By Arun Nair
Luis Suarez’ close range equaliser gave a battling Liverpool side a hard-earned point at Stamford Bridge. John Terry, returning from his 4-match ban, had earlier given Chelsea the lead from a corner, but Suarez pounced to ensure the Reds gained a point.
The Reds began the game the better side, but struggled for penetration. Chelsea soon grew into the game, with the fluid movement of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar causing problems. The latter fired over when sent through on goal, while Fernando Torres was looking menacing against his former club.
It was the Blues who took the lead on 20 minutes. Howard Webb played his part, unintentionally blocking a Nuri Sahin pass which eventually saw Chelsea win a corner, from which slack marking allowed Terry to leap unhindered to head past Brad Jones.
Chelsea were threatening to add another, Jones denying Torres after another swift attacking move involving the Spaniard and the attacking trio behind him.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, ecstasy turned to agony for Terry soon after. Suarez was barged over as he attacked the Blues defence, and the impact saw him clatter into the Chelsea skipper, with the horrifyingly audible cry of pain highlighting the damage inflicted. Terry was stretched off, leaving the Blues temporarily lost as Liverpool began to assert themselves.
However, it was Chelsea who almost added to the scoreline. Poor defending allowed Mata to bear down on goal, but like Oscar he failed to test Jones with the half-time whistle imminent.
Chelsea picked up where they left off in the second period. Mata fired wide from the edge of the area, while the Blues were forcing errors from the Liverpool midfield, Joe Allen giving the ball away under pressure on several occasions.
Torres was looking lively, and almost scored against his former employers, but Brad Jones reacted superbly to block his close range header, before the Spanish striker failed to get a telling touch on Ryan Bertrand’s inviting cross soon after.
The Reds brought on Suso, whose introduction coincided with the Reds beginning to edge their way back into the game. But the Reds still lacked penetration, with Petr Cech having had not a single save to make.
However, the Czech was soon picking the ball out of his net. Suso swung in a corner, and Jamie Carragher, starting in place of the ill Martin Skrtel, flicked a header on allowing Suarez to poach an equaliser from close range, to the delight of the travelling Reds fans.
The goal gave Liverpool impetus and the Reds began to look likely to take the lead themselves. Suso scooped high and wide before Suarez beat the offside trap and raced clear with just Cech to beat. But the goalkeeper managed to get a vital touch to deny Suarez as the Uruguayan looked to knock the ball past him.
Chelsea began to probe, with a succession of corners defended stoutly as the Blues tried to find the winner.
But it was Liverpool who almost got it. Suarez worked the ball wide to find Jose Enrique in space in the left hand side of the area. The left back’s shot was heading in but Cech got across to deny the Spaniard, and Liverpool, from completing the comeback.