Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delivered on his promise of a big performance after a miserable week of results but Chelsea had the better night at Anfield.
The Premier League leaders left with a point, which could have been three had Diego Costa not missed a penalty, but results elsewhere improved their evening and the way Antonio Conte celebrated at the final whistle suggested he was delighted.
Arsenal’s defeat by Watford and Tottenham’s two dropped points at Sunderland meant even a 1-1 draw against Liverpool strengthened Chelsea’s position at the top.
Chelsea’s advantage is now nine points after David Luiz’s free-kick was cancelled out by Georginio Wijnaldum’s second-half header, while for Liverpool a fourth successive home defeat for only the second time in their history was avoided – and deservedly so.
Liverpool enjoyed the vast majority of possession as they benefited from facing a team who, unlike most who come to Anfield, were not intent on shutting up shop. But they did not do enough early on to test their visitors, who travelled without Branislav Ivanovic as he finalised a move to Zenit St Petersburg, and the sucker-punch duly came in the 24th minute.
Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a debatable free-kick for Adam Lallana’s challenge on Eden Hazard, but while Liverpool were still debating it Luiz needed no further encouragement.
Simon Mignolet, trying to organise his defence, was not even looking at the centre-back when the ball was struck. Although it is unlikely he would have been able to stop the dipping shot that went in off the post, he needed to at least give himself a chance.
The hosts’ start to the second half was more like what was required and Conte’s side were made to pay as Jordan Henderson’s ball to the far post caught Victor Moses napping and James Milner headed back across goal for Wijnaldum to head in from six yards.
Liverpool had major escape when Joel Matip brought down Costa, only for Mignolet to redeem himself with a good low penalty save to his right from the Spain striker.