1) Reece James red card

It was an eventful 1-1 draw for Liverpool with Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday, focused on Reece James’ goal line antics right at the end of the second half. Chelsea had already found the back of the net after 22 minutes thanks to a Havertz header and the Reds were chasing an equaliser.

A complete and utter melee in the box eventually resulted in Reece James handling the ball on the goal line. Bouncing up off his thigh, the Chelsea player (as anyone’s natural instinct would force them to do) moved his arm to aid his attempts at clearing the ball away from the Chelsea goal.

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Don’t get me wrong, if it’s your team it’s happening to, watching this unfold is horrible but it was 100% a red card. Whether you feel it’s harsh or not, the rule states James simply had to go once the ref had decided to award the penalty because he was denying Liverpool a goalscoring opportunity. There’s no debate about it for me.

Chelsea’s players were fuming, protesting with Anthony Taylor while he was trying to get Mendy to move out of Mo Salah’s face. In the end, the protests were pointless, the decision wasn’t going to be changed and Salah smashed home a fantastic spot-kick to put the Reds level.

2) Liverpool’s attacking options

As the match went on, Liverpool were more and more in need of a fresh set of legs, and a change of tact in attack in order to capitalise on 10 man Chelsea. It was very interesting though to see Klopp throw Tsimikas on in the dying minutes as opposed to the many more attacking options he had on the bench?

This was a talking point immediately raised on Twitter and I have to admit, it did get me thinking. With Jota already replacing Firmino at the end of the first half, Klopp’s options were shortened slightly but with the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino and Keita on the bench it was quite surprising they were not called upon?

Is this because Klopp was conscious of the potential of a still-dangerous Chelsea counter? Plus the fact Robbo has only just come back. Or, does Klopp not trust his attacking options? It’s really been an eye-opener for me and I’ll be keeping a close watch on the substitute decisions over the coming weeks.

3) Virgil v Lukaku

A blog I did prior to the match included a fun look back at the history between Virgil and Lukaku but it was always going to end up being something else that took the headline, wasn’t it? Especially after all the media fuss.

In fairness though, when issues arose I felt like Virgil coped very well with Lukaku. There was one attack in the first half I think where Virgil used his intelligence to force an error from Lukaku and I think he was called offside? For me, that displayed again just how good Virgil is, most defenders would fluster at the thought of Lukaku running clean through but Virgil used his head and positioned perfectly.

In the end, Lukaku didn’t have much to say, Matip also put in some quality challenges to deny the Belgian progress too.

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4) Liverpool fail to capitalise

It was a frustrating result for the Reds and I can’t help but feel that it was two points dropped. Prior to kick off, I would have potentially taken a 1-1, Chelsea are a strong side and will be one of the toughest teams we face this season. However, having seen how the first half ended, we should have been able to capitilise in that second half but just couldn’t quite break through.

Chelsea were always going to close ranks after the red card but there were points where it looked like Liverpool would go on to find the net. For me though we lacked that deadly instinct from players such as Mane who didn’t have a great game and losing Firmino earlier than expected I don’t think helped. Jota is amazing but possession-wise it felt like Bobby could have helped us second half to settle back in.

Thiago coming on was a good call but he didn’t have enough time to make his mark on Saturday. I just hope we don’t end up looking back on this result come May.

5) Harvey Elliott

It was another brilliant performance from Elliott, a ballsy decision from Klopp to start him in such a big game but I think overall it was worth it. There were points in the second half where I felt like we needed a bit more control in midfield but to be fair to Harvey, he was showing real composure and control at times himself, especially for someone still finding their feet in this team.

According to the post-match stats, he covered 11.88km for Liverpool, the most covered in the match! His passing was up there too, completing 75 out of 86. I’ve been super impressed with the lad so far this season and can’t wait to see more of him.

LFCKirstyLFC 2021/2022 Season, Chelsea, Harvey Elliott, Mo Salah