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Jan 31, 2017 at 8pm UK at Anfield
Attendance: 53,157

1-1

Wijnaldum (57')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Luiz (25')

Live Commentary: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Chelsea from Anfield.
2

Fourth-place Liverpool welcomed Premier League leaders Chelsea to Anfield on Tuesday night off the back of three straight defeats in all competitions.

David Luiz's free kick in the 25th minute saw Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into the interval on Merseyside.

Liverpool were level just before the hour, however, courtesy of a close-range header from Georginio Wijnaldum.

Chelsea had a golden chance to regain the lead from the penalty spot in the 76th minute, but Diego Costa saw his effort kept out by Simon Mignolet as the points were shared at Anfield.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Evening all! Sports Mole's live Premier League coverage continues from Anfield and it is a big one as Liverpool welcome the leaders Chelsea. It has been a very difficult last week for the Reds and they will welcome a Chelsea side that are absolutely flying at the top of the Premier League table. Be sure to stay tuned for what should be a pulsating night of football on Merseyside!

Tonight will be the 177th meeting between these two teams in all competitions. Liverpool lead the head-to-head 77 wins to Chelsea's 61 and the Reds are actually unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches with the team from Stamford Bridge. Indeed, the Reds won 2-1 when they travelled to London for the reserve match earlier this season. At that point, Chelsea did not look potential champions.

Liverpool might be unbeaten in their last four with Chelsea in the Premier League, but the Blues are unbeaten on their last four Premier League trips to Anfield – winning twice and drawing twice since their last defeat in May 2012. Should Liverpool record all the points tonight, it would be the first time that they have completed a Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2011-12 campaign.

It might be transfer deadline day, but neither of these two clubs are expected to spend in the last few hours. There is plenty happening elsewhere though and you can find find out what is occurring on Sports Mole throughout the night. It has been another busy day, as expected.

Will there be any scenes of this ilk tonight? Only time will tell!

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez clashes with Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic after appearing to bite the Chelsea player during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at the Anfield stadium in Liverp© Getty Images


Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Anfield. Both sides were in FA Cup action at the weekend - more on that later – and wholesale changes were expected for this match. Let's take a look at the two XIs for the clash on Merseyside...

TEAMS!

LPOOL: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho

CHELSEA: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Costa, Hazard


The big news from the Liverpool camp is that Nathaniel Clyne is fit to return at right-back, but Sadio Mane, who has been rushed back from Africa Cup of Nations duty, is only on the bench. Clyne's timely return means that Jurgen Klopp can select arguably his first-choice back four, while Emre Can is handed a start in central midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum. Roberto Firmino will again play in the false nine position, meaning that Daniel Sturridge has dropped to the bench.

As for Chelsea, Antonio Conte has made a brave call in the final third - leaving in-form Pedro on the bench as Willian starts alongside Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. There are no other surprises in the away side's XI, as Gary Cahill again skippers the team from a three-man defence. Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses continue in the wing-back positions, while N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic keep their midfield spots.

Willian of Chelsea in action during his side's Premier League clash with Southampton at St Mary's on October 30, 2016© SilverHub


So there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now just about 45 minutes from kickoff on this cold night in Liverpool. The home side will enter the match in fourth position in the table on 45 points, while Chelsea lead the way on 55 points. The Blues are eight points clear of second-place Arsenal and nine clear of third-place Tottenham Hotspur. It is some lead at this stage of the campaign.

As mentioned, both of these sides were in FA Cup action at the weekend, with very mixed results. Chelsea absolutely breezed into the fifth round of the competition with a 4-0 home win over Brentford, but Liverpool lost 2-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Reds also lost 1-0 to Southampton at Anfield last Wednesday as they were knocked out of the League Cup in the semi-finals.

Back-to-back cup exits has placed a lot of pressure on Liverpool, but they also lost 3-2 at home to struggling Swansea in the Premier League last weekend. Klopp's side have actually now lost four of their last six games in all competitions and they are in serious danger of slipping outside of the top four in the Premier League. It is absolutely vital that they return to form in this match.

Philippe Coutinho readjusts during the EFL Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Southampton on January 25, 2017© SilverHub


A record of 13 wins, six draws and three defeats has brought Liverpool 45 Premier League points this season. They are actually the leading scorers on 51, but have shipped 27 goals, which is far from the best record in the division. The loss of Mane, who is on the bench tonight, to international duty hurt them badly and they are not exactly a team set up to shut up shop and grind out results.

