In the biggest game of the weekend at Anfield, it was probably fair that both clubs came away with a point, even if Liverpool were a poorly hit cross away from taking all three.
They’ll be disappointed that Willian’s clipped cross stole over Simon Mignolet and landed in the back of the net, but in the end neither side did enough to be able to complain too heartily at their failure to win, all things considered.
As has been evident all season, though, Liverpool have a wonderful front three that sees the rest of their side pale in comparison. The holes in the Reds’ defence are exposed that little bit more by the scrutiny it comes under because their contribution seems so weak when stacked up against the attack.
This weekend, though, a new member of that front three started against Chelsea. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal in the summer ostensibly to play in the centre of midfield. But perhaps when you’re going to take part in a dynamic attacking trio which includes Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on top form, replacing one of them with a spot on the left wing may not be too much of an imposition. Actually, if they’re on song, it sounds like a lot of fun.
And Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to take his chance.
On a day when Liverpool’s attack line was rotated for reasons known only to Jurgen Klopp, both Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge were given a chance to impress. Only the former Arsenal player came out with an enhanced reputation, however.
Attempting seven dribbles in the game shows his impact, and the clear instructions from his manager to get involved in the game and make things happen. The fact that he only completed four shouldn’t be seen as too much of a drawback: this was up against a packed Chelsea defence, one of the best teams in the league playing a purposefully defensive style. But the mentality he displayed is important – it shows he fits in with the other direct attackers already at the club.
And yet it wasn’t just his directness which stood out. Chamberlain’s contribution to his side’s pressing and their own defensive output was also in evidence. In the Liverpool team all game, only James Milner and Alberto Moreno made more tackles, and on a day when Chelsea clearly felt that the Spanish left-back was the weak link, Chamberlain showed an effective willingness to help the defender behind him.
As performances against big teams go, this wasn’t a bad one for his new club. The summer signing got involved in the game with 63 touches and contributed both defensively and offensively, also providing an assist for Mohamed Salah’s goal. And in the absence of Sadio Mane, he did his chances of getting a regular starting berth under Jurgen Klopp no harm.