Mercurial David Luiz shrugged off a painful knee to conjure up a moment of cheeky magic at Anfield on Tuesday as he again showed why Chelsea re-signed the Brazilian last summer.
Luiz’s disciplined defensive displays have underpinned Chelsea’s Premier League title charge and he is playing with a level of consistency he did not achieve during his first spell at Stamford Bridge before moving to Paris St Germain.
He was a rock again at Anfield in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw but also showed the more flamboyant side of his game when he surprised Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet by taking a free kick while the goalkeeper was still organising his wall.
Luiz’s quick thinking was praised by both Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp and the Brazilian defender said he was pleased to have spotted the chance.
“Sometimes you need to try the surprise,” Luiz said of his first league goal for the club since 2013.
“I’m not in the best position to take free kicks because my knee is hurting and I can’t train every day, but in a game you need to see the opportunity.”
Mignolet said he had not been aware referee Mark Clattenburg had blown the whistle to allow Luiz to take the free kick.
“I didn’t hear the whistle and he hit it early,” said the Belgian, who later saved a penalty from Diego Costa. “It is a difficult feeling. He hit it well but I’m disappointed.”
The draw saw Liverpool avoid a fourth consecutive home defeat, which would have been their worst sequence at Anfield in 94 years. Klopp preferred to talk about his side’s improved display rather than Mignolet’s embarrassing moment.
“I know after not talking about the goalkeeper for one month probably you are ready to talk about him again,” Klopp told a news conference. “I thought it was really smart from Luiz, it was really clever and really well done. We have to respect this.
“I am happy about the performance. I think it was obvious we played against an outstanding strong, experienced side. I thought we did well, from the first second we were in the game and were aggressive.”
He added that Liverpool still had much to play for despite being out of the cup competitions and trailing Premier League leaders Chelsea by 10 points.
“If you put us in a time machine and brought us 15 matches before the end in fourth position … Come on, let’s play 15 games with all you have,” the German said.
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