Thomas Tuchel's decision to drop Romelu Lukaku following the airing of a controversial interview this week dominated pre-match discussions before it was revealed Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip had joined Jurgen Klopp in being ruled out of the contest with suspected positive Covid tests.
Sadio Mane gave the visitors the perfect start, however, with a well-taken opening goal before Mohamed Salah doubled the Reds' lead with a fine run and finish.
Mateo Kovacic went one better, though, finding the net with a sumptuous volley from the edge of the area before Christian Pulisic netted what proved to be the equaliser just before half-time.
Both teams pushed for winners in the second period but it wasn't to be with the main beneficiaries proving to be title rivals Manchester City, who now sit 10 points clear at the top of the table.
Thomas Tuchel: Romelu Lukaku ‘will stay our player'
“He’s our player, he will stay our player. We will always protect our players and when we make decisions like this, first we need to evaluate the situation, not listen to the media but understand what he said and why he said it.
“If the decision is he’s good to go for Wednesday for the Tottenham match, this is the decision.
“But I cannot tell you right now because we need to talk and understand the situation better.
“There’s no doubt he will stay our player, and we have to protect our players.”
More from Thomas Tuchel:
Chelsea’s record signing was left out of the draw with Liverpool over comments made in an interview in Italy
Virgil van Dijk on Liverpool’s chances in title race
“Never difficult to believe.
“It is a big gap, they have the title maybe to lose at the moment, but anything can happen still.
“We have been there and gave it away, so anything is possible. We focus on ourselves, we just have to get results, play good football and win games.”
Virgil van Dijk reflects on giving up two-goal lead to draw
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports: “If you are 2-0 up, you don’t want to concede that close to half-time, give them the momentum to get back into the game.
“It happened – a fantastic strike [by Mateo Kovacic], you have to give him credit. That gives them momentum and they score the second.
“We tried not to panic and created fantastic moments even though we were under pressure.
“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them. They have an amazing team, so have we. I have a feeling we were under pressure at times but defended well as a team, didn’t give big chances away. I always had a feeling we could score for 3-2 but it didn't happen.”
Thomas Tuchel reacts to Sadio Mane booking for early foul
“I’m not a friend of early red cards, and I hate to say it because I love Mane...
“He should always be on the pitch because he’s a nice guy and a top, top player, but it’s a red card. I’m sorry.
“The elbow is in the face. It doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes; it’s a red card.”
Thomas Tuchel has had his say on Sadio Mane’s early booking for a foul against Cesar Azpilicueta.
Sadio Mane foul was ‘clear red’, says Cesar Azplicueta
Cesar Azpilicueta has said Liverpool forward Sadio Mane should have received a red card for his foul on the Chelsea defender in Sunday’s Premier League draw.
Mane leaped into Azpilicueta within the opening minute at Stamford Bridge, striking the Spain international in the face with his forearm.
Mane only received a yellow card following the incident, but Azpilicueta said after the 2-2 draw that the Senegal international should have been sent off for the foul.
“It’s a clear red,” Azpilicueta told Sky Sports. “I don’t mind if it’s five seconds into the game, it’s the first action and it’s a clear red.
“He doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball, he just wants to lead with the elbow. I honestly don’t understand it. We’ve had these types of decisions recently. The other day, we had two penalties where VAR wasn’t used.
“It was a clear red card and we’re getting these decisions against us, which could change the course of the games.”
More from Azpilicueta here:
Mane received a yellow card for an elbow into the Blues defender’s face in the opening minute
Pep Guardiola will be most satisfied viewer
“You have to be perfect,” Jurgen Klopp bluntly offered. “And if you’re not perfect, you have to hope Manchester City are not perfect.”
Pep Guardiola’s men were far from flawless at Arsenal, outplayed and fatigued on Saturday, yet they still exited the Emirates Stadium with three points.
So Chelsea and Liverpool primed for battle against each other to try and bite into City’s lead at the summit with a slight shrugging of the shoulders – What Can You Do? – and a heavy tinge of What Do We Have to Lose?
An exhilarating affair followed at Stamford Bridge, decorated by glorious goals from Mohamed Salah and Mateo Kovacic, with the other two scorers Sadio Mane and Christian Pulisic fortunate to have still been on the pitch.
A contest that was in danger of being dominated by a lengthy list of those not present instead became a celebration of breathless football by those involved. It was an epic for the ages, but the most satisfied viewer will have been Guardiola.
Full article here:
A match for the ages played out at Stamford Bridge, but high-scoring matches on edge is not how titles are won in the era of Guardiola’s Man City
‘That’s why Liverpool won’t win the league'
Jamie Carragher believes games like today are why Liverpool will not win the Premier League title this season.
Manchester City now sit 11 points ahead of Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side have a mountain to climb if they are going to haul in Pep Guardiola’s non-stop train.
FT: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
“A classic game for neutral fans, but also Manchester City. Both Chelsea and Liverpool put everything into this pulsating 2-2 draw, to the point the intensity just had to trail off, and it might mean the title race does too.
“It all means that City are 10 points clear of Chelsea with the same number of games played, and 11 of Liverpool with one more.”
Check out Miguel Delaney’s summary of events at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool: Manchester City emerged the happiest team after the two sides went toe to toe in a breathless game that neither could win
FT: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Here is the challenge. Make your own mind up.
FT: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta told Sky Sports: “Of course we’re disappointed as we were 2-0 down and we fought hard to come back. We wanted more but we never lost the trust when we were down. We scored amazing goals and we felt in the second half we could push for the third goal and the three points.”
On Mane’s booking after 15 seconds, he added: “It’s a clear red. I don’t mind if it’s five seconds into the game, it’s the first action and it’s a clear red.
“It doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball he just wants to lead with the elbow. I honestly don’t understand it. We’ve had these types of decisions recently. The other day, we had two penalties where VAR wasn’t used.
“It was a clear red card and we’re getting these decisions against us which could change the course of the games.”
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