PLAYER REVIEWS: Edouard Mendy makes crucial stops as Roberto Firmino goes missing at Anfield

Chelsea’s defense held out on Saturday from a bombing raid in the second half of Liverpool, as the 10-man Blues saved a point at Anfield.

The Blues’ back-line made a good case for themselves as title favorites, stifling Jürgen Klopp’s drive for a winner after a Mo Salah penalty equalized Kai Havertz’s stunning header opener.

When the star-studded showdown ended in a truce, Sportsmail RICHARD TANNER ruled the teams.

Chelsea and Liverpool played a tense 1-1 draw on Saturday as the title rivals go head to head

Chelsea and Liverpool played a tense 1-1 draw on Saturday as the title rivals go head to head

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Alisson Becker – 6

Couldn’t get rid of Havertz’s header, which skilfully landed right into the far corner and had little else to do.

Trent Alexander-Arnold 7

Looking back at his best, he underlined his passing ability with one beautiful long ball to pick out Henderson who missed a great opportunity.

Joel Matip 7

Turned by Lukaku once in the first half, but otherwise a solid display. Hit the bar with a header in the incredible scramble just before halftime.

Virgil Van Dijk 7

Never looked disturbed by Lukaku’s presence and seems like he slipped right back into the old groove after his long absence.

Vigil van Dijk's return to Liverpool's XI has strengthened them, and Lukaku has handled this well

Vigil van Dijk's return to Liverpool's XI has strengthened them, and Lukaku has handled this well

Vigil van Dijk’s return to Liverpool’s XI has strengthened them, and Lukaku has handled this well

Andrew Robertson 7

Caught in no man’s land for Havertz goal, but was his usual energetic self in his first appearance of the season.

Jordan Henderson 7

Poor early miss from Alexander-Arnold, but produced his usual industry and was inches wide with a shot in the second half before being substituted.

Fabinho 7

Back in the team after the death of his father and enjoyed the battle in midfield. A shot from Mendy knocked over early in the second half.

Harvey Elliott 7

Justified his inclusion in such a big game with a lively display, with Salah closing in on the right wing but missing a big chance in the first half.

Harvey Elliott had a chance in a critical title fight and looked ready for the level

Harvey Elliott had a chance in a critical title fight and looked ready for the level

Harvey Elliott had a chance in a critical title fight and looked ready for the level

Mo Salah 7

An emphatic penalty took him to 99 Premier League goals and built a rapport with Elliott on the right wing to cause trouble for Chelsea, but he lost an opportunity in the second half.

Roberto Firmino 5

He was recalled for his first start of the season but failed to impress and Klopp did not wait until halftime to replace him, sending Jota off after 42 minutes.

Sadio Moons 6

Important early defensive interception to prevent Rüdiger from taking advantage of Mount’s free kick and his socks worked for a small reward.

Sadio Mané worked hard but lacked the quality to unlock the 10-man European champions

Sadio Mané worked hard but lacked the quality to unlock the 10-man European champions

Sadio Mané worked hard but lacked the quality to unlock the 10-man European champions

Substitutes:

Whose for Firmino, 42 min, 6 – came close with a header and Liverpool looked much more dangerous after he came on.

Thiago for Henderson, 74 min, 6

Tsimikas for Robertson 86 minutes.

Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Konate, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino.

Chelsea (3-4-3)

Edward Mendy 8

Tried to provoke Salah for the penalty but was sent the wrong way and then booked after an altercation with Henderson. Made some good saves in the second half.

Edouard Mendy played a great match between the sticks but couldn't stop Mo Salah's penalty

Edouard Mendy played a great match between the sticks but couldn't stop Mo Salah's penalty

Edouard Mendy played a great match between the sticks but couldn’t stop Mo Salah’s penalty

Cesar Azpilicueta 7

Nervous moment when he almost turned Salah-cross into his own net, but otherwise he was his usual solid self.

Antonio Rudiger 7

Was in his usual ‘thou shalt not pass’ mood as Chelsea, with one man down, kept Liverpool at bay throughout the second half.

Andreas Christensen 7

Always looks so composed, either in the middle of the back three or on the right when Thiago Silva came in at half time.

Reece James 5

Looked angry and stunned when sent off for what was judged to be a ‘deliberate’ handball on the line after Anthony Taylor watched VAR.

Reece James' handball on the line was the turning point in the match as he was sent off

Reece James' handball on the line was the turning point in the match as he was sent off

Reece James’ handball on the line was the turning point in the match as he was sent off

Jorginho 7

UEFA’s Player of the Year produced his usual understated but flawless midifeld display.

N’golo Kante 6

Had a good game until he got injured in a collision with Mane just before half time and didn’t return for the second half.

Marcos Alonso 6

He struggled to keep Salah and Elliott at bay. Made a crucial interception to prevent Salah from taking advantage of Robertson’s cross.

Mason’s Mountain 5

He shot his chance over the goal when he should have cut the ball back for Lukaku.

Romelu Lukaku 5

Found Liverpool’s defense much tougher than Arsenal’s the week before, and his one shot fired harmlessly right at Alisson.

Romelu Lukaku couldn't terrorize the Reds' defense like he can, and found himself choked

Romelu Lukaku couldn't terrorize the Reds' defense like he can, and found himself choked

Romelu Lukaku couldn’t terrorize the Reds’ defense like he can, and found himself choked

Kai Havertz 6

He showed his quality by scoring his first goal since his Champions League winner with a clever header from James’ corner, but was substituted at half time when Tuchel was shaken again.

deputies

Thiago Silva for Havertz, 46 min, 7 – showed great experiential skills in Chelsea’s second half rearguard action

Matteo Kovacic for Kante, 45 min, 6 – put in a hard-working squad to help Chelsea make a point.

Trevor Chalobah for Jorginho 87 min.

Substitutes (not used): Arrizabalaga, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech.

Referee: Anthony Taylor7.

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