By Johnny Edward and James Agberebi:
Nigeria midfielder Mikel Obi was deployed at centre-back as Liverpool and Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw in Wednesday’s English Premier League tie at Anfield.
It was the third time the 28-year-old Super Eagles captain was featuring in that role in the absence of suspended skipper John Terry.
First was in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on the 9th of April when American defender Matt Miazga was hauled off at half-time, then in the Blues’ 4-1 thumping of AFC Bournemouth two weeks afterwards.
Mikel has made 25 English Premier League appearance for Chelsea; 33 games in all competitions for the Blues this season.
A sparkling Eden Hazard gave Chelsea the lead on Wednesday night following a mazy run before Christian Benteke scored a late equaliser for Liverpool.
Liverpool had the game’s first chance one minute into the game after Mikel fouled Sturridge on the edge of Chelsea’s 18-yard box, but Sturridge blasted the resultant free-kick over the bar.
Asmir Begovic made a double save on seven minutes, first from Adam Lallana before claiming Coutinho’s low drive.
Liverpool continued piling the pressure and almost scored in the 10th minute but Dejan Lovren headed Coutinho’s corner wide.
Eden Hazard tested Simon Mignolet from distance on 23 minutes but the Liverpool keeper punched the effort away.
Hazard finally opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, weaving past a raft of Liverpool players before slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.
In the 34th minute, Coutinho hit a curler which Begovic parried away.
Bertrand Traore came close to doubling Chelsea’s lead on 39 minutes but his left-footed curler went just wide.
Fabregas hit a low strike out of Liverpool’s 18-yard in the 42nd minute but Mignolet had it covered.
Five minutes into the start of the second Firmino latched on to a shot which went over the bar.
Hazard was close to grabbing his second of the night after a Chelsea breakaway on 56 minutes but his low shot was saved by Mignolet.
Chelsea made the game’s first change on 57 minutes, with Kenedy replacing Willian.
Begovic made a good save on 61 minutes, blocking away Sturridge’s shot.
In the 63rd minute Pedro saw his left drive punched away by Mignolet.
On 72 minutes Traore drew a quick save from Mignolet, hitting a left shot which the Belgian punched away.
In the 73rd minute, 18-year-old Tammy Abraham made his Chelsea debut, replacing Traore.
A minute later, Liverpool made a double change, bringing on Joe Allen and Christian Benteke for Lallana and Milner.
On 79 minute Can saw his low curler well saved by Mignolet.
Liverpool made their final substitution on 88 minutes, with Seyi Ojo replacing Kolo Toure.
Pedro would have sealed the game on 90 minutes following a breakaway by Chelsea, but Mignolet palmed the shot away.
Benteke drew Liverpool level in the 92nd minute, heading in Ojo’s cross which was palmed to his path by Begovic.
The draw leaves Liverpool occupy in the eighth position in the league table while Chelsea are ninth.