Resolute Blues draw at Anfield in first leg

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1

Chelsea survived relentless second-half pressure to earn a draw from a fascinating Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.

Eden Hazard’s cool first-half penalty put the Blues ahead, but Raheem Sterling’s classy run and shot deservedly drew Liverpool level.

Chelsea rarely threatened to add to their 18th-minute opener as the Reds dominated possession and territory, with keeper Thibaut Courtois making a couple of superb saves.

But Jose Mourinho’s men, who were looking for a third consecutive away victory over Liverpool, will be pleased with a draw from a gutsy display heading in to next Tuesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard’s spot-kick, after he was fouled by Emre Can following some excellent approach play by the ever-impressive Cesc Fabregas, put the visitors ahead against the run of play.

Chelsea, with John Mikel Obi preferred to Oscar in a more defensively-minded midfield, were happy to surrender possession and restrict Liverpool to half-chances – which they did until Sterling struck.

The hosts caused a couple of nervy moments but the only save the recalled Courtois had to make was from a dipping Steven Gerrard strike.

Gary Cahill also had to make a fine clearance, but with Liverpool looking increasingly threatening, Hazard netted from the spot.

Liverpool continued to have more of the ball, but Chelsea’s quality on the counter-attack could easily have led to a second away goal.

A three-on-one break should have produced a chance and Hazard and Fabregas were finding space.

The home side had a shout for a penalty of their own in injury time when they claimed handball against Diego Costa after the ball hit his hand from close range.

Costa almost ran through on goal after the restart, but the home pressure finally told when Sterling got beyond Nemanja Matic to score.

Gerard then hit the outside of the post and Courtois also had to make a fine save to deny Philippe Coutinho and then, even more impressively, from substitute Adam Lallana to ensure it remained 1-1.

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Filipe Luis; Matic, Mikel; Willian (Azpilicueta 89), Fabregas, Hazard; Costa.
Subs not used: Cech, Zouma, Ramires, Oscar, Remy, Drogba.

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