Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic cancelled out goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in a pulsating first half as Chelsea recovered from a 2-0 deficit to earn a point against rivals Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. 

The match started on an explosive note as Mane received the earliest booking of the Premier League since 2006-07, when Opta began recording stats, for elbowing Cesar Azpilicueta with just 15 seconds on the clock. 

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The Senegalese was soon in the spotlight for the right reasons, making the most of poor defending from Nathan Chalobah, whose loose touch fell into Mane’s path for him to round the keeper and blast into an empty net. 

Liverpool, who were without the services of Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Joel Matip after the trio returned suspected COVID-19 positive tests, kept up the pressure on Chelsea, forcing the Blues into mistakes. 

The Reds capitalised on their domination to double their lead on 26 minutes, with Salah producing another moment of magic before heading off to represent Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations. 

After being brilliantly played in by Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Egyptian dropped his left shoulder to bamboozle Marcos Alonso before dinking a sublime chip over Edouard Mendy in goal. 

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Liverpool could have tripled their lead soon after, when Alexander-Arnold played another inch-perfect through ball to Salah to leave Chelsea reeling with a three-on-two situation. However, Salah decided to take go on his own and was unable to get a shot off, with Chalobah defending well to make amends for his earlier mistake. 

Chelsea, who were without unsettled striker Romelu Lukaku after a recent controversial interview, turned the tide with an absolute worldie from Kovacic in the 42nd minute, with the Croatian midfielder volleying past Caoimhin Kelleher in goal from range after his initial effort was punched out by the Irish keeper. 

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Minutes later, Christian Pulisic made amends for an early miss, chipping his effort over the goalkeeper as Stamford Bridge erupted to celebrate the equaliser.

The second half continued in the same pace, with both teams coming close on several occassions but failing to find a winner. 

The result leaves Chelsea trailing leaders Manchester City by 10 points, with Liverpool another point behind but with a game in hand on both teams above them.