The match between Liverpool and Chelsea ended as many in the series have before: In a draw. The Reds got on the board in the 18th minute after a beautiful beautiful build-up led to a Luis Diaz goal before Chelsea equalized on a first-half strike of their as the clubs had to settle for sharing the points at Stanford Bridge.
Liverpool nearly struck straight away to start the new season as Diogo Jota put a shot wide in the 2nd minute. After a long spell of possession, Mohamed Salah hit the crossbar in the 13th, before Liverpool found the back of the net in the 18th. A long pass out of the back found Salah who made a step over and slid the ball to Diaz, who was waiting back post to tap the ball in for a 1-0 Liverpool lead.
Salah appeared to strike again near the hour mark. In the 29th minute, he tucked a shot home after running onto a through ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold, but the goal was chalked for offside off after a lengthy VAR review.
Chelsea equalized on a set piece in the 37th minute. After earning a corner, the cross found the head of Ben Chilwill who nodded the ball over to Axel Disasi for the right-footed finish, tying the game at 1-1.
Chelsea looked as if they had taken the lead in the 39th minute. Enzo Fernández found Chilwell with a through ball that skipped past a couple of defenders and he fished in the bottom corner. Once again, VAR intervened ruling the play offside and leaving the game level at 1-1 at halftime.
Chelsea continued to grow into the game in the second half, forcing Liverpool to defend at a high level, but it was the Reds who had the best chances just after the break. After earning a corner in the 49th minute, Diaz's shot was deflected, which resulted in another corner. Virgil van Dijk's subsequent shot sizzled just over the bar to leave the score at 1-1.
Alisson followed with a big save on Chilwell's shot in the 55th minute before Reece James just missed the target on a free-kick opportunity in the 62nd. Darwin Núñez came on as a substitute moments later and began to generate chances for Liverpool. He had near misses in the 72nd and 81st minutes before having a shot blocked in stoppage time. The ball went out for a corner, but Liverpool could not convert on the final kick of the match. As a result, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
It Was Meant To Be
This result means that Liverpool and Chelsea have drawn the last 7 times they have met on the pitch Luis Diaz's first-half goal did break a string of scoreless draws dating back to a 2-2 stalemate on January 2nd, 2022. The last person to score in the fixture before Diaz was American International Christian Pulisic.
Salah Subbed Off
When Mohamed Salah was taken down for Harvey Elliott in the 77th minute, the Egyptian King was visibly upset. He went straight past Jürgen Klopp without acknowledging the boss throwing his tape down in the technical area. One reason behind the frustration could have been VAR's denial of what would have been Salah's record-setting 7th straight opening-day goal to start Premier League play.
“Actually, I don't think you ever saw Mo leaving the pitch happily - I can't remember it [and] that's OK, absolutely OK,” Klopp said in his press conference. “Today, obviously, I didn't think in that moment about it, I didn't even know about it, that if he scored in the game it would've been an all-time record [on the opening day], so I understand his disappointment. But, I am the manager of the whole team and in that moment we needed fresh legs. I think that made real sense for us and it is never anything to do with Mo or whatever or against him, of course not. Ninety-nine percent of the things we achieved were because of him or with him. That he was not happy was clear, I understand that and there is no problem.”
Making The Most Of It
According to the stat sheet. Liverpool only had one shot of their 13 on target for the match and that was the Luis Diaz goal. They did have a couple of shots hit the bar and the post, so the chances were there, but it is rare when the Reds only put a single shot on frame.
LFC Globe Verdict
In the match preview, I predicted a draw based on the series history and I was right. The football gods have seemingly decreed that Liverpool and Chelsea play to a draw every time they step on the pitch. Even if the disallowed goals stood, the match would have still ended in a draw. There is cause for concern that Liverpool only generated one shot on goal over 90 minutes of play, but it is just one game, I would hesitate to read too much into it at this point.
Man Of The Match
This is a tough one but I am going to go with Luis Diaz. Not only did he score the goal, but he also created a flurry of chances late in the first half. Diaz was in good form at the end of last season and it seems to have carried over into 2023.
- Axel Disasi 37'
- Luis Diaz 18'
- Malo Gusto for Reece James 76'
- Mykhailo Mudryk for Raheem Sterling 81'
- Ian Maatsen for Carney Chukwuemeka 81'
- Lesley Ugochukwu for Ben Chilwell 80'