Chelsea will go into next Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at the Bridge as marginal favourites after coming away from Anfield tonight with a creditable 1-1 draw.
Under par Chelsea took the lead through a Eden Hazard penalty on 18 minutes but frankly that was as good as it got for the Londoners.
Liverpool showed uncommon energy and a willingness to chase down lost causes and they got their just reward through the left boot of Raheem Sterling on 58 minutes.
Livpool opened the game brightly wand on the front foot.
But Emre Can bundled over Eden Hazard in the home side's penalty area on 18 minutes after excellent set-up play by Cesc Fabregas on Liverpool's byline.
Up stepped Hazard to slot the spot kick home past Mignolet, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way with a low shot to the keeper's left hand corner of the net.
Liverpool had started the better of the two sides, dominating possession. But the Blues with only their first serious tack of the game struck what could be a decisive blow.
The Scousers continued to try and press forward with Chelsea only attacking sporadically.
It was a feisty encounter with a spate of yellow cards brandished by Martin Atkinson.
Seconds before the end of the first half, Diego Costa having fallen to the ground in his own area, accidentally handled the ball. Atkinson was perfectly placed to interpret the action correctly, much to the chagrin of the Liverpool players and their fans.
Neither manager made a change of personal at halftime.
But the flow of the second half followed that of the first with Liverpool dominating possession. Chelsea, by contrast, seemingly unable or unwilling to alter the management of the game got what they deserved on 58 minutes when Raheem Sterling notched up the equaliser with an unchecked run and low, left-footed drive that inched past Thiabaut Courtois.
Sloppy play by Hazard allowed Liverpool to start an unnecessary counter-attack on 65 minutes and the Blues were almost punished by Steve Gerrard, but the Red's skipper could only wince as he saw his left-footer ricochet off Courtois's right post and out to safety.
Courtois produced a double save with 16 minutes to go, first thwarting Jordan Henderson and then the follow-up by Sterling.
The Belgium goalkeeper then produced a remarkable save, tipping away a monster drive by Adam Lallana.
But the minutes ticked down without any further goal-mouth action.
Liverpool might consider themselves unlucky not to have taken a lead into next week's game and will rue the fact that their dominance for much of the game did not reap greater reward.
Chelsea will feel that it was job done, despite the lacklustre performance.