Chelsea were made to settle for a point in Liverpool after being held in 2019's final PL2 outing.
Chelsea's good start was undone when Liverpool captain Curtis Jones opened the scoring after 38 minutes, that was after Charlie Brown was denied a goal by the official's offside decision.
Brown Armando Broja and Tino Anjorin - the latter striking the bar late on - all went close to pulling Chelsea back level as chances were coming thick and fast in the second-half.
It took a wonderful drive from Henry Lawrence to get the Blues back into the game, he arrowed an effort into the top corner from range 14 minutes from time.
Chelsea had the chance to take all three points back to Cobham but Broja was denied from close range by Liverpool 'keeper Ben Winterbottom and that meant the points were shared in Merseyside.
Andy Myers named a similar 11 to the team that draw with Derby at Aldershot a week ago. There were just three changes which saw Jamie Cumming make his fifth PL2 appearance this season as he now makes up part of Frank Lampard’s goalkeeping trio, Tariq Lamptey slotted in at right-back and Tino Anjorin regained a place in attack.
Meanwhile, Tariq Uwakwe was involved in the squad for the first time since August as he returns from injury.
Liverpool got the game underway in cold and windy conditions at their Kirkby Academy base but the first opportunity fell Chelsea’s way, unfortunately Jon Russell couldn’t re-enact his headed goal against Derby and this time the ball dropped the wrong side of the post following Lawrence’s cross.
Just ten minutes had been played when Brown had the ball in the net but celebrations were cut short as the official had his flag raised for an offside earlier in the attack.
That didn’t knock his confidence though as the forward picked up good positions, but unfortunately nodded inches wide from Tariq Lamtey’s cross moments later. It was a confident start from Chelsea.
Liverpool grew into the game after a dominating Blues start and resolute defending from the back five, Guehi and Clinton Mola in particular, was required to keep the hosts at bay midway through the first half.
This was a clear battle between two of the division’s footballing sides and that was evident in the amount of possession turnovers happening in midfield and one proved our undoing for Liverpool's opener.
Despite our bright start the deadlock was broken as half-time approached, The Reds' captain, Curtis Jones converted from an acute angle having exploited a gap in Chelsea defence. It was a frustrating set-back late in the opening half which left us behind at the interval.
Myers opted for one change at the break and in a like-for-like swap Uwakwe replaced Russell in midfield.
Soon after the restart, Cumming was called into action to deny Jake Cain who powered an effort towards goal from distance – the ball looked to be heading towards the top corner. The stopper made an acrobatic save to keep Chelsea within touching distance of their opponents.
There was another Chelsea change 10 minutes later, Armando Broja was introduced in place of Ian Maatsen. The switch saw a slight reshuffle as Henry Lawrence moved to left-back allowing Broja to be in a more natural attacking position.
Substitute Uwakwe proved lively since being introduced, his low centre caught out Liverpool’s defence but rolled just behind the darting runs of Brown and Henry Lawrence. Broja picked up possession at the back-post but fired high and wide of the target with 60 minutes on the clock.
As time ticked on Chelsea looked more threatening in attack and had Liverpool pegged back in their own half. Brown couldn’t capitalise on George McEachran’s whipped free-kick however as his glanced header was wide of the target.
It was all Chelsea and our next chance was after 68 minutes when Anjorin was unlucky not to turn in Broja’s cross – poor connection meant the ball bounced wide and proved a huge let-off for the hosts.
The busy midfielder, Anjorin, couldn’t have gone any closer with his next chance - striking against the bar from the edge of the box after breaking through the Liverpool defence. We were getting closer but still trailed by a single goal.
We eventually found a way through after 76 minutes. Lawrence picked up a loose ball following Uwakwe’s cleared cross and riffled it into the top corner of the net for the equaliser. It was a brilliant goal and just 14 minutes remained with the scores at 1-1.
Myers was forced into a final change late on after Lamptey was shown a second-yellow card for a late challenge in his own half. Jack Wakely came on which saw Mola shuffle across to left-back.
Chelsea continued to attack in the dying moments, despite being a man down and the points should have been sealed by Broja who fired straight at the ‘keeper from close range following Anjorin’s low cross found the substitute in the box.
With that missed opportunity the points were shared in Liverpool and the Blues remain unbeaten in PL2 going into the New Year.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Jamie Cumming; Tariq Lamptey, Marc Guehi (c), Clinton Mola, Ian Maatsen (Armando Broja 55); George McEachran, Billy Gilmour; Henry Lawrence, Jon Russell (Tariq Uwakwe ht), Tino Anjorin; Charlie Brown (Jack Wakely 82)Unused subs: Marcel Lavinier, Nicolas TieBooked: Lamptey 14,Sent off: Lamptey 79Scorer: Lawrence 76
Liverpool: Ben Winterbottom, Conor Bradley, James Norris, Tom Clayton, Remi Savage, Leighton Clarkson, Jack Bearne, Jake Cain, Layton Stewart (Dal Varesanovic ht), Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Curtis Jones (c) (Fidell O’Rourke ht)Unused subs: Daniel Atherton, Jack Walls, Jarell QuansahScorer: Jones 38
Referee: Daniel Middleton
FA Youth Cup
Meanwhile, next week sees the return of the FA Youth Cup as our Under-18s begin their quest to reclaim the trophy they lifted in five of the past six seasons. Huddersfield Town are the visitors to Kingsmeadow next Wednesday 18 December for a 7pm kick-off and supporters can purchase tickets online now priced at just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.
Supporters should note that there are no cash turnstiles at Kingsmeadow and all tickets purchased on the night must be bought from the ticket office. Therefore, to avoid queues and delays, it is recommended to buy online in advance and choose to collect the tickets on the day.