Antonio Rudiger rescued Chelsea as the German defender’s second goal of the game earned a 2-2 draw against top-four rivals Leicester on Saturday.
Rudiger put Chelsea ahead early in the second half at the King Power Stadium before Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell scored in quick succession to give Leicester the lead.
A thrilling second half climaxed when Rudiger became the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in the Premier League since John Terry against Fulham in 2013.
Third-placed Leicester could be more sanguine about the result as they sit eight points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, who have now won just one of their last five league games.
Frustrated that Chelsea failed to make any signings during the window, Blues boss Frank Lampard claims his team are now underdogs in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.
Depending on Manchester United and Tottenham’s results, Lampard’s prediction could look prescient by the conclusion of the weekend’s action.
Showing his irritation with Chelsea’s spluttering form, Lampard dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga after some error-prone displays from Chelsea’s keeper, with 38-year-old Willy Caballero making his first league appearance since May.
Chelsea started on the front foot and Tammy Abraham appealed for a penalty when he was challenged by Caglar Soyuncu, but referee Lee Mason and then VAR both rejected the claim.
Jamie Vardy was back from injury but Leicester’s 17-goal leading scorer hadn’t netted in his last four league games and he wasted a good chance to put the hosts ahead when he burst onto Ayoze Perez’s chest down in the penalty area, only to shoot straight at Caballero.
Pedro went close with a clever chip from the edge of the area which Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel tipped over at full stretch.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp saluted Liverpool’s steely focus after they surged 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 rout of Southampton on Saturday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson put the runaway leaders in control at Anfield before Mohamed Salah’s double made it an astonishing 100 league points from the last 102 available to them.
A 24th victory in 25 league matches this season and ninth clean sheet in 10 games underlined how Klopp’s side have turned the title race into a procession.
The 22-point lead is the largest in the division’s history and the win also means Liverpool have gone 42 league games without defeat, matching Nottingham Forest’s run in 1977-78 and behind only Arsenal’s 49-game mark in 2003-04.
But Klopp claimed the struggles they experienced in the first half against Southampton demonstrated why he and his players still refuse to start celebrating the title prematurely.