After bowing out of the League Cup and FA Cup, Liverpool now only have the Premier League to focus on this season. After this match, they will visit an improving Hull City, before hosting Tottenham on February 11. They will then travel to the champions Leicester and welcome Arsenal in their next two. It would be fair to say that on paper at least, it is a very difficult few weeks for Klopp's side.


Chelsea, on the other hand, are flying. Since losing 2-0 at Tottenham in the Premier League on January 4, the Blues have beaten Peterborough United and Brentford in the FA Cup, in addition to overcoming Leicester and Hull in the league. Eighteen wins from 22 matches have left them top of the Premier League on 55 points and they have room for manoeuvre with 16 games left.

There were concerns that Diego Costa, who has 15 Premier League goals this season, could leave Chelsea this month amid interest from China, but it is now certain that the Spain international will remain at Stamford Bridge until at least the end of the season. Another strong performance from the striker tonight could go a long way to helping Chelsea move further clear at the top of the table.

Between September 11 and September 24, Chelsea drew with Swansea and lost against Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League. That led to Conte having a re-think in terms of formation and the Blues have thrived since a switch to 3-4-3. On paper, there have been a lot better Chelsea XIs in recent seasons, but Conte has got every single player pulling in the same direction.


There is no question that the absence of European football has helped Chelsea in the league, but their next two matches are vital as they face Liverpool tonight and host Arsenal on Saturday afternoon. If they can get through the next two unbeaten, it would be very difficult to see them giving away the Premier League title in the final run-in. We are now just 10 minutes from kickoff here.

It will not come a surprise to learn that Chelsea have the best away record in the league this season. They have won eight of their 11 matches and only conceded nine times, which is a staggering record. For what it is worth, the Blues also have the best home record with 10 wins from 11 matches. They have been the best team in the league this season by a considerable distance.

PREDICTION! I fancy a draw on Merseyside tonight. Chelsea will enter the match full of confidence against a wounded Liverpool, but I am finding it difficult to predict an away win under the lights at Anfield. It might take a while to warm-up and I am going to back a 1-1 draw, with Liverpool scoring the first goal.

Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. As expected, it is a noisy Anfield. The home supporters are well aware of the importance of tonight's match. The Reds simply cannot afford to lose their fourth straight home game. Over to you then, Chelsea.

KICKOFF! Liverpool kick things off at Anfield...

... some news from one of the 7.45pm kickoffs. Arsenal are currently 2-0 down at home to Watford, while West Brom lead at Middlesbrough. The other four games are goalless. As expected, it has been a fast start from Liverpool as they look to unsettle Chelsea in the early moments here.

Liverpool continue to put the pressure on Chelsea in the early minutes of this match, with the home side backed by a vocal support. You just get the feeling that the first goal tonight - if there indeed is one - could be vital. Chelsea have been forced to defend their own box thus far at Anfield.

It has been a poor start from Chelsea as the Blues continue to concede possession of the ball. For all Liverpool's pressure, however, neither goalkeeper has had to make a save in the opening six minutes. Costa, Hazard and Willian have not yet been in the game for the league leaders here.

There was a lot of noise before kickoff at Anfield, but there is a really strange atmosphere at the moment. It is almost like a reserve game! Still the home side pass and probe in Chelsea's half of the field, but Luiz is doing some good defensive work as he comes across to block Firmino once again.

Finally Liverpool create a bit of space and Milner delivers a low cross into the Chelsea box, but Cahill is on hand to make the clearance. It is all Liverpool in terms of possession here.

SAVE! Courtois is across to keep out Wijnaldum's long-range strike as Liverpool finally make use of their dominance in terms of the ball. It was a save Courtois was expected to make.

Chelsea have hardly been in the Liverpool half in the opening 14 minutes of this match, but they are just so hard to break down. You do get the feeling that the first goal tonight - if there indeed is one - could be vital. It is the away supporters that can be heard at this stage of the match.

Just a few signs that Chelsea are starting to settle as they enjoy a period of decent possession, but the visitors are yet to carve out any chances or seriously threaten Liverpool's defensive unit.

Referee Mark Clattenburg is across to speak to Antonio Conte after the Chelsea boss booted the ball away. That was really bizarre. It ends well though as Conte shakes Klopp's hand!

