Chelsea-Liverpool draw leaves City winners

·3-min read

Chelsea fought back from two down to draw 2-2 with Liverpool in a breathless encounter between the title chasers at Stamford Bridge - but their dropped points left champions Manchester City the real winners.

Sunday's draw left Chelsea second on 43 points from 21 games, one point ahead of Liverpool, who have a game in hand - but leaders City are now 10 points ahead of their nearest pursuers with 53 points from their 21 matches.

It all left Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta sighing: "The more points we leave behind, the happier Manchester City will be."

With both sides weakened by COVID absences - and Chelsea dropping striker Romelu Lukaku after his public criticism of the tactics of coach Thomas Tuchel - Liverpool quickly had the game in their grip after goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Mane capitalised on an error by Trevoh Chalobah to open the scoring in the ninth minute and Salah doubled the lead 17 minutes later when he ghosted past Marcos Alonso to lift the ball over goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from a tight angle.

But the Blues clawed their way back in the 42nd minute when Mateo Kovacic majestically volleyed in off a post from the edge of the box after a punched clearance by Liverpool reserve keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Four minutes later, Chelsea were level when Christian Pulisic latched onto a pass by N'Golo Kante that beat Liverpool's offside trap and the American forward coolly lifted the ball over Kelleher into the net.

"For the public it must have been an unbelievable game," said Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders, deputising for coronavirus-isolating Jurgen Klopp.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said: "It was a brilliant match. Everybody not in the stadium missed something.

"There were a lot of reasons to say this was maybe not our day. But we did not give in."

Earlier on Sunday, late goals from Stuart Dallas and sub Daniel James earned Leeds a crucial 3-1 victory over Burnley that moved them eight points clear of the relegation zone.

But while Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was able to celebrate, two fellow high profile managers - Aston Villa's Steven Gerrard and Everton's Rafa Benitez - were left frustrated by defeats.

Villa went down 2-1 at Brentford while Brighton continued their fine season with a 3-2 win at Everton.

At Elland Road, Leeds looked sharp from the off with Jack Harrison finding the net in the 39th minute from a tight angle.

But Ivorian sub Maxwel Cornet fired in a 25-metre free kick in the 54th minute before Dallas scored the pivotal second for Leeds 13 minutes from time.

James' stoppage-time header then sealed a first win in five league games for Leeds, who stayed 16th on 19 points, eight clear of 18th-placed Burnley.

Alexis Mac Allister scored twice in Brighton's win that piled more pressure on Benitez.

Even the long-awaited return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin after almost five months out with a thigh injury didn't help Everton as the striker missed a first-half penalty.

By then, Everton were already 2-0 down after Mac Allister's opener in the third minute and a header from Dan Burn in the 21st.

Anthony Gordon scored his first two goals for Everton in the 53rd and 76th minutes, but Mac Allister's second in between that double added to pressure on Benitez, whose side have won just once in the last 12 matches.

At Brentford, Mads Roerslev scored his first goal for the home side to earn them a comeback 2-1 home win over Villa after Yoane Wissa had cancelled out an early Danny Ings opener for the visitors.

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