Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool went into the match against Chelsea on the back of a 5 match unbeaten league run. Chelsea also went into the match in good form sitting in second place in the league table. Liverpool have recorded successive league doubles over their hosts, a statistic which gave Roberto Di Matteo cause to classify the Reds as a ‘bogey team’ in his pre-match press conference.
Brad Jones remained in goal as Reina continues to recover from injury. Jamie Carragher started in defence again for his second start in a week, due to Skrtel feeling unwell. Glen Johnson was a welcome addition to the team after regaining full fitness. Wisdom, Agger and Enrique continued their defensive duties. Sterling, Gerrard, Allen and Sahin hoped to supply ammunition for Suarez.
Chelsea started on the front foot and almost took an early lead when Allen lost possession in midfield, inviting Hazard to send Oscar clear through on goal, but the Brazilian was put under pressure from Wisdom and he failed to test Jones.
Liverpool controlled the early possession in the match, but Chelsea looked the more threatening when they had the ball. Ivanovic tried his luck from long range but his effort was high.
The opener came from a Juan Mata corner on 20 minutes when Terry, afforded room to spare at the near post, powered a header beyond the reach of Jones.
It might have been 2-0 seven minutes later when Hazard ran clear of Allen in midfield before side-footing to Torres. The Spaniard tried to place the ball beyond Jones but was denied by a good reaction stop before Hazard skewed the rebound.
Liverpool struggled to muster any attempts on goal, but Sahin had a shot but it went wide. The game was brought to a lengthy stop 10 minutes before the interval when Suarez stumbled out of a challenge and into Terry, whose leg was bent backwards in the collision. The former England skipper left the field on a stretcher and was replaced by Gary Cahill.
Chelsea continued to dominate and Mata should have scored when one on one with Jones, seconds later he was frustrated again when he shot over from a great position.
The second half started with Chelsea looking to add to their lead and Mata tried his luck from long range. Next, Jones displayed excellent reflexes to stop Torres heading home his first goal against his former employers since departing in January 2011. The save prompted a round of pinball in the Liverpool box but those in red eventually cleared their lines.
Rodgers replaced Sahin with Suso just before the hour mark, and while the impact wasn’t instant, the 18-year-old was to play his part in an equaliser that hadn’t looked likely. It was his corner on 72 minutes that was flicked from the near post to the far by Jamie Carragher. Suarez reacted quicker than Ramires and, from a yard or two out, nodded home before celebrating in front of the travelling supporters.
Liverpool looked a different side after equalising and the Chelsea looked rattled by the loss of their lead. Suso might have won it for Liverpool had he shown a little more composure from a Raheem Sterling cross.
Suarez had Petr Cech scampering back to his goal line with an effort from just inside the Chelsea half, while Ivanovic almost headed the winner from a corner.
Enrique then played Suarez clean through but Cech was quick off his line and got a decisive touch.
The final chance for the hosts was created and executed by Hazard, who angled just wide of the top corner. At the other end Suarez gave an onrushing Enrique the chance to shoot towards the bottom corner but the effort was saved.
A very good point for Liverpool against a good Chelsea side who will challenge for the Premiership this season. Johnson and Enrique played very well and Jamie Carragher stepped in as a last minute replacement and showed his experience. Disappointing goal to lose as Agger lost Terry at the corner, but the team showed tremendous character to come back into the game and grab a point. Suarez was once again superb and he really is on a rich vein of form. But great to keep the unbeaten run going at a very difficult ground against a very good team.