Jurgen Klopp accepted a draw was a fair result after Liverpool struggled to break down Chelsea’s 10 men in the second half at Anfield.
Kai Havertz headed Chelsea into a 22nd-minute lead at Anfield, an advantage they retained until the key moment of the Premier League contest deep into added time in the first half, with Reece James sent off for handling the ball on the line.
Joel Matip hit the crossbar with a close-range header before Sadio Mane’s follow-up attempt amid a scramble inside the six-yard box saw James keep the attempt out with his arm, albeit only after the ball had bounced up off his knee.
Mohamed Salah converted from the spot to draw Liverpool level, yet the home team failed to make their numerical advantage tell in the second half as the game finished 1-1.
“Really exciting game, I saw a really exciting game. It was tough, it was hard for both teams,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“We had a really good first half, a good 45 minutes. With the first situation for Chelsea we conceded a goal – that’s not cool.
“Everybody who watches the Premier League, who watches Chelsea knows they are pretty good at defending. The goal we scored and the penalty we got was very deserved. I feel for Reece, because it was obviously tricky, but it was a penalty.
“In the second half, everyone thinks against 10 men, ‘Oh, come on’. This kind of stuff.
“But there is no advantage. There is an advantage in possession, yes you have to outnumber them, but the defensive structure changed in that they defended slightly deeper. They had eight players, eight players defending that area around the box.”
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: The Reds have 14 shots in the second half against Chelsea’s 10 men, but can’t find a way through.
If Spurs win vs Watford tomorrow, they’ll be the only side with three wins from three to start the season! pic.twitter.com/wwHgaUNVL1
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel felt the dismissal of James rather ruined the game as a spectacle, though opposite number Klopp was not overly concerned by his side’s inability to capitalise on the red card.
Edouard Mendy was called on to make six saves, his most in a single appearance since joining Chelsea in any competition, but Liverpool were too often forced to take on long-range attempts.
“We had our shots from distance, Mendy saved them, I would have loved to see us a little bit closer for the rebounds or whatever, but, again, it was a good game,” Klopp continued.
“We played a good game. I loved the intensity, I loved the atmosphere we created altogether, the people in the stands and on the pitch.
“Chelsea deserved a draw, plus we get a point as well.
“I don’t know how the result would have been with 11 against 11, but it was 1-1 and that’s really okay.
“It’s really early in the season. I know people tend to make a big fuss about everything, but we drew against the best team from last season in Europe. That’s okay.”
The one concern for Klopp came with an injury to Roberto Firmino, who had to be replaced in the first half with what the Liverpool manager revealed to be a muscle problem, adding: “I hope it’s not too big”.
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