In Depth

Mignolet thwarts Chelsea, but Blues go nine points clear

Liverpool end losing run to deny league leaders, but results elsewhere still make it a good night for the Blues

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1: Mignolet atones for error with penalty save

31 January

A Georginio Wijnaldum header and a penalty save from Simon Mignolet earned Liverpool a share of the spoils against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Anfield, after Jurgen Klopp's men had fallen a goal behind to a piece of quick thinking from David Luiz in the first half.

The Chelsea defender opened the scoring with a free kick, taken as the Liverpool deence dithered over the wall. And there seemed little chance of the Reds getting back into it against a well marshalled Chelsea defence.

But the Reds were more lively in the second half and after Roberto Firmino spurned a glorious chance, Wijnaldum headed home.

However, Chelsea appeared to have been handed all three points when Joel Matip fouled Diego Costa in the box. The Spanish striker stepped up to take the spot kick but was denied by a fine stop from Mignolet, which made up for his role in the Chelsea goal.

In the end the league leaders were happy to settle for a point after title rivals Arsenal lost to Watford and Spurs were held to a draw by Sunderland, and the result extends their lead at the top of the table to nine points.

94 mins: FULL TIME - Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1

That's full time, and the away fans are a lot happier than the home supporters. Antonio Conte is out on the pitch pumping his fists. Perhaps he has seen tonight's other results!

93 mins: Chelsea sub

The Blues wind down the clock as Costa is replaced by Batshuayi... and that should be it at Anfield

91 mins: Another chance for Firmino

Mane clips a ball into the Chelsea box and Firmino is there in front of his marker. But there is little pace on the ball and his header from eight yards out is straight at Courtois. That was a great chance!

90 mins: Pedro close

Another good chance for Chelsea after Liverpool can omly half clear a free kick and Pedro sweeps a shot just wiode from the edge of the box.

Origi is on for Lallana and we will have three extra minutes.

88 mins: Liverpool lucky

Liverpool make a mess of a free kick in the Chelsea half and Fabregas launches a Chelsea counter attack. He finds Pedro just inside the box, but Liverpool are saved by a great recovery tackle from Henderson. That could have been a lot worse for the home side.

85 mins: Chelsea calm

Chelsea may have settled for the draw here, they are content to play the ball around in midfield and probe for an opening.

Costa then gets the ball on the edge of the box and holds off what seems like the entire Liverpool defence before his low cross is gathered by Mignolet. Great strength.

81 mins: Grandstand finish?

We're into the final ten minutes at Anfield and we could have a thrilling finale on our hands, something that did not look likely for most of the first half.

Sadio Mane gets a chance to run at the Chelsea defence, but his cross from the right is collected by Courtois.

Fabregas is on for Willian.

77 mins: PENALTY SAVED!

Costa, who won the penalty, steps up to take it... but Mignolet guesses right and makes a fine save low to his right and Anfield celebrates!

Mignolet may have been at fault for the Chelsea goal but he has more than made up for it with that save.

76 mins: PENALTY TO CHELSEA

Diego Costa goes down in the box under a challenge from Matipand Clattenberg points to the spot! There was contact so the decision was correct.

75 mins: Here comes Sadio Mane

Liverpool's record signing returns to the fray, as he replaces Philippe Coutinho. Not a night for the two number tens!

71 mins: Hazard off

Hazard comes off to be replaced by Pedro after a very subdued performance. 

Liverpool, meanwhile, may have found Chelsea's Achilles heel, as did Spurs when they beat the Blues earlier this month. The seem weak against balls from the right wing to the far post, between Azpilicueta and Moses, and Can almost latches onto another ball into that area.

 

68 mins: Costa slides in

The game feels far more open now as both sides seem to have more space. Wilian fires a ball across the face of the Liverpool goal. Costa gslides between the Liverpool defenders but can't make contact.

There's been a lot of action on the two benches, but so far no subs have arrived. Mane appears to be OK after having a hot water bottle applied to his knee in the first half.

63 mins: Can can't

Suddenly every Liverpool attack is accompanied by a crescendo of noise and Anfield was geting ready to roar as Emre Can wound up for a shot outside the box, but his effort was easily blocked.

60 mins: Milner booked

The Red full back may have an assist but he also has a yelow card after a challenge on his opposite number Moses.

58 mins: GOAL!! Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1 - Wijnaldum equalises!

Liverpool are back in this as Wijnaldum heads home from six yards. Jordan Henderson played a lovely ball to Milner on the left whose cross was deflected off a Chelsea player into the path of the onrushing Dutchman, who planted a firm header past Courtois.

Suddenly Anfield is awake and we have a game on our hands!

57 mins: Costa at the back

Liverpool continue to press but there is no way through the Blue wall, particularly when Diego Costa is intent on playing as a centre back. The forward is defending behind the midfield and Azpilicueta is screaming at him to go forward.

52 mins: Moses hits the post!

Victor Moses comes up against James Milner on the edge of the box and the Chelsea man wins the battle and finds himself with the ball at his feet in the box. He shoots at the near post and hits the woodwork!

49 min: Nightmare for Firmino!

