Chelsea and Liverpool played out an enthralling 1-1 draw as the two sides could not be separated in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.
The Blues, who led through a Hazard penalty in the first half, were pegged back when Sterling ran through in the second half, which means it is all to play for in the return leg at Stamford Bridge a week today.
On paper, Chelsea should be better player-for-player but there is always a fiesty contest between these two enemies and always brings the best out of Liverpool. This was seen as Liverpool recorded 61% possession and a staggering 18 shots. The visitors had only two shots.
But the key statistic is the scoreline and in that there was parity, despite a very fast-paced game.
Mourinho brought back Courtois and filed a strong side and got the start they were after in the 18th minute. Fabregas worked the ball superbly down the left and his pull back to Hazard got away from the Belgian a little. Still, Hazard managed to regain his footing, took a step past Can and fell under his trailing leg: certain penalty.
As expected, Hazard then tucked the penalty away against his compatriot Mignolet.
Sustained dominance by Chelsea in the first half, though perhaps not to the levels of parking the bus, were certainly over-turned in the second. Liverpool came out all guns blazing and this was epitomised through Sterling, who ran past the Chelsea wall and slotted past Courtois.
It was a disappointing goal to concede given Sterling ran past Mikel, Matic and Cahill, and Courtois certainly could have done better, but it was nothing more than what Liverpool deserved.
Gerrard hit the post in the moments after as Chelsea started to shake, and Lallana pulled out a fantastic save from Courtois but, with reinforcements in Ramires and Azpilicueta, Mourinho shut up shop and we go into the second leg, at home, with a place in the Capital One Cup final at stake.
Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: Often, if Chelsea are to create anything, it has to be through the Belgian. This was evident early in the first half, when he had the beating of Can, won the penalty and converted with such aplomb. It was just a shame, from a Chelsea perspective, that Rodgers and Liverpool latched onto that and was much tighter on the Belgian in the second half. 7/10
Mourinho was as philosophical as ever: “It’s a draw. I am not sad as a defeat, not as happy as a victory. My emotion is in the middle. I’m not saying we are favourites now.”
Rodgers was disappointed his side didn’t convert a fantastic second-half performance into a victory: “I’m delighted with the performance, disappointed with the result. We thoroughly deserved to win the game.”