Costa Misses Pen As Blues Held  (Sky Sports)

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1

Georginio WijnaldumChelsea strengthened their grip on the Premier League title with a 1-1 draw at Liverpool although Diego Costa missed a late penalty.

On a night where Arsenal and Tottenham dropped points, Chelsea, who remain nine points clear, took a first-half lead courtesy of a wonderfully executed 30-yard free-kick from David Luiz that caught Simon Mignolet unawares.

Georginio Wijnaldum headed an equaliser for Jurgen Klopp's team but they had to be thankful to Mignolet with 15 minutes remaining as he saved Costa's spot-kick after the Chelsea striker had been fouled by Joel Matip.

The result snapped a run of three straight defeats for Liverpool but they still remain winless in the Premier League in 2017.

Chelsea take on third-place Arsenal, live on Sky Sports, on Saturday lunchtime.

Liverpool were boosted pre-match with the return of Sadio Mane to their ranks, although he was only fit enough for the bench. Chelsea kept to their tried and tested formula that had won 15 of their last 16 Premier League games, making just one change as Pedro was given a rest and Willian came in.

Klopp's men tried to get in Chelsea faces in the early stages, but the visitors were in wily mood as they sat deep and took the sting out of Liverpool's high press.

Wijnaldum stung the palms of Thibaut Courtois on 12 minutes but that was Liverpool's only shot on target of the first-half.

Chelsea looked a threat when Eden Hazard and Costa got the ball in Liverpool's final third.

Hazard was tripped by Adam Lallana on 24 minutes, which paved the way for Luiz to score from the resulting free-kick.

Willian lined the set-piece up but Luiz took the initiative while Mignolet was still getting himself set and fired an arrow-like effort into net via the post. Liverpool complained to the referee Mark Clattenburg but he clearly whistled four seconds before Luiz struck the ball. It was the Brazilian's first goal since returning from PSG.

A free-kick from a similar position by Willian had to be palmed away by Mignolet moments later as the ball skidded off the sodden Anfield turf.

Liverpool managed to open up Chelsea for the first time on 49 minutes but Roberto Fimino shanked an effort from 12 yards straight into the stands when well found by Nathaniel Clyne.

The Anfield faithful were celebrating eight minutes later.

Jordan Henderson chipped a magnificent ball to the back post, where James Milner were was waiting. The full-back kept his cool and headed a clever cross into the box which was bundled home by Wijnaldum, who is making a habit of scoring important goals at home following his winner against Manchester City.

The equaliser changed the atmosphere inside the stadium but Chelsea rode the storm and hit Liverpool on the break with 15 minutes left.

Cotsa, who had run Matip ragged all night, turned the defender inside the area and after a collision of knees, the Blues top scorer hit the deck. Clattenburg pointed straight to the spot.

With Arsenal losing at Watford and Spurs drawing at Sunderland, this was a penalty that could take Chelsea 11 points clear at the top.

Costa stepped up but - despite striking it with power - Mignolet guessed correctly and clawed the ball behind for a corner.

Both teams had chances to win it in injury time as Firmino headed straight at Courtois and Pedro curled an effort inches wide from the edge of the box.

At the final whistle, Antonio Conte charged towards the away end and celebrated with the travelling fans. He knew this could be precious point.

Catch them if you can.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Courtois (7), Azpilicueta (7), David Luiz (8), Cahill (7), Moses (5), Kante (8), Matic (7), Alonso (6), Willian (7), Diego Costa (7), Hazard (7)

Subs: Fabregas (7), Pedro (6), Batshuayi (6)

Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Clyne (7), Lovren (5), Matip (5), Milner (7), Henderson (7), Can (6), Wijnaldum (7), Lallana (6), Coutinho (6), Firmino (6)

Subs: Mane (6), Origi (6)

Man of the match: N'Golo Kante


Liverpool Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Lallana (Origi 90), Firmino, Coutinho (Mane 75)
Subs Not Used Karius, Klavan, Moreno, Sturridge, Lucas
Booked Henderson, Milner
Goals Wijnaldum 57

Chelsea Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill (c), Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Willian (Fabregas 83), Costa (Batshuayi 90+4), Hazard (Pedro 72)
Subs Not Used Begovic, Zouma, Terry, Chalobah
Booked Willian
Goals Luiz 24

Attendance 53,157

Referee Mark Clatenburg

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