An early header from John Terry, who would later be carried off on a stretcher, was not enough for all three points as Liverpool came from behind thanks to a close-range Luiz Suarez header at Stamford Bridge.
Having seen both Manchester United and Manchester City win earlier in the weekend, the Blues will have been hungry for victory against a side we have found troublesome.
All looked to be going well when Terry headed us in front in the 20th minute, only to be stretchered off a quarter of an hour later with what looked like a nasty knee injury.
Chelsea still looked comfortable though, and so it came as a shock when Suarez levelled for Liverpool with 18 minutes remaining, and although both sides had chances to snatch it, neither did enough in the end.
Terry was back from his four-game domestic suspension to lead Chelsea out, and he was partnered in the centre of defence by Branislav Ivanovic, who was preferred to Gary Cahill with Cesar Azpilicueta starting at right-back. David Luiz missed out with illness, and Ryan Bertrand continued at left-back in the absence of Ashley Cole.
Further forward there was an increasingly familiar look to the Blues, while on the bench was Marko Marin, who still awaited a Barclays Premier League debut after his summer arrival.
Liverpool, of course managed by former Chelsea coach Brendan Rodgers, had ex-Blues in their squad too, with Glen Johnson starting in an advanced role on the right, and Joe Cole among the subs.
Elsewhere on the field Jamie Carrragher was called in at centre-back in the absence of Martin Skrtel, and would spend his afternoon focused on former red Fernando Torres.
It was Carragher who inadvertently gave Chelsea the first chance of the game, the defender stepping forward to intercept a loose ball after Joe Allen was caught in possession, only to feed Eden Hazard, whose first-time through ball set Oscar away into the Liverpool area, but under pressure, the Brazilian shot high on his weaker left side.
With three central defenders and two deep midfielders, Liverpool were set up to limit what Chelsea could do coming forward, and it worked fairly well for the first 19 minutes until Torres forced a corner, Mata whipped it in from the right and Terry, unmarked, headed hard and high into the top corner to give the home side the lead.
Few can claim to lead by example in quite the same way as the 31-year-old, who in scoring netted his 50th Chelsea goal, the first defender to reach that milestone.
Seven minutes later Chelsea perhaps should have doubled the advantage as Hazard set off on a mazy run before slipping in Torres, whose shot was parried back to Hazard by stand-in Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, the Belgian misfiring his volley wide of the target.
Barring a couple of unfruitful corners, Liverpool had done little to worry Petr Cech inside the opening half-hour, Nuri Sahin’s low drive, a yard or two wide, the closest they had come.
Injury would hit Terry shortly afterwards, the captain hurt in the line of duty as he stopped Suarez, who fell awkwardly across the Chelsea man’s leg, and looked to cause knee damage. A lengthy period of treatment followed, and a stretcher was required to take Terry off. Cahill was the readymade replacement.
The injury allowed for five minutes of injury time, and in that period Juan Mata, until then quite, should have doubled our lead. The Spaniard picked up a loose ball inside the Liverpool half and strode towards goal, beating Carragher before letting fly from just inside the box.
Form would tell you the Barclays Premier League Player of the Month for October would score, but instead, he lifted it over the bar, and Liverpool were still in the game.
Joe Allen became the game’s first booking on 49 minutes. Having been robbed of possession by Torres, the midfielder had little option but to pull the striker down with Chelsea forming a dangerous looking counter-attack.
It was not the first time Allen, usually efficient and effective with the ball, had been caught in possession as the Liverpool middle struggled to get a hold of the game.
A flurry of action, lacking in the first half, was to follow. First Johnson was booked for an elbow on Oscar, and from Haard’s free-kick Jones produced a superb reflex save to deny Torres a first goal against his former team.
On 63 minutes, Torres had another sniff of goal after Mata released Bertrand and the left-back crossed low to the near post, but he could not quite connect cleanly.
Reds skipper Steven Gerrard was cautioned for a foul on Oscar, which presented Mata with the opportunity to whip the ball into the danger area. His cross was just too high for Torres, but in punching the ball away Jones only diverted it into John Mikel Obi, who was unfortunate to see the ball drop wide of the post.
At the other end Raheem Sterling, now playing a little deeper than he had started, had a volley blocked by Cahill but it still looked as though Chelsea were the more likely to score again.
Imagine the surprise around Stamford Bridge then when Liverpool struck an equaliser. Another corner saw Carragher break free from his marker and flick the ball towards the far post, where Suarez squirmed free of Ramires and nodded in.
Needing a goal, Roberto Di Matteo looked to his midweek match-winner, Victor Moses, to provide inspiration from the bench, and the Nigerian replaced Oscar with 14 minutes to go. Moses went to right-wing, and Mata down the middle.
Suddenly it was Liverpool on the front foot and looking dangerous, players previously on the edge of the action, like Suarez and Gerrard, were beginning to play while Chelsea sent long balls forward to an outnumbered Torres, who would be replaced with nine minutes to go by Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool sub Suso had a superb chance to put his side in front when Sterling burst down the right and pulled back, but he miscued and Chelsea could build again.
Would there be a late winner?
Ivanovic headed over for Chelsea between two Suarez moments, the first a speculative 50-yarder that made Cech work back to palm it away, the next a run on goal that the goalkeeper denied with an alert run from his line.
In the final minute of normal time, Hazard drove wide before four more were indicated.
After three-and-a-half Cech had to go down to his right to deny Jose Enrique a Liverpool winner, and that would be the game’s final chance.
It was two points dropped rather than one gained for Di Matteo’s men, and there would now be concern for Terry, whose absence, if there is to be one, will be sorely felt.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry (c) (Cahill 39), Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Oscar (Moses 76), Hazard; Torres (Sturridge 81).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Romeu, Marin.
Scorer Terry 19
Booked Mikel 78
Liverpool (3-4-1-2): Jones; Wisdom, Carragher, Agger; Johnson, Allen, ?ahin (Suso 59), Enrique; Gerrard; Sterling, Suarez.Unused subs Gulacsi, Coates, Henderson, Downing, Cole, Assaidi.
Scorer Suarez 72
Booked Allen 49, Johnson 55, Gerrard 66
Referee Howard Webb