The best word to describe the opening 19 minutes of this match would be cagey. Liverpool have absolutely dominated the possession, but only managed one shot on target and that brought a fairly comfortable save for Courtois. Chelsea, meanwhile, have offered nothing in the final third.

Arsenal are still 2-0 down at home to Watford - some turn-up there! Meanwhile, Middlesbrough are now 1-1 at home to West Brom. Spurs and Sunderland at the Stadium of Light is still goalless. I am hearing that is a lot better than this one though. The entertainment has been limited at Anfield.

Possession football for Chelsea in the last few minutes. They are comfortable here.

Chelsea have a free kick in a dangerous area as Lallana brings Hazard to the ground...

... GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea (Luiz)

Oh my word! Chelsea take the lead from the resulting free kick as Luiz's effort ends up in the bottom corner. Mignolet was waiting for Willian to take the free kick and Luiz popped up to score!

If Chelsea win tonight and the rest of the scores stay as they are, the Blues will be 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, which is just incredible. Liverpool are attempting to get the crowd going as they break down the wings, but the away side are just so compact at the back.

SAVE! Mignolet has to push a Willian free kick wide of the post as the Brazilian bent one towards the far post. Both Cahill and Matic were free inside the Liverpool box there.

Luiz has a problem for Chelsea as the centre-back takes a heavy fall and stays on the deck.

Luiz's problem actually occurred in a challenge with Can, but it does appear that the Brazilian will be fit to continue. Liverpool are desperately trying to get back in this match somehow.

Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and it has been just about the perfect half for Chelsea. The away side's gameplan has been carried out to the highest standard and Liverpool look short of ideas when they get to the edge of the Chelsea box. Mane is one player that could change that.

Moses squeezes a low cross into the Liverpool box as Chelsea threaten down the right, but Lovren is on hand to make the challenge. The noise level is lifted when Henderson attempts to find Firmino with a long ball, but Courtois was always favourite and the Chelsea goalkeeper can claim.

Not an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last few moments and there is a really flat atmosphere inside the stadium. You just get the feeling that Liverpool need to score the next goal in this match. A second for Chelsea and the visitors would be in a very, very strong position here.

Willian misses the Liverpool crossbar with a strike from outside the box.

Again it is good defending from Luiz as the Chelsea centre-back is across to clear Clyne's low cross. The rain continues to fall at Anfield and Chelsea continue to defend their lines. As it stands, Chelsea are moving 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Done and dusted for me.

BOOKING! Courtois (Chelsea) is booked for wasting time.

CORRECTION! It was in fact Henderson (Liverpool) who was booked for dissent.

We are into the first of two additional minutes at the end of the first period.

HALF-TIME: Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Chelsea leading 1-0 at Anfield courtesy of a free kick from Luiz in the 25th minute of action. Liverpool have had a lot of possession in the final third, but the hosts have been unable to breach this Chelsea defence.

STATISTICS! Liverpool have dominated the possession with 65%, but they only managed one shot on target and that was a long-range attempt from Wijnaldum, which Courtois saved pretty comfortably. Chelsea have also only had one shot on target, but that brought the only goal. Just the one yellow card to report and that came for Liverpool captain Henderson in the 45th minute of action.

BENCH WATCH! It is the type of match that might well be decided from the bench and Liverpool boss Klopp has the likes of Mane, Origi and Sturridge all available for the second period. Chelsea, meanwhile, have Batshuayi, Fabregas and Pedro as their attacking options at Anfield tonight.

This man's goal is the difference at Anfield as things stand...

Chelsea defender David Luiz during the Premier League clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on November 20, 2016© SilverHub


RESTART! Chelsea resume the action at Anfield...

... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, you suspect that both managers will already have alterations in mind for the second period here.

Good defending from Matic as the Chelsea midfielder clears Firmino's low cross, which looked to be finding Coutinho. Better from Liverpool at the start of the second period as they force the issue.

CHANCE! Stunning chance for the home side to level as the ball breaks for Firmino at the far post, but the Brazilian fires over the crossbar! He had time to take a touch, but ballooned the ball into the stands. That is a wonderful, wonderful chance to draw level in this game.

This is much, much better from Liverpool as they look to draw level at Anfield.

Lovren has a go from distance, but his effort is high and wide.

