Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Cautious Conte showed Liverpool too much respect at Anfield

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte barking orders during Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Antonio Conte barking orders at Chelsea players against Liverpool

Liverpool and Chelsea played a 1-1 draw in a game where the two sides needed a win to close the gap on Manchester city as Pep's side are running away with the title.

Jurgen Klopp rested two of his regular starters, Sadio Mane and Firminho, some said he was rotating due to the busy schedule for the festive season while some pundits said both attackers were scape goat for their poor showing in the second half at Sevilla on Tuesday. 

Yesterday's line-up looked weak, playing Sturridge who is not a regular, definitely not match fit and Ox-lade Chamberlain, Liverpool were lucky to get a draw out of this match.

On the other side, Antonio Conte's tactics in the match was questionable, Liverpool were there for the taking but Italian coach played a defensive 3-5-2 formation from the start to cope with Liverpool's firepower. The midfield trio of Danny Drinkwater, Bakayoko and Ngolo Kante lacked any creativity, Chelsea struggled to find Morata in good positions, Hazard was the main man as usual but the Belgian had to drop deep to pick up the ball or find himself in space whenever Chelsea are on the counter.

Chelsea dominated the game but lacked the creativity upfront without Fabregas in the team, Drinkwater and Bakayoko made some runs into the Liverpool box, finding space at will but Chelsea struggled to pick the final pass, either the pass was too long or too short, the final ball was poor.

Bakayoko can't pass under pressure, Liverpool's pressing led to a lot of misplaced passing from the French midfielder as he struggled to impose himself in the game, Kante with all his hard work finds it hard to pick a pass, Drinkwater played okay.

Chelsea star Eden Hazard takes on Liverpool defender
Klavan tries to stop the brilliant Eden Hazard during Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

Eden Hazard was the main man as usual, the Belgian star looked unstoppable in the first half but he faded out after he was clattered by Liverpool 2 minutes into the second half, it looked like Klopp instructed his players to deliberately foul him. 

Michael Oliver failed to book Klavan and Henderson for fouls on the Belgian, this has been a problem for creative players in the league, Hazard for one has been subjected to regular kicks by opposing teams as coaches and players target him, English referees have to do better in protecting creative players.

In the 65th minute, Liverpool scored their goal against the run of play as Bakayoko gifted Salah the chance to score against his former club, the Egyptian did not celebrate his goal as a sign of respect to last week's terror attack in Egypt.

Liverpool attacker Mo Salah honors Egypt terror attack victims vs Chelsea
Mo Salah did not celebrate his goal against Chelsea in honor of the Egypt terror attack victims

Conte persisted with his starting line up till the 75th minute which was a little bit late, the Italian gaffer makes most of his substitution after the 70th minute mark in games, a problem fans complain about.

Fabregas came on for Danny Drinkwater and imposed himself in the game immediately, picking up passes at will, Struggling Bakayoko was subbed off for Pedro, while Willian came on for Zappacosta in the 83rd minute. Chelsea begin to threaten, and it did not take long for Willian to equalize with a cross that deceived Mignolet.

Liverpool were on the back foot after this, Klopp waited until the 89th minute to bring on Mane and Adam Llalana, the match ended in a draw with Chelsea finishing stronger.

Sadio Mane was not happy with Klopp as both had a little chat after the final whistle before Klopp gave the senegalese a hug, Conte and Chelsea fans celebrated the draw but this match was there for them to win. 

Chelsea will look to win their next 8 games and the fixtures look easy but Antonio Conte needs to be less cautious in games like this.

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