Christian Benteke headed home an injury-time equaliser to deny Chelsea all three points in a dead rubber at Anfield.
Eden Hazard had given Chelsea the lead with a glorious solo goal in the first half and it looked like it might well turn out to be the winner, but Begovic was at fault for Benteke’s equaliser in the 93rd minute.
In truth, the score draw could have been predicted, with Liverpool rarely winning against Chelsea — they have only done so once in the last seven against the Londoners — and the fact they have failed to keep a clean sheet in the last nine Premier League meetings.
It means the shares are spoiled as Liverpool cement their eighth-placed position, some 10 points ahead of ninth-placed Chelsea.
Hiddink has used little youth considering Chelsea’s season ended mid-March, but he did have Palmer, Abraham and Tomori warm the benches in an otherwise strong line-up.
A slow opening quarter of an hour by Chelsea, with Mikel in central defence, saw Sturridge, Lallana, Coutinho and Firmino all have opportunities. The best fell to Firmino, who was found by Sturridge but just ran out of pitch space having rounded Begovic.
But Chelsea soon got into their stride. Their first chance fell to Traore, whose shot was blocked by Moreno. Hazard then had a long range try at Mignolet, and whilst the goalkeeper could only parry, Traore was found ball-watching rather than pouncing on the ball.
Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in the last nine Premier League meetings though and it was no surprise to see Hazard score soon after, and what a sublime goal it was.
With back to goal 35 yards away, the Belgian showed astonishing balance and poise to grace past four Liverpool men before sidefooting past Mignolet into the bottom corner. It was too little too late for his Chelsea season, but no doubt gratefully cheered in Belgium.
Traore was enjoying the lone striker role afforded to him with Costa’s injury, and Matic nearly found him were it not for the outrushing Mignolet.
The next dual between these two should have resulted in the game’s next goal though, with Traore doing superbly to stay onside, but lost his footing when cutting back onto his left foot and in the end his shot was always rising. Mignolet breathed a sigh of relief as he was caught in no man’s land.
The first card went Emre Can’s way for his clip on Hazard, who was running the show and it was his goal which separated the sides going into the half-time break.
The second half continued in similar fashion: Toure was booked for barging over Hazard who was posing a threat every time he got on the ball.
A surging Baba run was ended prematurely by the wet surface and the left-back taking a tumble, but Hazard raced on and nearly got his second.
Willian went off for Kenedy as Liverpool were struggling to get in the game, but it nearly came through ex-Chelsea man Sturridge.
Lallana’s reverse pass was excellently disguised but Sturridge read it and had a one-on-one opportunity with Begovic, who prevailed of the two with a firm hand to block Sturridge’s first-time shot.
Pedro tried a long-range shot at the other end, whilst Traore and Kenedy got in each other’s way.
Traore stung the hands of Mignolet after fine Pedro work, moments after Sturridge’s goalbound shot was blocked on the line by Mikel.
Abraham then came on for Traore, as Benteke came on for Lallana.
Pedro should have killed the game but Mignolet spread himself well one-on-one with minutes left to play, and how he and Chelsea were made to pay when Benteke scored the equaliser with seconds left to play.
An innocent-looking cross by Ojo was flapped at by Begovic who just palmed the ball flakily onto Benteke’s head for the equaliser. The Reds are unbeaten in their last seven home matches in the Premier League and that run would continue.
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Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: Ran the show for Chelsea and deserved to have scored the winner but let down by his colleagues. In truth, it might have been justified as he has let down his colleagues all season, but on his day, like today, the Belgian is majestic with his balance, trickery, pace and sheer intelligence, all demonstrated with his goal tonight. 8/10
Hiddink stated the obvious: “The players showed they love to play football. We played all game for the win and got an unlucky present in the last minute. We should have killed it off and I’m disappointed not to have the three points.”
Klopp understood the unimportance of the game: “The result tonight was not important, what’s important is that we take the right information out of the game. We started very well, and when we play like that with our compact defending we can be good.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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