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Pep Lijnders: Proud of the Reds | Van Dijk: We came for three points.

Pep Lijnders and Van Dijk react to Liverpool FC’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League.

Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead with a top clash finish.
Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead with a top clash finish.

Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders lauded the Reds for their showing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Merseyside club were without manager Jurgen Klopp as he returned a suspected positive Covid-19 test in the build-up to the match.

Sadio Mane, who escaped a red card in the opening minute for his foul on Caesar Azpilicueta, capitalised on Trevor Chalobah’s mistake before firing into the net to open the scoring.

And 15 minutes later Mohammed Salah scored his 16th Premier League of the campaign to make it 2-0.

It looked like Liverpool were going to cruise through the match but Chelsea stepped up a notch and got their reward when Mateo Kovacic volleyed in off the post from 20 yards and three minutes later Christian Pulisic fired in a N'Golo Kante pass beyond goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher to make it 2-2.

In the second half, Liverpool had the best chances but the Blues shot-stopper Eduard Mendy made crucial saves to stop Salah and Mane from hitting the target as both sides shared the spoils.

The draw means Chelsea stay in second in the table, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, while Liverpool are a point further back in third but with a game in hand.

'Chelsea make you suffer'

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders was proud of the Reds
Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders was proud of the Reds

Following the game, Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders told BBC radio 5 Live: "It’s never boring with us, eh? Never. We’re really proud of the boys because they made a proper football match. We could have made a lot of excuses but we didn’t, we attacked the game. "It was not easy – Chelsea really tried to use the spaces we left, sometimes we couldn’t deal with that. "What I would have loved to see was more control. The moments we were quick in mind and were really connected, switched sides when we used the space they left, we were lethal. "Coming here in the situation we’re in, it’s a really good point. Our fans identified with the way we played, which is good for us. We take the point and we go forward to the next game. "It was an even game so I think a draw is the correct result. You know against Chelsea you have to work hard, you have to suffer, I think the boys deserve a big compliment for the way they defended – all of them. Our front three were incredible in terms of their attitude."

When asked whether Jurgen Klopp will be in the dugout for Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal, Pep replied: "No, he can’t because of quarantine rules. He has mild symptoms. But Jurgen is a very optimistic, positive leader, he's our leader, our boss. I just hope it stays mild symptoms and that he’s back quick with us. "I spoke with him at half-time quickly, he is our leader, our motivator, our boss and it is good - he is the type of guy who gives a lot of responsibility, a lot of freedom."

Van Dijk: ‘We came here for three points and didn't get them.’

Van Dijk says the title is Man City’s to lose.
Van Dijk says the title is Man City’s to lose.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was disappointed with the result and said ‘it’s Man City’s title to lose at the moment.’ The Dutchman told Sky Sports: "If you are 2-0 up you don't want to concede that close to half time, give them the momentum to get back into the game, it happened - a fantastic strike, you have to give him credit. That gives them momentum and they score the second. "We tried not to panic and created fantastic moments even though we were under pressure. "For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn't get them. They have an amazing team, so have we. I have a feeling we were under pressure at times but defended well as a team, didn't give big chances away. I always had a feeling we could score for 3-2 but it didn't happen." When asked about the title race, he said: "Never difficult to believe, it is a big gap, they have the title maybe to lose at the moment but anything can happen still. We have been there and given it away, so anything is possible. We focus on ourselves, we just have to get results, play good football and win games."

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