PLAYER RATINGS: Mendy produces crucial stops as Firmino goes missing

PLAYER RATINGS: Edouard Mendy produces crucial stops to keep 10-man Chelsea level… as Roberto Firmino makes little impact before being taken off

  • Chelsea travelled to Anfield to face Liverpool in an early title race showdown
  • The 10-man Blues held the Reds after Reece James was sent-off before half-time
  • Chelsea’s defence had to dig in and Antonio Rudiger was among the battlers
  • Roberto Firmino and Romelu Lukaku both found the defences too strong  

Chelsea’s defence held firm through a second-half bombardment from Liverpool on Saturday, as the 10-man Blues salvaged a point at Anfield.  

The Blues’ back-line made a good case for themselves as title favourites, smothering Jurgen Klopp’s side’s push for a winner after a Mo Salah penalty equalised from Kai Havertz’s stunning headed opener.  

As the star-packed showdown ended in a truce, Sportsmail’s RICHARD TANNER ran the rule over the teams. 

Chelsea and Liverpool played-out a tense 1-1 draw on Saturday as the title rivals faced-off 

Could nothing about Havertz’s header which was expertly directly into the far corner and otherwise didn’t have a lot to do.

Trent Alexander-Arnold 7

Looks right back to his best and underlined his passing ability with one superb long ball to pick out Henderson who missed a great chance.

Joel Matip 7

Turned by Lukaku once in first half but otherwise a solid display. Hit the bar with a header in the incredible goal-mouth scramble just before the break..

Virgil Van Dijk 7

Never looked ruffled by the presence of Lukaku and looks like he has slipped straight back into the old groove after his long lay off.

Vigil van Dijk’s return to Liverpool’s XI has strengthened them, with Lukaku dealth with well 

Andrew Robertson 7

Caught in no-man’s land for Havertz goal but was his usual energetic self in his first appearance of the season.

Jordan Henderson 7

Bad early miss from Alexander-Arnold’s ball but produced his usual industry and was inches wide with second half shot before being subbed.

Fabinho 7

Back in the team after the death of his father and relished the midfield battle. Had a shot tipped round by Mendy early in the second half.

Harvey Elliott 7

Justified his inclusion in such a big game with a lively display, linking well Salah on the right flank, but he missed a great chance in the first half.

Harvey Elliott was granted an opportunity in a critical title clash and looked ready for the level

Mo Salah 7

Emphatic penalty put him on 99 Premier League goals and built a good rapport with Elliott on right flank to cause Chelsea problems but wasted second half chance.

Roberto Firmino 5

Recalled for his first start this season but made little impact and Klopp didn’t wait till half-time to replace him – sending on Jota after 42 minutes.

Sadio Mane 6

Important early defensive interception to stop Rudiger capitalising on Mount’s free-kick and worked his socks off for little reward.

Sadio Mane worked hard but didn’t have the quality to unlock the 10-man European champions

Substitutes:

Jota for Firmino, 42 mins, 6 – went close with header and Liverpool looked far more dangerous after he came on.

Thiago for Henderson, 74 mins, 6

Tsimikas for Robertson 86 mins.

Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Konate, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino.

Chelsea (3-4-3)

Eduoard Mendy 8

Tried to psyche out Salah before the penalty but was sent the wrong way and then booked following an altercation with Henderson. Made some good second half saves.

Edouard Mendy had a superb game between the sticks, only failing to stop Mo Salah’s penalty

Cesar Azpilicueta 7

Nervy moment when he almost turned Salah cross into his own net but otherwise was his usual solid self.

Antonio Rudiger 7

Was in his usual ‘thou-shall-not-pass’ mood as Chelsea, with a man down, kept Liverpool at bay throughout the second half.

Andreas Christensen 7

Always looks so composed either in the middle of back three or on the right side when Thiago Silva came on at half-time.

Reece James 5

Looked angry and bemused when sent off for what was judged a ‘deliberate’ handball on the line after Anthony Taylor had looked at VAR.

Reece James’ handball on the line was the turning point in the game, as he was sent-off 

Jorginho 7

UEFA’s player of the year produced his usual under-stated but faultless midifeld display.

N’golo Kante 6

Was having a good game until he was injured in a collision with Mane just before the break and didn’t return for second half.

Marcos Alonso 6

Had his work cut out trying to keep Salah and Elliott at bay. Produced a vital interception to stop Salah from profiting from Robertson cross.

Mason Mount 5

Fired his once chance across the face of the goal when he should have cut the ball back for Lukaku.

Romelu Lukaku 5

Found Liverpool’s defence a much sterner stuff than Arsenal’s the week before and his one shot deflected harmlessly straight at Alisson.

Romelu Lukaku couldn’t terrorise the Reds defence like he can, finding himself smothered  

Kai Havertz 6

Showed his quality by scored his first goal since his Champions League winner with a clever header from James’ corner but was replaced at half-time as Tuchel re-shuffled.

Substitutes

Thiago Silva for Havertz, 46 mins, 7 – showed great experience skills in Chelsea’s second half rearguard action

Matteo Kovacic for Kante, 45 mins, 6 – put in a hard-working shift to help Chelsea dig out a point.

Trevor Chalobah for Jorginho 87 mins.

Substitutes (not used): Arrizabalaga, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech.

Referee: Anthony Taylor 7. 




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