It was a battle of this season's Premier League finest as Liverpool were held by 10-man Chelsea at Anfield in the Saturday late kickoff, the aftermath of which has raised questions about referee Anthony Taylor and the VAR.


Coming into the game, both teams had won their first two games of the season, scoring five goals each without conceding any. Interestingly, Liverpool had recorded the most shots in the two games with 46, while Chelsea had allowed the least in the league in those two, limiting their opponents which included a toothless Arsenal to just 10 shots.

The hosts should have capitalized on their visitors' shaky start to the game as early as the 4th minute as Kai Havertz gave the ball away. Elliott giving the ball to Mohamed Salah who could only manage his shot wide off goal.

Jordan Henderson also met a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold a few minutes later, but the Liverpool captain was unable to guide his attempt on goal.

It was Chelsea who eventually opened scoring in the 22nd minute. A Reece James free kick was met by Havertz, who made a late run to the near post unmarked and flicked his header to loop the ball into the top corner, with Alisson Becker standing no chance.

Chelsea should have doubled their lead on the 36th minute. Romelu Lukaku doing well to beat Joel Matip, before releasing Mason Mount, whose shot beat the on-rushing Alisson, but Andy Robertson was on hand to block away from goal.

Liverpool were forced into an early substitution in the 43rd minute as Roberto Firmino was taken off after seemingly picking up an injury, to be replaced by Diogo Jota, who had scored in their opening two games of the season.

The game got heated right on the stroke of half time as a scramble in front of the Chelsea goal saw Liverpool denied on the line. VAR reviewed showed that Reece James had stopped the ball with his hand from going into the net.

Although Referee Anthony Taylor after a few seconds of listening to the VAR assistants via his earphones, dashed to the monitor, but needed just a glance to make his decision to send off James. Expectedly, there were protests by Chelsea players and fans as they claimed the decision was too harsh. Others have argued that the decision was correct, hinging on the fact that he denied a clear cut goalscoring opportunity which according to the rule warrants a sending off.

Salah converted from the eventual spot kick to restore parity after waiting for several minutes sending Eduoard Mendy the wrong way. Antonio Rudiger was issued a yellow card fo his protests just before the kick and Mendy afterwards for hitting the ball angrily against Jordan Henderson, who was trying to pick the ball up to ensure a quick restart.

Thomas Tuchel had to make two substitutions at the interval with Thiago Silva replacing Kai Havertz in what was a defensive move and Matteo Kovacic replacing N'Golo Kante, who seemed to have picked up an injury just before half time.

As expected, the numerical advantage counted for Liverpool as they pushed their visitors back into their own half and mounted constant pressure, but were unable to break down a resilient Chelsea side.

Jota's header from about 12 yards out was over the bar, before Mendy was forced to making three saves in the space of 10 minutes.


A Virgil van Dijk curling effort was tipped away by the Chelsea goalkeeper, before Fabinho's long range effort was parried for a corner. The resulting corner kick was not properly cleared, allowing Robertson to power a left-footed shot from the edge of the box, which was again, saved by Mendy.

Chelsea had a rare sniff at the Liverpool goal with six minutes of the duration to go. A quick one-two between Kovacic and Lukaku released the Croatian, whose effort was clawed away by Alisson. Salah tried to hit them on the counter, but his effort on his weaker right foot was too feeble and straight at Mendy for a comfortable save as the pulsating game ended in a stalemate.

Concluding Thoughts

What we witnessed was a well-drilled Chelsea team, holding their ground despite playing the whole of the second half with 10 men.

Liverpool may kick themselves for not making the numerical advantage count, but they still maintain their unbeaten start to the season having won their first two.

The performance from the Chelsea side, which is what has been witnessed since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel last season, further positions them as favorites for the league title this season.