Date published: Tuesday 31st January 2017 10:53
Simon Mignolet prevented Chelsea from moving 11 points clear as he saved Diego Costa’s spot-kick in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Yet the point did stretch the Blues’ lead slightly to nine points following Arsenal’s 1-2 home defeat to Watford, while the Reds remain 10 points behind in fourth place.
Liverpool were quick out of the starting blocks on a slick, slippery surface at Anfield, and forced Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into early action when Georginio Wijnaldum unleashed a fierce drive from 20 yards.
Chelsea then began to offer a threat on the counter attack and took the lead in the 24th minute after David Luiz caught the four-man Liverpool wall completely off-guard with a stunning free-kick which crashed into the net via the post.
The league leaders then remained comfortable until the half-time break as Liverpool struggled for ideas, but three minutes after the restart Roberto Firmino blazed a glorious chance to level for the hosts well wide.
Liverpool did not dwell on the big miss for long, though, as Wijnaldum nodded in James Milner’s deflected header from close range in the 57th minute.
Reds fans had to wait another 20 minutes until they saw the return of Sadio Mane from the bench, but he was only on the pitch for mere seconds before he witnessed Mark Clattenburg award Chelsea a penalty.
However, the often-criticised Mignolet denied Diego Costa with a fine save low down to his right-hand side.
More to follow…