Cesc Fabregas was sent off as Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 in a feisty International Champions Cup clash in California.
Gary Cahill headed what proved the winner with just 10 minutes on the clock at the Pasadena Rose Bowl as Chelsea kicked off their tournament with a victory in what was a physical clash between two Premier League giants.
Fabregas was dismissed on 72 minutes for a dangerous lunge on Liverpool centre-back Ragnar Klavan, but despite the one-man advantage Liverpool rarely troubled a Chelsea backline led impeccably by John Terry.
Cahill was also booked along with Liverpool’s Alberto Moreno, Ovie Ejaria, Marko Grujic, Dejan Lovren and Kevin Stewart.
As well as Kavlan, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gave starts to fellow recent arrivals Sadio Mane and Loris Karius in a match which was watched by more than 53,000 inside the stadium which hosted the 1994 World Cup final.
Kavlan was busy at the heart of the Reds backline early on. Fabregas whipped a brilliant corner into a dangerous area and Cahill rose above Grujic to head home from 10 yards out.
Liverpool enjoyed 64 per cent of possession in the first period but rarely opened up the Chelsea defence. Philippe Coutinho tested Asmir Begovic with a 22-yard free-kick on 23 minutes which the goalkeeper routinely tipped over the crossbar. There was little goalmouth action in the second half as the referee took centre stage by flashing yellow cards for some meaty challenges from both sets of players.
As the physicality increased, things boiled over on 71 minutes as Fabregas, who had been arguably the best player on the pitch up until then, lunged into a dangerous and needless tackle on Klavan. His studs caught the defender on top of his foot and the referee had little choice to brandish a straight red. Fabregas had no complaints.
Despite the one-man advantage Liverpool struggled to create a meaningful chance as the game petered out and Jurgen Klopp’s men suffered their first pre-season defeat of the season.
Source: Sky Sports