salah stepped up to level from the penalty spot and cancel out Kai Havertz’s terrific header which had given Chelsea the lead at the Kop end.
The Reds came flying out of the blocks in the second half and looked eager to press on for a statement victory but were unable to find a way past a resilient Chelsea with Edouard Mendy making several fine saves.
Champions League holders Chelsea held their own superbly as Liverpool’s energy levels dropped after the hour mark and the home team ultimately failed to create clear enough opportunities to take the full three points.
That means they are level with West Ham, Chelsea and Everton on seven points after three games with Tottenham able to leapfrog the quartet on Sunday against Watford. Manchester United can join them on seven points if they beat Wolves.
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Yet Klopp insisted afterwards that he was fine with the end result and dismissed any claims Liverpool should be overly disappointed not to have won because of how well and how deep Chelsea defended after the break.
He said to Sky Sports post-match: “I saw a really exciting game. It was tough, it was hard for both teams. It was a really good first half, really good.
“We played a good 45 minutes. With the first situation of Chelsea, we conceded a goal, that’s not cool.
“Everyone who watches the Premier League or Chelsea knows they’re pretty good in defending. It was clear it doesn’t help us. The goal we scored, penalty we got, was obviously very deserved.
“I feel for Reece but it was tricky but it was a clear penalty. We forced the situation. We had a big chance with Hendo [Jordan Henderson], a sensational pass from Trent [Alexander-Arnold].
“We played good. Second half, everybody thinks ‘against 10 men, come on…’ and this kind of stuff and this is the first problem you have.
“There is no advantage. There’s an advantage if they have possession, you have to outnumber and defend them top level [but then you can counter].
“But the defensive structure changed only that they defended slightly deeper. They have eight players defending the area around the box.
“We couldn’t use that. We had shots from distance, Mendy saved them. I would have loved to see that we were a little bit closer for the rebound or whatever.
“But again, a good game, a highly intense game. I loved the intensity and the atmosphere we created all together, the people in the stands and on the pitch.
“Chelsea deserved a draw. We got a point as well so we’re better than before.”
Klopp continued: “I don’t know how the result would’ve been 11 vs 11. It’s 1-1, that’s really OK. It’s really early in the season.
“We drew against the best team of last year in Europe. That’s OK. That’s a good start. Three games played, seven points, let’s go. I’m not surprised or whatever. We’re in a good shape.
“We just have to carry on. There’s no easy games. The Sunday [after the international break] we play Leeds United. That’s one of the most intense games in the world of football. They run like madness. You have to put a proper shift in.
“In the moment if we would play next week, we’d say ‘Oh yeah, let’s go.’ But we have to see how the players come back. That’s always tricky. Let’s pray they come back healthy and then we will go.”
Harvey Elliott was a surprise starter in midfield and the teenager again impressed across the 90 minutes having been the standout performer against Burnley in the previous match.
Klopp added: “Really good. Really good. The triangle on the right side works quite well, the understanding between Mo [Salah], Trent and Harvey is really good.
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“Harvey just looked completely fine [that’s why he played the full 90]. I couldn’t see any exhaustion. He always had the ball and was trying to get through this wall.
“Hendo had not really a [proper] pre-season. He played last week, it was absolutely too early but he did his job great. Today I wanted his energy, a week further on so that helped. He played a super game but then step by step, same for Robbo [Andy Robertson], they tired and we needed fresh legs.”
Roberto Firmino was forced off through injury in the first half with Diogo Jota replacing him and Klopp confirmed he believes the Brazilian has suffered a muscle issue.
Asked if Firmino was OK, he continued: “Not really. I think Bobby probably has a muscle problem. I hope it’s not too big.”
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