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5 Things Learned: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool | Premier League



(Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea and Liverpool shared the spoils in a 1-1 opening day draw.

First half strikes from Luis Diaz and Axel Disasi meant that the points were shared between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

It was a cagey start to the new Premier League season at Stamford Bridge, as both sides attempted to establish a rhythm of play.

The first chance fell to Liverpool, with Dominik Szoboszlai doing well to break into Chelsea’s box, before Diogo Jota poked an effort wide.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah went close for the visitors five minutes later, rattling Robert Sanchez’s crossbar from the edge of the box.

Liverpool took the lead in the 18th minute through winger Luis Diaz. The Reds worked the ball to Salah on the right, with the Egyptian picking out a fantastic ball for the onrushing Diaz who stabbed past Sanchez to open the scoring.

Chelsea were lucky not to fall two goals behind soon after, with the electric Salah denied by a close offside call.

Chelsea levelled against the run of play through debutant Axel Disasi in the 37th minute. A Blues corner was cleared only as far as Ben Chilwell who headed back into the box where Disasi reacted quickest to slide home an equaliser for his team.

Chelsea thought they had taken the lead a minute later, only for Chilwell’s goal to be ruled out for another close offside call.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Chelsea continued to grow into the half, with Nicolas Jackson blasting over another good opening for the Blues just before the interval.

The second half started in similarly frenetic fashion, with Virgil Van Dijk sending an effort narrowly over for Liverpool, before Chilwell was denied by Allison.

Chelsea dominated the majority of the second period without creating many clear opportunities.

In added time Liverpool nearly stole a winner through a long range Darwin Nunez effort which looped narrowly over the bar, before Mykhailo Mudryk could not convert a solid opening for the Blues at the other end, to see out a chaotic draw at Stamford Bridge.

Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Sunday’s draw at Stamford Bridge. 

1) New season, new hope?

After a 12th placed finish in their last campaign, Chelsea fans would have been hoping for major improvements this time around.

Despite not getting the win, there were many positives to take from Chelsea’s first game of the season, against a strong and experienced outfit in Liverpool.

Chelsea struggled initially but will take great confidence from their performance after equalising through Axel Disasi, largely dominating Liverpool for the rest of the match.

If Chelsea can perform in such a manner for most of the season, then they will surely finish far higher up the table.

2) Disasi debut

Axel Disasi’s signing had arguably gone under the radar ahead of the new season, however the Frenchman certainly made himself known at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Disasi struggled initially to deal with the tricky Luis Diaz, and arguably could have done more to stop the Colombian opening the scoring. However Disasi grew into the game, and showed real personality to remain alive in the box to equalise for his team.

Disasi showed other positive traits throughout the match, with a clear physicality and aerial presence to his game, but also strong progressive passing skills to help move Chelsea up the pitch.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

3) Debuts galore

Beyond the performance of Axel Disasi, there were plenty of other players making their debut in blue on the opening day. Robert Sanchez, Axel Disasi, Levi Colwill, and Nicolas Jackson all started against Liverpool, with Malo Gusto, Ian Maatsen and Lesley Ugochukwu debuting from the bench.

Robert Sanchez had a solid performance in goal for his side, stepping in at short notice for the soon to be departed Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Levi Colwill struggled initially, as he was often left isolated against a surging Salah, however like most of Chelsea’s side he grew into the game, putting in a composed and solid showing next to Silva and Disasi.

Nicolas Jackson was a lively presence throughout, running hard for his team and causing problems for a strong strong Liverpool defence. Jackson did miss a good chance late in the first half but showed enough in his all round performance to encourage blues fans about his quality.

4) Enzo Fernandez new role

One of the tactical tweaks Chelsea have seemingly made from last season is pushing Enzo Fernandez into a more advanced midfield role.

The decision looks to be a smart one, with Fernandez bossing the midfield for his team, freed from the shackles of his more defensive role in the last campaign. Fernandez was able to get stuck into the Liverpool players, duelling for the ball all over the pitch, whilst also showing dangerous attacking intent and silky dribbling skills throughout.

Fernandez was often at the heart of the Blues best attacking moves, and will look to build on his growing influence that this position affords him throughout the campaign.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

5) Formation tweaks

After consistently playing with a 4-2-3-1 throughout pre-season, Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly opted to start with a 3-5-2 on opening day. Chelsea struggled initially to adapt to the tweak in formation.

The Blues found it difficult to hold on to the ball against Liverpool’s relentless press and allowed the dangerous Mo Salah too much time and space to cause havoc down the right.

However after equalising Chelsea found their feet and some form within the system, moving the ball nicely, unleashing their wingbacks and causing Liverpool real issues going forward.

Whether Pochettino opts to stick with this formation in the long run, the ability to shift to a three at the back formation offers Chelsea tactical versatility moving forward.