England: Chelsea and Liverpool neutralize each other and do City’s business

A shock, goals, but a draw that does not suit anyone: as in the first leg, Chelsea and Liverpool could not decide (2-2), Sunday at Stamford Bridge, on the 21st day of the championship of ‘England.

This result gives Manchester City a little more space at the top of the table. The formation of Pep Guardiola, victorious in extremis on Saturday at the Emirates against Arsenal (2-1), now has ten points ahead of Chelsea, and eleven over Liverpool, who have one more game to play.

The Reds may harbor more regrets than their opponents, having led 2-0 at the half hour mark, and looking impregnable until the approach of half-time.

But it is on the side of Chelsea that the atmosphere is likely to be the heaviest in the coming days.

The Blues indeed confirm their difficulties against the big cars, since they have taken only three points out of fifteen against City, Liverpool and Manchester United this season. Their last convincing victory in the league dates back to last May, at the Etihad Stadium, against Manchester City (2-1). Too little for the reigning European champion.

– The Lukaku case –

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored against Brighton at Stamford on December 29, 2021, has been ruled out for Liverpool’s arrival (AFP / Archives – Glyn KIRK)

Their next championship game will be the last chance for the title race, as it will take place at the Etihad Stadium, against the leader, who remains on eleven consecutive victories.

Thomas Tuchel will have to settle the dispute by then with his center-forward Romelu Lukaku, removed from this shock for having expressed his dissatisfaction with his situation. The German coach will also certainly have to respond to criticism of such a sacrifice for such a crucial game, as his best striker returned to the fore, with two goals in two matches.

The first half was less spectacular than the score would suggest, with four goals scored in just five clear chances for both sides.

Without his coach Jürgen Klopp, in isolation after a positive test for Covid-19, Liverpool seemed to have folded the meeting from the half hour mark, with a first goal from Sadio Mané following a bad intervention from Chalobah (9th, 1-0), then a new achievement from Mohamed Salah, well launched by Alexander-Arnold, and who erased Marcos Alonso with an unstoppable body sham before adjusting Edouard Mendy (26th, 2-0).

The offensive expression of the Blues was totally inhibited during most of the first period, where they failed to build a single successful action. Their only chance, in the seventh minute, was the consequence of an imprecision by Alexander-Arnold.

Chelsea players congratulate themselves after the equalizer against Liverpool signed Christian Pulisic (N.10) at Stamford Bridge on January 2, 2022 (AFP - Adrian DENNIS)
Chelsea players congratulate themselves after the equalizer against Liverpool signed Christian Pulisic (N.10) at Stamford Bridge on January 2, 2022 (AFP – Adrian DENNIS)

The reduction of the score, on a splendid volley from Mateo Kovacic (42nd, 2-1), then the equalizer of Christian Pulisic, well launched by Kanté, held the miracle (45th + 1, 2-2).

– Bottle throw in Leeds –

The two teams were evenly matched in the second half, with an unbridled pace in the first quarter of an hour – opportunities for Marcos Alonso in the 51st, Pulisic in the 62nd on the Chelsea side, Salah in the 57th and Mané in the 58th on the Liverpool side.

They then controlled each other until the end of the game, despite the bad deal of this result in the title race.

The match was also an opportunity for the Premier League to reintroduce, on a trial basis, a no-seat grandstand in an English league clash for the first time since 1994, and the match went off without incident.

On the other hand, Burnley defender Matt Lowton received a bottle in the face thrown from the stands as his team celebrated the goal of former Lyon player Maxwell Cornet, in the 3-1 defeat at Leeds ahead of the clash between the Blues and Reds.

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.

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