Liverpool's perfect start to the Premier League season came to an end as they played out a thrilling 1-1 draw with Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Eden Hazard opened the scoring for the Blues and the Belgian's fine finish looked to be the difference between the two sides for the second time in a week, before Daniel Sturridge saved a point for the visitors with a stunning long range effort.
Both sides began well, with Chelsea slightly edging the play in the early stages. Both Mohamed Salah and Willian had chances to open the scoring for their respective teams, before Hazard finished off a beautiful team goal to give his side the lead.
Salah then had an effort cleared off the line, but Chelsea managed to keep the score at 1-0 heading into half time.
In the second half Liverpool pressed and Sadio Mane drew a fantastic save from Kepa after an hour, but Liverpool's pressure was largely met with tough resistance from Chelsea's defence.
Hazard should have doubled Chelsea's lead, before both Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Firmino missed chances to equalise - the former's opportunity much easier to convert than the latter's.
Is it too late for Salah to hand over his Puskas award to Sturridge?— Andrew Headspeath (@Andy_Headspeath) September 29, 2018
However, in the end it took an exceptional strike from Sturridge to finally beat Kepa and earn Jugren Klopp's side a point in an encounter that left both managers smiling at the end.
Here's our breakdown of this one:
Ahead of the match, much was said about Chelsea's defence and whether they could deal with the attacking threat of one of the most threatening offences in the league. Generally, they coped with Liverpool's forward play well, which was evident as Mohamed Salah was withdrawn after around 65 minutes.
David Luiz and Marcos Alonso occasionally looked shaky, with Salah almost capitalising on a lapse in concentration from the Brazilian. Chelsea's full backs certainly sat deeper as they prepared themselves for a tough afternoon, and they will be relatively happy with their performance.
The Blues were lucky at times, but the defence worked hard to try and protect their goal, and they came within minutes of keeping a clean sheet. However, there are some things you just can't defend against.
Starting XI: Kepa (7); Azpilicueta (7), Rudiger (7), Luiz (7), Alonso (6); Jorginho (7), Kante (7), Kovacic (7); Willian (6), Hazard (8), Giroud (7).
Substitutes: Morata (6), Moses (6), Barkley (N/A).
STAR MAN - Eden Hazard
Truthfully, several Chelsea stars played very, but there is only one real star. Hazard was a constant threat throughout, using his impressive dribbling skills to create chances and threaten Liverpool. A gorgeous passing move from Chelsea was expertly finished off by the Belgian, who is looking deadly in front of goal, with six Premier League goals now to his name in 2018/19.
He had a fantastic chance to double his side's advantage as he went one-on-one with Alisson, only for the goalkeeper to deny him. His influence waned in the second half as Liverpool pressed hard for an equalise, but he still looked dangerous when he occupied the pockets of space left behind by Liverpool's attacking full backs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,— Mod (@CFCMod_) September 29, 2018
This is Eden Hazard in his absolute prime, you are currently witnessing greatness. Sit back relax and enjoy this absolute beauty whilst you can.
WORST PLAYER - Marcos Alonso
The left back struggled to exert his usual influence in attack, instead sensibly focusing on defending and neutralising the threat of Mohamed Salah. He certainly did a respectable job, but was caught out of position on several occasions, requiring his teammates to step up and deal with Liverpool's attack.
Not his worst day, but certainly not his best.
Key Talking Point
Jurgen Klopp will definitely be frustrated by Liverpool's performance. Whilst they were greatly improved in the second half, their display in the first half seemed to lack the energetic edge that has been the staple of their play.
Salah endured a tough afternoon, missing a handful of key chances in the first half. Some of the spark from his game seems to have disappeared in recent weeks, and Klopp will be desperate to discover a way to rejuvenate his talisman.
Starting XI: Alisson (8); Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (6), van Dijk (8), Robertson (6); Henderson (6), Milner (6), Wijnaldum (6); Salah (6), Mane (6), Firmino (6).
Substitutes: Shaqiri (5), Keita (6), Sturridge (7).
STAR MAN - Virgil van Dijk
If the Dutchman was still suffering from an injury, he certainly didn't show it. He looked his confident self as he regularly broke up Chelsea's play. It was a typical display from van Dijk, who was happy to use his passing skills to keep Liverpool moving.
Van Dijk was a constant threat in attack, using his imposing frame to create chances from corners and throw-ins, but was ultimately unable to create anything of note from these chances.
He will be frustrated to have lost his clean sheet, but Hazard's goal was of such high quality that he was hardly at fault.
don’t ever take that captains armband off van dijk, it’s his now— poppy respecter (@lauraw97_) September 29, 2018
One of Van Dijk's best qualities is his intimidation factor. No one bullies him. He brings it every game. Centre forwards want to stay away from him. He's can absolute colossus— Steve McVeigh (@SteveMcVeigh123) September 29, 2018
Gomez and Van Dijk got us that point today. Excellent again, even when one made a mistake the other was there to clean up. Recovery pace, last ditch tackles..they kept coming up on top.— Dinesh Kumar (@DHardayal) September 29, 2018
The best CB pairing in the league.
WORST PLAYER - Andy Robertson
While his delivery in the final third was sound - Shaqiri should have converted his second half cross - Liverpool's left back was often caught out of position, leading to dangerous attacks from Chelsea's attacking players.
He was not at fault for the goal, but his mistakes could have led to more opportunities for Chelsea.