Chelsea held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg tie at Anfield on Tuesday.
The Blues took the lead through an Eden Hazard penalty in the 18th minute before a sensational run by Raheem Sterling produced the equalizer for the Reds in the second half.
Brendan Rodgers’ side pressed on for the winner but their attempts were denied by some superb goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea to keep things all square.
The result means Chelsea have a slight advantage ahead of the second leg tie at Stamford Bridge in a week’s time. Here are three things we learned from the fixture:
José Mourinho will certainly be the happier manager going into next week’s decider as his side were able to withstand a barrage of attacks to keep things level after 90 minutes.
The Blues were far from their best throughout the duration of the match and only mustered one shot on target (the penalty), but it’s the result that matters and that’s what Chelsea know how to do best – getting good results from poor performances.
At home, their form has been impeccable and with this in mind, Mourinho’s side remain firm favorites to play at Wembley on March 1.
In November 2014, when these two sides last met, the morale at Anfield was at a massive low and calls for Brendan Rodgers to be sacked dominated the airwaves after a string of poor performances.
Fast forward two months, and Liverpool are now resembling a side that is serious about playing Champions League next season. The Reds were the dominant side throughout this particular encounter and extended their unbeaten run to nine in all competitions in the process.
Despite going down early, they never gave up and kept working hard, forcing the Chelsea players into errors and never allowed the Blues to gain any real foothold in midfield. They probably deserved more than a draw on the evidence of this performance.
Sterling the shining light for Liverpool
Sterling was the standout performer on the pitch in Tuesday’s match. Apart from scoring the equaliser, the 19-year-old was the prominent figure in Liverpool’s attack and was involved in all of his side’s best moves.
It was a performance that had everything: tenacity, energy and decisiveness. His pace and dribbling ability were very much pronounced in the lead in to his goal as he took the opposition defence apart before slotting the ball past Courtois and into the bottom right corner.
He will need to be at his best in the coming weeks as Liverpool continue to compete on four fronts this season.
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