By Femi Atolagbe
New Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino saw the team he rebuilt in the close season fight back to draw 1-1 at home to Liverpool in their Premier League opener on Sunday as debutant defender Axel Disasi cancelled out Luis Diaz’s opener.
In a meeting of two of last season’s heavyweight flops, Diaz threatened to ruin Pochettino’s first competitive match in charge of the Blues when the Colombian stretched out a boot to turn in a defence-splitting pass by Mohamed Salah in the 18th minute as the visitors attacked with lightening speed.
Liverpool thought they had doubled their lead just over 10 minutes later but Salah was judged to have been offside before he put the ball past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, one of four debutants in Chelsea’s starting lineup.
Chelsea weathered the storm and equalised in the 37th minute when Liverpool failed to clear a corner and France international Disasi – signed this month from AS Monaco – swept the ball in from close range after a looping Ben Chilwell header.
Two minutes later, Chilwell rounded goalkeeper Alison Becker to put ball in the net but VAR ruled he was offside.
Chelsea dominated possession after the break but failed to get a second goal. A deflected shot by substitute Darwin Nunez then almost won it for Liverpool in the dying moments.