Sept 29 (Reuters) – - CHELSEA 1 LIVERPOOL 1
A stunning 30-yard strike from Daniel Sturridge earned Liverpool a point at Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, his 89th-minute effort cancelling out Eden Hazard’s fine first-half finish.
Chelsea looked certain to inflict Liverpool’s first league defeat of the season until Sturridge, who had only just come on as a substitute, picked up the ball, moved it to one side and then fired an unstoppable shot past the outstretched hand of Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It was Sturridge’s second spectacular goal against Chelsea this season, coming just three days after he fired in from a scissor kick at Anfield in the League Cup.
But while that game ended in defeat, this time Sturridge’s effort was rewarded with a point as Liverpool, who had won their previous six Premier League games, also protected their record of scoring in every game this season.
“What a game, a spectacular football game,” said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. “It was so deserved for Daniel (Sturridge), a really nice moment and I’m so happy for him.”
Liverpool are now level on points with Manchester City at the top, trailing on goal difference ahead of the two teams’ much anticipated clash at Anfield next weekend.
Chelsea, also unbeaten, are third, two points adrift on 17.
The home side went ahead in the 25th minute when Mateo Kovacic sent a perfectly weighted ball from Chelsea’s half into the path of Hazard and the Belgian shot neatly past the left hand of diving goalkeeper Alisson into the bottom corner.
Like Sturridge, Hazard had also scored at Anfield and the accomplished midfielder produced another performance to confirm his status as one of Europe’s finest players.
Hazard might have added a second after the break, and probably should have done better when he was through on Liverpool keeper Alisson, who managed to deny him.
But the game’s better chances all fell to Liverpool with Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino both having efforts cleared off the line and Xherdan Shaqiri, who replaced the Egyptian halfway through the second half, somehow shooting wide.
(Reporting by Clare Lovell and Neil Robinson, editing by Pritha Sarkar)