Liverpool vs. Chelsea is never a friendly encounter.
That was proved correct on Wednesday as Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in their opening 2016 International Champions Cup clash.
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The lone goal of a feisty match came in the first half as Gary Cahill headed home Cesc Fabregas’ corner, but the latter was sent off in the second half for an awful lunging tackle on Ragnar Klavan.
There were six yellow cards — five to Liverpool players — dished out in the game in front of 53,117 in California.
Fabregas apologized to Liverpool after the game for his 70th minute tackle (see video below) according to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp,
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Both Klopp and Antonio Conte acknowledged this game was more combative than most friendlies and given the recent history between the two clubs you can understand why.
Chelsea’s new manager was pleased with the reaction of his side when they went down to 10-men but urged his team to play more
“I saw a lot of positive things about the defensive situation but we must improve when we have the ball because I love to play the ball, but we are improving,” Conte said.
Liverpool’s biggest concern was an injury to Marko Grujic who clashed heads with Bertrand Traore and was taken to hospital.
“The biggest problem for me in this moment is that Marko Grujic is in hospital, because he can’t remember anything. That’s not too cool,” Klopp told the media. “Hopefully it’s not too serious. Injuries after games like this in pre-season is the biggest problem obviously.”
Liverpool now head to Santa Clara, Calif. to play against AC Milan on Saturday before flying to St. Louis and playing AS Roma on Aug. 1 on their way back to England. Chelsea will fly to Michigan as they take on Real Madrid at “The Big House” on Saturday.