POST! Chelsea come close to scoring a second as Milner makes a terrible mistake inside his own box and Moses has the chance to test Mignolet, but his low effort hits the post!

I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals at Anfield as Liverpool continue to force the issue. The home side's willingness to commit players forward, however, is leaving space for Chelsea on the counter-attack, and the visitors certainly have the players to threaten Liverpool.

Chelsea have the chance to threaten once again as Hazard feeds Willian in a dangerous position, but the Brazilian's pass towards Moses is poor and Liverpool restart with a goal kick.

Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in this one, and Chelsea still lead courtesy of that Luiz free kick in the 25th minute of action. You just wonder when Mane might get the nod. Sturridge is also available for the home side and would absolutely love the chance to score against his former club.

GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (Wijnaldum)

Liverpool level the scores in the 57th minute as Wijnaldum heads home from close range after Milner had headed towards the far post. Poor Chelsea defending and Liverpool are level!

BOOKING! Milner (Liverpool) is booked for a poor tackle on Moses.

Liverpool are finding a lot of space in wide positions at the moment, and that is where Chelsea are light when Moses and Alonso break forward from their wing-back positions. The Anfield crowd are up and we are heading for a very interesting final 30 minutes of action on Merseyside.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Arsenal are 2-1 behind at home to Watford, while Spurs are only drawing away to Sunderland. Manchester City and Manchester United both play tomorrow night. Liverpool's goal has just halted Chelsea, but they are still well clear at the top as things stand.

We have actually seen very little from Costa tonight, but you just get the feeling that the Spain international could still have a say in this match. Pedro is on the bench for Chelsea and you wonder whether Conte will introduce the former Barcelona attacker as we approach the 70th minute.

Still no movement on either bench, but we are approaching the stage of the match where both managers will be considering alterations. The wind is with Liverpool at the moment here.

Half-chance for Chelsea as Willian strikes one towards the far post, but Costa cannot make contact and Liverpool can resume the play from the dead-ball line. Still 1-1 with 69 minutes played.

It appeared that Pedro was going to be coming on for Chelsea, but the Spaniard has been sent on another warm-up as Conte seemingly changes his mind. Liverpool are the team on the front foot as Chelsea sit deep and attempt to play on the counter-attack. It is so delicately poised here.

CHELSEA SUB! Pedro replaces Hazard for the away side.

It appears that Mane might be imminent for the home side and that will really lift the home side entering the final period of this match. Coutinho might well be the player to be replaced.

Little under 15 minutes of football remaining at Anfield and we are still locked at 1-1.

LIVERPOOL SUB! Mane replaces Coutinho for the home side.

CHELSEA PENALTY!

Chelsea are awarded a penalty as Costa is felled by Wijnaldum inside the Liverpool box!

SAVE! Mignolet keeps out Costa's spot kick. What a moment!

Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining and things are livening up! What a moment for Chelsea to regain the lead and what a waste it was. Costa's spot kick was pretty weak.

BOOKING! Willian (Chelsea) is booked for dissent.

Chelsea are preparing to introduce Fabregas.

CHELSEA SUB! Fabregas replaces Willian for the away side.

Still a solid five minutes to play at Anfield and you just wonder whether there is going to be late drama. Surely one of these two teams is going to have a big chance to win it.

Costa manages to deliver a low cross into the Liverpool box under pressure from Lovren, but Mignolet collects and Liverpool can break forward in search of the winning goal here.

CHANCE! Fabregas threads a super pass into Pedro, but Henderson is across to challenge the Spaniard inside the Liverpool box. Brilliant work from the England midfielder there.

CLOSE! Pedro's dipping effort just misses the far post!

LIVERPOOL SUB! Origi replaces Lallana for the home side.

We are into the first of three added minutes here.

CHANCE! Firmino heads straight at Courtois from close range!

We are into the final minute at Anfield and it does appear that the points will be shared.

CHELSEA SUB! Batshuayi replaces Costa for Chelsea.

FULL-TIME: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close at Anfield with the two teams sharing the points in a 1-1 draw. The first period was pretty dire truth be told, but plenty happened after the break. Chelsea have stretched their lead at the top of the table to nine points, while Liverpool remain fourth. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the live action once again. Until next time!

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CManchester CityMan City38296399267393
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RBurnley38714173453-1935
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