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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel questions Reece James red card in Anfield thriller

Reece James of Chelsea is shown a red card by Anthony Taylor during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel suggested referee Anthony Taylor didn't see the full picture as he showed Reece James a red card in a thrilling 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

The European champions put on a defensive masterclass as Tuchel’s men dug deep to secure a 1-1 draw at Liverpool after Reece James was sent off during an explosive end to the first half.

Kai Havertz headed Chelsea into the lead during a captivating opening period that ended dramatically as the video assistant referee advised Anthony Taylor to check the pitchside monitor.

Players of Chelsea and Liverpool clash as Reece James of Chelsea (not pictured) is sent off. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The referee sent off James for handball and Mohamed Salah scored from the resulting penalty, but Liverpool could not eke out a second-half winner as Chelsea channelled their anger into a superb defensive display.

"The red card - I'm not even sure any more if it's the rules or not the rules. You have to accept the decision. He maybe would have changed his mind with moving pictures," said Tuchel.

"I was worried the referee looked at one photo and decided it was a red card. I would have liked a longer check. I can remember referees that explained if it is a deflection and it is not a very unnatural arm position it is not a penalty."

"In the end it maybe would have stayed the same. I don't like early red cards in general because it spoils the game. In the end it was a tough and hard fight. We showed great resilience and deserved the point.

"We decided to stay in a back five. We wanted to stay active and make it hard to create chances. The first 10 minutes seemed endless. The last five minutes I was actually praying we take what we deserved. It was a hard and a tough one, but a very strong second half defensively.

"I cannot praise the team enough, I do not know if there is a harder stadium than City and Anfield to go one man down.

"Because of Liverpool's quality and energy, for the first 10 minutes it felt like it was never going to end.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores their sides first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

"Then, the next half an hour it was like maybe we will create a chance and score one and make it harder for them.

"For the last five minutes hopefully we survive and take a well-deserved point. Resilience and team-work was absolutely fantastic."

Chelsea captain captain Cesar Azpilicueta echoed his manager's thoughts, as he suggested referee Taylor didn't make the decision on his own.

"Harsh. I feel sorry for Reece," said the Spaniard. "The referee got advice from VAR to give it. He went to the screen to watch one replay.

"We got the double punishment, red card and a penalty - and two yellow cards in the same action. We were angry. But you have to calm down and find a way to fight together as a team. I think the team fought and maybe we had the best two chances in the second half."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted the James decision was "a clear penalty", as he suggested Chelsea's defensive strength was shown in the second half.

"It was a clear penalty, but I did feel sorry for Reece because he just reacted," said Klopp of the penalty incident.

"It was an exceptional game and everything was enjoyable apart from the result. I saw two very good football teams. It was a great first half from us and actually a good second one because it's so tricky when you play against nine defenders and have to create and create.

"Could we have done better? Yes. But it's early in the season. For sure we should have made more of the advantage. We have one point more than before so let's carry on."

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