Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Willian denies Mo Salah the winner at Anfield
By Peter Smith at Anfield
Last Updated: 25/11/17 10:42pm
Willian's fortunate late equaliser earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw at Liverpool, after Mo Salah had opened the scoring against his former club.
The Brazilian substitute needed just 144 seconds on the field to make the impact boss Antonio Conte was looking for, with his attempted cross sailing over the head of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and into the far corner on 85 minutes.
Salah, who tops the Premier League scoring charts, continued his fine form by coolly slotting his 10th goal of the campaign past Chelsea 'keeper Thibaut Courtois on 65 minutes. And he was almost the hero with a last-gasp strike from the edge of the box which was brilliantly parried away by Courtois.
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Milner (6), Coutinho (6), Salah (8), Gomez (7), Henderson (7), Sturridge (6), Klavan (6), Moreno (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Matip (6).
Subs: Wijnaldum (6), Mane (6), Lallana (6)
Chelsea: Courtois (7), Alonso (6), Drinkwater (6), Kante (7), Morata (6), Hazard (7), Bakayoko (6), Zappacosta (7), Cahill (6), Christensen (6), Azpilicueta (7)
Subs: Fabregas (7) , Willian (8), Pedro (6).
Man of the match: Salah (Liverpool)
But Liverpool will be left to rue a missed opportunity to move level on points with the third-placed Londoners and remain in fifth after being pegged back.
The visitors had the best of the first half, with Mignolet sharp to parry powerful drives from Eden Hazard and Davide Zappacosta either side of a brave dive at the feet of Danny Drinkwater, and Liverpool were fortunate to survive a goalmouth scramble on 24 minutes, when Gary Cahill missed his kick from six yards out.
Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both started with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino dropping to the bench, while Alberto Moreno maintained his place despite his midweek struggles against Sevilla. For Chelsea, Danny Drinkwater replaced Cesc Fabregas in the starting line-up, while Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill came in in for David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger.
Salah provided Liverpool's prime threat in the opening 45, twice shooting off target from the edge of the box, but he had his say shortly after the hour mark, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deflected Philippe Coutinho's pass into his path.
That looked like it would be the winner, with Alvaro Morata and Alonso spurning good openings, but while Liverpool fans cheered the return of Adam Lallana from injury, it was another substitute, Willian, who made the difference in the closing minutes.
Man of the match - Mo Salah
Mo Salah was Liverpool's most dangerous player all evening and kept up his superb scoring streak with a neat finish. He came close twice from the edge of the box in the first-half and could have added a second on the break late in the second. With 10 Premier League goals already this season, he's looking like the signing of the summer - and once again showed Chelsea what they let go.
Jurgen Klopp: "It was a good game, very intense game. Very difficult for us against a very strong Chelsea team with quite a different approach. Deep defending and then giving the ball to Eden Hazard...Everything was good until Willian crossed the ball, still most parts of the game were good but it doesn't feel as good."
Antonio Conte: "I think we were unlucky, if you see the dynamic of their goal. But at the same time I'm very happy to see a good reaction of my players. A great desire, a great will to fight, a great desire to not accept the result against Liverpool. We tried to win the game. We must be pleased despite the draw."
Liverpool have conceded just two goals in their last nine Premier League games at Anfield, but these goals have cost them a total of four points (1-1 vs Burnley, 1-1 vs Chelsea).
Of the 19 sides Antonio Conte has faced in the Premier League as a manager, Liverpool are the only side he has not beaten in the competition.
Salah also became the 20th different player to score a Premier League goal against Chelsea having previously appeared for the Blues in the competition.
Liverpool travel to Stoke on Wednesday and are away to Brighton on Saturday. Chelsea, meanwhile, host Swansea on Wednesday before entertaining Newcastle live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.