Victor Moses Impresses As The Blues Triumph Over The Reds: FT Chelsea1:0 Liverpool

Take Liverpool and Chelsea half way around the world and throw them together in a pre-season friendly inside a stadium named after a flower – and still they cannot get along.

Cesc Fabregas was sent off for a nasty flying tackle on Liverpool’s new Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan, 20 minutes from the end of Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the Rose Bowl.

American referee Baldomero Toledo, having blown for all manner of innocuous fouls, was quite right to reach for a red card.

It was late, high and reckless, regardless of the facts that this was supposed to be little more than a glorified training exercise and Fabregas may be off the pace in his first game back.

The game was tetchy rather than violent but nothing is ever entirely friendly these days when Liverpool and Chelsea meet.

There were six yellow cards and two head injuries for Liverpool, who lost Marko Grujic after a clash with Bertrand Traore and Dejan Lovren, who was punched by his own goalkeeper.

All this without Diego Costa, who is normally the individual responsible for winding up Liverpool.

The only goal was a header scored by Gary Cahill 10 minutes into his first outing since England’s defeat against Iceland at Euro 2016.

It may have helped soothe the pain a little, just as a victory may have been nice for Antonio Conte at the Pasadena venue where he watched from the bench as Italy lost the 1994 World Cup final on penalties.

Conte organised Chelsea in a highly flexible 4-4-2 formation, with wide-men Willian and Victor Moses covering the miles to push on in possession into a 4-2-4 shape.

Traore and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were the front two, both dropping deep at times to reinforce midfield when Liverpool had the ball.

Sometimes Willian dropped so deep he made a fifth defender on the outside of young right-back Ola Aina.

Chelsea started well and took an early lead from a corner won by a strong run down the left by Moses.

Fabregas delivered the set-piece, an in-swinger. Goalkeeper Loris Karius stayed on his line and Cahill climbed above Grujic to score with a header from six yards.


Within seconds, Grujic received a yellow card for a midfield check on Willian and completed a rotten first-half from a personal perspective when he was hurt in a clash of heads with Traore, four minutes before half-time.

Dazed, the 20-year-old Serb was led to the bench, where he sat with the medics as Liverpool played the rest of the half with 10 men. Adam Lallana replaced him after the break.

Liverpool improved after slipping behind. There were flashes of skill from Ovie Ejaria and bursts of pace from Sade Mane.

Twice Mane burst past John Terry. On the second occasion, Klopp applauded with hands above his head.

Asmir Begovic turned a free-kick by Philippe Coutinho over and a goal by Roberto Firmino, set up by a Coutinho back-heel, was correctly ruled out for offside.

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