Thomas Tuchel delighted by Chelsea’s dogged defensive display at Anfield

The Blues boss was pleased to see his team dig in for a point after Reece James’ dismissal.

Thomas Tuchel was pleased with his team’s response to Reece James’ red card (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer

Thomas Tuchel was delighted by 10-man Chelsea’s dogged defensive display after Reece James’ red card in Saturday’s hard-fought draw at Liverpool.

A captivating end-to-end first half was followed by one-way traffic after the break on Saturday evening at a vibrant Anfield.

Kai Havertz opened the scoring with a superb looping header, but Mohamed Salah levelled with a penalty during a dramatic end to the opening period.

Anthony Taylor sent off Chelsea full-back James for handling a Sadio Mane shot during a penalty-box melee after reviewing the footage on the advice of the video assistant referee.

The Blues were furious with the decision but channelled it in a positive fashion as Tuchel’s men dug deep to secure a 1-1 draw.

“I don’t like these early red cards of course – not at Liverpool when we play but in general,” the Chelsea manager said.

Chelsea’s Reece James saw red at Anfield (Mike Egerton/PA)

“For me it’s a bit the spoiler of the game. Nobody I think wants to see that for 45 minutes, they want to see a high-level game and even me when I’m watching on TV I don’t like it.

“I have no solution now for it and no better idea in the moment but in general it is a spoiler.

“The situation itself, I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s a wrong decision but I did not like the way the referee checked it because for me he checked only the image.”

Tuchel added: “I would have wished for a longer consideration, a longer thought and a better view on the whole situation.

“Maybe he would have taken the same. I think it stays a grey situation and he could have maybe taken the same decision and we have to live with it.”

N’Golo Kante went off because of injury (Nick Potts/PA)

Tuchel confirmed returning midfielder N’Golo Kante was replaced at half-time due to injury, which he says made the point at Anfield all the more impressive.

“I mean, can there be any harder to challenge us than then going one man down and taking N’Golo Kante off at half-time at Anfield? I don’t know,” he added. “And having Liverpool playing towards the Kop.

“(It’s a) pretty tough one but we did excellent and we are super happy how we did and we feel like we deserved a point.”

Liverpool counterpart Klopp confirmed forward Roberto Firmino sustained a hamstring issue in the first half of a hard-fought encounter with Chelsea.

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“Today we obviously had bigger chances in the first half already, which we didn’t score,” the Reds manager said.

“The performance was really good against the strongest Chelsea side for a long, long time.

“It’s always difficult against Chelsea and it’s now difficult against Chelsea, so I was really happy with the first half.

“The second half, I’m not somebody that just watches from time to time and says ‘oh 11 against 10, that must be easy’.

“I saw five million games, I know that’s really not a massive advantage, especially against a quality side like Chelsea with the defending skills they have.

Jurgen Klopp acknowledged his team could have been better against Chelsea (Mike Egerton/PA)

“They knew the job they had to do was just to defend in and around the box more or less, and it was tricky.

“We could have done better for sure but it’s early in the season. We need this one moment where you get through, where you can finish it off.

“We had our finishers, we had good football moments. We tried everything, we defended the potential counter-attacks most of the time really well – sometimes we had to run a bit further to catch them again but we did.

“Chelsea put a proper shift in as well and I respect that, so it’s a draw. Just take the point and carry on.”

Liverpool released a statement after the match condemning those supporters who ignored pleas not to sing a homophobic chant aimed at Chelsea.

“This chant is not acceptable,” the club said on Twitter.

“It goes against the values of our football club and needs to stop. We stand shoulder to shoulder with @LFC_LGBT and will continue to do so. #RedTogether.”

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