Mauricio Pochettino’s return to the Premier League didn’t start with a win, but there was plenty to like for the Argentine manager in his first game in charge of Chelsea.
Pochettino saw his team dominate possession in a manner that few teams have done against Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, although the Blues lacked the firepower up front to come away with more than a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“After four years (away from the Premier League), it is a fantastic way to start the season. I enjoyed the match a lot,” said Pochettino, who spent one year away from management after being fired by Paris Saint-Germain.
“I think we deserved a little bit more overall. We feel pleased, but at the same time disappointed because we wanted to win and we deserved to win, but it is only the beginning.”
Ange Postecoglou, the new manager at Pochettino’s former club Tottenham, also had to settle for a draw in his first game but came away with reason to believe that his team can be just fine without Harry Kane. Spurs also had plenty of possession but had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at Brentford in the day’s early kickoff.
Most of the attention was on Stamford Bridge, though, for the marquee matchup of the Premier League’s opening round.
The buildup to the game had the added talking point of both teams trying to sign Brighton’s Moises Caicedo for an English record fee of more than 110 million pounds ($140 million).
Chelsea looks to have won that contest and, if there was any doubt why both clubs think a ball-winning defensive midfielder is worth that kind of money, Sunday’s game made it quite evident that they both lack exactly that kind of player.
The first half, especially, was filled with chances at both ends and could easily have seen a bigger scoreline.
After Liverpool bossed the opening 15 minutes and took the lead through Luis Diaz, Chelsea gradually took control of the game and leveled through new signing Axel Disasi.
Both teams also had a goal disallowed for offside following VAR checks in the first half.
“The start was pretty convincing, we scored two wonderful goals, one was disallowed for an offside,” Klopp said. “We opened up the door for Chelsea, we lost the ball in moments where it was difficult to prepare for it. ... From my point of view it looked like we helped Chelsea get back in the game.”