Can this season be over already? The winter of discontent continues as Chelsea and Liverpool played to 1-1 draw. A draw at Anfield would normally be a good result, but a massive error from Asmir Begovic gifted Liverpool a late equaliser, cancelling out a brilliant solo goal from Eden Hazard in the first half that opened the scoring.
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While a win for the Blues meant simply assuring themselves a ninth-place finish in this season’s Premier League, Liverpool had much more to play for. The Reds started the day in eighth place, four points off of a sixth-place finish that would guarantee them Europa League next season.
With those stakes on the line, it’s no surprise that Liverpool started on the front foot. An early chance in the 6th minute for Coutinho was blocked by a makeshift Chelsea defence, featuring John Mikel Obi in place of the suspended John Terry, and a low shot from Adam Lallana forced Begovic into action, and it looked like Liverpool would take command.
Chelsea settled in, though, and Liverpool began to lose a bit of their early sharpness. 17 minutes in Pedro glided past Dejan Lovren and into the penalty area but was met by Kolo Toure, but the threat from Chelsea began to grow.
Liverpool nearly provided a sucker punch just minutes later when a beautiful pass from Daniel Sturridge cut out the entire Chelsea defence and found Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian raced clear of the defence, but a heavy final touch took him away from goal, and his tight-angled shot only found the side netting.
Liverpool were made to pay for that miss when in a rare moment this season, Eden Hazard showed the talent that made him last season’s player of the year. Picking the ball up on the left, the Belgian jinked through the Liverpool defence, eventually beating three defenders and passing it into the far corner leaving Simon Mignolet helpless.
Hazard looked more assured from this point on and was at the heart of every Chelsea move. Hazard nearly got a second on 55 minutes when he was quickest to a loose ball, provided by a slip from Baba Rahman, and forced Mignolet into a low save.
But Liverpool weren’t done yet. Lallana cute reverse pass to Sturridge provided Liverpool with a great chance to equalise, but Begovic made a terrific save to keep out Sturridge’s driven shot.
Begovic, however, was completely at fault for Liverpool’s equaliser deep into stoppage time, palming a Sheyi Ojo cross straight into the chest of substitute Christian Benteke and sending both teams home with just a point.