Mourinho rues Chelsea’s missed opportunities vs. Liverpool

Thibaut Courtois helped preserve Chelsea's League Cup draw at Anfield after making fine save vs. Liverpool on Tuesday.

PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was happy to take a draw from Chelsea’s Capital One League Cup semifinal first leg with Liverpool.

Raheem Sterling’s exquisite solo goal earned Liverpool a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday. Sterling canceled out Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty when he picked up the ball 40 yards from goal, turned and sped away from Chelsea’s defense before applying a low finish in the 59th minute.

Chelsea relied on a string of fine second-half saves from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to hold onto a draw, which gives the Premier League leaders a slight advantage heading back to Stamford Bridge for next week’s second leg.

"Considering the chances they had, hitting the post (through Steven Gerrard), today was difficult but a draw here is not bad, if we can finish it at home," Courtois told Sky Sports 1 after the match.

Manager Jose Mourinho felt Liverpool were worthy of a draw.

"I think it was a really big game, we played to the top of our potential and Liverpool the same," he said. "A proper semifinal and a fair result. Liverpool did not deserve to lose, they performed really well. We were in control but with more quality in our passing we could find space and score more goals."

Ahead of next week’s return leg, he said: "I am not saying we are the favorites. The semifinal is now one leg."

Chelsea lost its composure in the second half and Liverpool’s pressing forced mistakes from the visitors. Gerrard curled a left-footed shot against the post and the lively Philippe Coutinho drew a parried save out of Courtois, who also denied Jordan Henderson and Sterling. Courtois’ best stop was saved for substitute Adam Lallana, the Belgium goalkeeper diving to his right to palm away a fierce long-range shot.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt his side would have been worthy winners.

"I’m delighted with the performance, disappointed with the result," Rodgers told reporters after the draw. "I thought we deserved to win the game, we showed wonderful character. We went behind to their only shot on target but some of our play, taking the game to Chelsea, was very impressive."

He added: "It was a wonderful performance and sets up the second leg perfectly. They’re at home and will have to open up a wee bit more. My players were super."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.