Match ends, Liverpool 1, Chelsea 1.
- Hazard scores his fourth penalty of the campaign
- Sterling equalises with individual goal
- Mourinho unbeaten in four games against Rodgers
- Chelsea lost just one of their last eight against Reds
Raheem Sterling's superb individual goal earned Liverpool a fully deserved draw and ensured the Capital One Cup semi-final with Chelsea remains finely balanced.
Eden Hazard's first-half penalty gave Chelsea the advantage but Liverpool were rewarded for another illustration of their rapid recent improvement when England forward Sterling showed searing pace followed by good composure to equalise on the hour.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the side that came so close to winning the Premier League title last season have regained that identity in the past month as new signings settle in - and there was plenty of evidence to support his claim at Anfield.
Chelsea will feel they hold the slight advantage ahead of next Tuesday's second leg at Stamford Bridge but it was only thanks to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a succession of saves as Liverpool pressed for a precious second goal, having 20 attempts on goal to their opponents' two.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard also struck a post as they dominated after the break but Chelsea weathered the storm and manager Jose Mourinho will hope they can finish off the job to secure a return to Wembley against either Tottenham or Sheffield United.
Gerrard returned to Liverpool's starting line-up after missing the league win at Aston Villa - and despite appeals from Mourinho, Chelsea's fans reminded him with regularity about his slip against them last season that contributed to Liverpool failing to claim the title.
|BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson|
|"Chelsea would have been surprised by the way that Liverpool came back at them. It was an absolutely fabulous goal from Raheem Sterling. Because of his pace, not one Chelsea defender could get near him. The last person he went past was Gary Cahill and he looked like he had rocks in his boots."|
Liverpool's captain almost silenced the taunts with a dipping effort from 25 yards that was turned over the top by Courtois as Rodgers' side made a promising opening.
All that was to evaporate with a moment of defensive carelessness in the 18th minute that saw Chelsea take the lead from the spot. Emre Can allowed Cesc Fabregas to escape near the byeline and in attempting to recover the situation brought down Hazard, and the Belgium international recovered to send compatriot Simon Mignolet the wrong way.
Liverpool had plenty of possession but could not solve the problem of how to lay a glove on Chelsea until that moment of magic from Sterling - who was allowed a short break to Jamaica by Rodgers earlier this month - finally found the answer on the hour.
He showed Nemanja Matic a clean pair of heels on the turn after taking Jordan Henderson's pass and gave Gary Cahill no chance of making an interception before drilling a low shot beyond Courtois into the corner.
The goal gave the hosts a visible surge in confidence and Gerrard held his head in anguish when he placed a shot against the outside of a post, the pressure continuing as Courtois blocked Philippe Coutinho's low shot.
Gerrard was on the way back from a hamstring injury and he gave way to Adam Lallana with 20 minutes left as Liverpool pressed for an advantage to take back to Stamford Bridge.
Courtois was by far the busier keeper and he had to save twice in quick succession from Henderson and Sterling. And he distinguished himself again with a flying save from Lallana's instant hit as Liverpool gathered a head of steam but could not force a second breakthrough.
- 21LeivaBooked at 44mins
- 8GerrardBooked at 39minsSubstituted forLallanaat 70'minutes
- 3Enrique Sanchez Diaz
- 3Filipe LuísBooked at 45mins
- 12MikelBooked at 74mins
- 22WillianSubstituted forAzpilicuetaat 89'minutes
- 10E Hazard
- 19Diego Costa
- 7Santos do Nascimento
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Chelsea 1.
Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lucas Leiva.
Substitution, Chelsea. César Azpilicueta replaces Willian.
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nemanja Matic (Chelsea).
Attempt missed. Filipe Luis (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from long range on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.
Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high following a corner.
Attempt missed. Lazar Markovic (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.
Attempt saved. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Cahill (Chelsea).
Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).
Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt saved. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.