Gary Cahill’s first-half header won the match for Chelsea – but the match was anything but a friendly affair, as tackles flew all across the pitch, and referee Baldomero Toledo dished out six yellow cards and one red.
Spain star Fabregas got his matching orders for a crude studs-up challenge on Ragnar Klavan in the 70th minute in California, which left the Estonian writhing on the pitch.
Five Liverpool players were booked – Alberto Moreno, Marko Grujic, Klavan, Ovie Ejaria and Dejan Lovren – while Cahill himself was lucky to only pick up a yellow for his over the top lunge on Connor Randall.
But it was the England centre-back, playing his first game since his country’s dismal Euro2016 performance, who grabbed the only goal of a scrappy, disjointed pre-season contest.
From Fabregas’ tenth minute corner, Cahill climbed easily above Grujic to thump his header home as Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities were once again exposed.
Jurgen Klopp’s team almost levelled however when Philippe Coutinho’s free kick forced a fine one-handed save out of Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who tipped the ball round the post.
Chelsea’s livewire manager Antonio Conte was at one stage involved in a touchline row with referee Toledo in a feisty match – but his team could have added to their score when Victor Moses shot just over from the edge of the area.
Liverpool did have the ball in the net when Roberto Firmino scored, but his effort was ruled offside. Klopp’s team had plenty of the ball but were unable to break down Conte’s supremely well organised side, even when they were reduced to ten men after Fabregas’ dismissal.
Skipper John Terry, handed a new one year deal at the end of the season by Chelsea, and Cahill, held their team together under some fierce Liverpool pressure.