Pochettino's Chelsea fight back to draw 1-1 with Liverpool


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 strike.

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.

The hosts weathered the storm and equalised in the 37th when Liverpool failed to clear a corner and France international Disasi - signed this month from AS Monaco - swept the ball home 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.

Argentine Pochettino - who coached Chelsea's London rivals Tottenham Hotspur from 2014 to 2019 and won Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 - promised Chelsea fans "an enjoyable style of football" in his programme notes on Sunday and the Stamford Bridge crowd applauded the team off the pitch.

That represented a sharp contrast to the gloom that enveloped the Blues last season when they fired managers Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter and then suffered their worst Premier League finish since 1994, finishing in 12th place.

As well as Disasi with his goal, fellow debutant Nicolas Jackson, a striker signed from Villarreal, stretched Liverpool - although he also spurned some chances - while academy graduate Levi Colwill, also on his first competitive Chelsea start, recovered from a testing opening period to thwart Salah.

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp also gave first starts to new midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, the subject of speculation regarding a transfer to Real Madrid, was not even on the bench.

More from Sports