Liverpool's night goes from bad to worse as they finally get in behind Chelsea on the break and the ball ricochets to Firmino in the box. The Brazilian is unmarked ten yards out with time and space, but skies his first time shot with the goal at his mercy - shocking!

48 mins: Matic and Kante solid

The Chelsea midfield pivot is in action early on denying Liverpool the chance to build. 

46 mins: We're back underway

Chelsea get the second hald underway...

45+2 mins: HALF TIME

The whistle goes on a half that Liverpool will want to forget. The home side were toothless going forward and were made to look foolish by a sharp bit of thinking from David Luiz, as Mignolet and his defence dithered over the wall.

This will have to be some team talk from Jurgen Klopp, because Chelsea are in front and look solid.

40 mins: Is sub Sane hurt?

Things could be getting even worse for Liverpool who cannot find any way through the Chelsea defence, and may be sweating on the fitness of Sadio Mane.

On the field the Blues are putting ten men behind the ball whenever Liverpool attack and there is simply no way through an expertly marshalled defence. Off the field the Liverpool subs have been warming up, but Mane now appears to have an ice pack on his knee. That's not very encouraging.

32 mins: Luiz in the wars

Suddenly this game is all about David Luiz as the Brazilian goes down in a heap. Johnn Terry is warmming up - but after hobbling off for some treatment Luiz is OK to carry on, but he's looking a bit ginger.

29 mins: Another Chelsea chance

It's all happening now as Willian curls in a free kick which finds Matic and Luiz unmarked in the biox - somehow they fail to score! Liverpool are rocking here... They are still furious about the goal, but they have only themselves to blame.

25 mins: GOAL!! David Luiz scores for Chelsea - Liverpool 0 Chelsea 1

Oh dear! David Luiz scores with a free kick after a foul on Hazard on the edge of the box - but that does not tell the whole story. The defender caught the entire Liverpool defence off guard as Willian lined the ball up. The wall and the keeper were not ready as Luiz sneaked up and sidefooted home. The Reds are furious but it looks as though referee Clattenburg had blown his whistle.

If that's not enough in the way of controversy Hazard was lucky to win the foul on the edge of the Liverpool box after drawing contact from lallana as he surges forward.

21 mins: Chelsea corner

Chelsea finally mount a meaningful attack as Hazard pounces on a Matip mistake. The Blues win a corner but its cleared and as the ball comes back in Cahill is offside. It's not been much of a thriller so far...

17 mins: Poor passing from Chelsea

The Blues are coming into the game but they are having trouble stringing more than a couple of passes together. David Luiz wastes a free kick, Matic fluffs a ball to Hazard and Moses plays Wilian into trouble in the space of 90 seconds. Then Antonio Conte gets a talking to from ref Mark Clattenberg for kicking the ball away when it comes in his direction - even he can't find a teammate!

12 mins: Courtois save

Finally Liverpool work the Chelsea goalkeeper as Wijnaldum unleashes a fierce drive from 20 yards, but he can't get the better of Coutinho who parries the ball to safety. At the other end Diego Costa takes a theatrical tumble in the Liverpool box as he chases a long ball.

9 mins: All Liverpool

The home side are in control but have yet to carve out a meaningful chance. The visitors look solid and well organised the Reds' jabs are not yet landing.

5 mins: Alonso down

Wijnaldum has floored Alonso with an accidental elbow as he went for a header, but the Chelsea man is up after a few seconds as Chelsea try to establish themselves in the game. They have had very little ball or territory so far.

3 mins: Liverpool corner

A neat and tidy start from the Reds and Adam Lallana wins an early corner. Coutinho takes it short, Lallana puts in a good cross and David Luiz heads clear.

1 min: We're off

Liverpool get things underway at Anfield, and have Chelsea pinned inside their half in the first minute.

19.57: The teams are out and Anfield is in full voice as the Kop belts out You'll Never Walk Alone. Could this be biggest game of the season at Anfield?

Jurgen Klopp speaks: The Liverpool manager has been talking ahead of the game and says he hopes his team can "be hard, be brave, be angry and have fun" tonight.

Asked about Sadio Mane he says he believes he is ready to play, but would not last 90 minutes.

Reflecting on a torrid month Klopp says after going out of both cup competitions his team now have 16 games remaining this season to show what they are capable of. 

Preview: It may be Deadline Day but it's all eyes on Anfield tonight as Chelsea take on Liverpool in a fixture that could have huge repercussions for the Premier League.

Victory for the Blues would leave them 13 points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's men and cap Liverpool's worst run of home results since 1923. It also maintain Chelsea's eight-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the table and represent a huge step towards winning the title.

A home win would not put the cat among the pigeons, but it would at least keep Chelsea on their toes ahead of the weekend clash with the Gunners.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has named Sadio Mane, who has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, on a bench that features plenty of firepower with Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi also ready to make an impact.

Antonio Conte's side has a familiar look to it, with Diego Costa now well and truly back in the fold, as the Blues look for a 16th win in 17 games. Willian is chosen ahead of Pedro.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Klavan, Moreno, Lucas, Mane, Origi, Sturridge

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Willian, Diego Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi.

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