There was little to separate the two former champions at Stamford Bridge as they started their league campaign with a share of the spoils
Nigeria-eligible midfielder Lesley Chimuanya Ugochukwu made his debut for Chelsea in the Blues’ entertaining 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League opener.
Ugochukwu signed for Chelsea on a seven-year contract, with a club option for an additional year on the first of August, arriving from Ligue 1 side Rennes.
The 19-year-old was expected to return to France on a year-long loan deal to continue his development. Still, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino decided to keep him in London for the time being.
And the Argentine coach threw Ugochukwu in the thick of things on the stroke of regulation time, by which time 40,096 fans inside Stamford Bridge had witnessed most of the action in the thrilling encounter.
Super Eagles-eligible midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka received a yellow card for a high foot as early as the fourth minute.
And with Chelsea on the back foot, Luis Diaz gave the visitors the lead in the 18th minute off a perfect Mohamed Salah slide rule pass.
Salah found the net ten minutes later, but VAR came to Chelsea’s rescue to keep the scoreline at one-nil.
The tide turned in Chelsea’s favour in the 37th minute when new signing Axel Disasi bundled home the equaliser from close range.
The Blues thought they had the lead two minutes later when Ben Chilwell guided a finish past Liverpool keeper Alisson. But this time, it was the Reds’ turn to heave a sigh of relief as VAR ruled the effort out for offside.
Both sides lacked the cutting edge to grab the winner after the break as they settled for a share of the spoils.
Ugochukwu, nephew of former Rennes and Nigeria centre-back Onyekachi Apam, will look to force himself into the first-team plans of coach Pochettino before the team’s next match.
On matchday two, Chelsea will do battle in a city derby against West Ham at the London Stadium. West Ham drew their opening day game against AFC Bournemouth.