Reds lead 2-0 with Mané and Salah, but even before the break Kovacic and Pulisic equalize. Then an exciting swing of attacks but in the end there is only one point each
At the end of one of the best games of the Premier edition 2021-22, Chelsea and Liverpool do Manchester City a favor. The crackling 2-2, after the escape of the guests and the “comeback” of the Blues, allows Guardiola’s team to maintain in double figures (10 points over Chelsea and 11 over Liverpool, which, however, has a game to recover). two pursuers. However, we certainly cannot blame the two contenders for not having tried to impose themselves.
Absence of weight
The absent flock to both sides. Tuchel excludes Lukaku for the unauthorized Italian interview and relies on Havertz as the top of the offensive line. The Blues also lack the first choices on the lanes – James and Chilwell – in addition to the central Christensen. The hosts’ coach prefers to give up Jorginho as well. Among the Reds the covid did damage: in addition to Klopp, Matip, Adrian and Firmino are positive. Robertson, suspended, is replaced by Tsimikas, while the injured Thiago is found in the middle of the field by Milner.
Reds, African twins to sign
Chelsea start at a frenzied pace. Kanté and Kovačić take possession of the midfield, the pressure is suffocating. Alexander-Arnold is forced to make a mistake, sends back to Havertz, the ball shoots to Pulisic, but Kelleher anticipates the American. The match is perhaps the last chance to try to reconnect with the City fugitives. The hosts, however, discover themselves too much and pay duty. On the restart of the Reds, Chalobah’s header on Jota’s launch is a disgrace. Mané, booked after just one minute for an elbow on Azpilicueta, was dry since November 20 but on this occasion he does not betray. The Senegalese player discards Mendy and pushes the ball of one to zero into the net. His twin Mo Salah does not want to be outdone. And on the support of Alexander-Arnold he ridicules Alonso and beats Mendy with a left foot with a wonderful touch at the near post.
The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is wonderful, the opening of some sectors for the first time since 1994 for those who want to enjoy the game on their feet certainly helps. Chelsea did not give up and in five minutes the comeback took shape. Kovačić’s marvelous flying right on Kelleher’s block after Alonso’s corner is just perfect. The 2-2 goal involves all departments of the hosts: Rüdiger’s advance, Kanté’s unmarking touch and Pulisic’s precise left foot which gives Kelleher no chance. Before the break, the Blues could still pass but, after Havertz’s touch deflected by Milner, Mount’s attempted tap-in goes out to the side.
In the second half we still run fast. The Blues keep the defensive line very high to surprise Salah and Mané for offside. The two goalkeepers carve out moments of glory. Mendy deflects a perfidious shot by Salah from 35 meters and repeats himself denying the joy of the goal to Mané, unmarked by the Egyptian. On the other hand, Kelleher says no to Pulisic’s turn, primed by the center of Alonso. The Irish goalkeeper then defended the corner to his right with an effective low block on Mount’s shot. Tuchel and Lijnders let some of the protagonists of this wonderful London afternoon catch their breath and are forced to bring in some midfielders – Jorginho and Oxlade-Chamberlain for example – because the strikers are on the sidelines. Nothing happens anymore, but for this time we certainly can’t complain.
January 2, 2021 (change January 2, 2021 | 23:38)
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