Suarez Strikes Late to Earn Liverpool a Point Against Dominant Chelsea
The Blues appeared in total control of a one-sided fixture in the nation’s capital, with their returning talisman John Terry heading his side ahead after 20 minutes.
But Chelsea never killed off the game despite their prowess, allowing a late Luis Suarez header to salvage a point for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Chelsea won the early encounters of the game as the inexperience of the visitor’s side appeared to shine through.
Former Red Fernando Torres looked lively and bright as he made driving run after driving run against the old legs of Jamie Carragher, while Cesar Azpilicueta looked a dangerous threat on the right flank.
It was a brief mistake that brought the game's first real chance, as Joe Allen was caught in possession by the Brazilian maestro Oscar. The Chelsea No. 11 has been a revelation of sorts at the Bridge this year, but has yet to score in the Premier League for his club.
After a neat exchange with Eden Hazard, Oscar raced through the Liverpool ranks, but his dinked chip was wide of the target.
Chelsea continued to press as Liverpool saw less and less of the ball and struggled to create chances. Then, after 20 minutes, Terry struck.
His 50th goal for the club might well have been the easiest one he’s scored in a blue shirt, as JT slipped away from the watchful eye of Daniel Agger to nod Juan Mata’s corner in at the near post, to the delight of the 39,000 or so Chelsea fans in attendance.
His time back on the pitch, though, was short lived, as 10 minutes later a stumbling Suarez felled the former England captain inadvertently. Terry’s knee’s seemed to buckle under the weight of the Uruguayan, and the Chelsea defender was forced to leave his return game to Stamford Bridge on a stretcher.
Torres continued to try and exorcise his Liverpool demons, and it was only the hands of Brad Jones that denied him his much-needed goal midway through the half, as the Spaniard whipped in an effort from the left corner of the Liverpool area.
Chelsea sat off and soaked up easily what little pressure Brendan Rodgers' side tried to exert on them, while Hazard, Mata and Oscar led the counter-attacks.
But neither side was able to work the others' keeper, and Chelsea cruised into the interval with their slender lead intact.
The break brought little change to the game as Liverpool started off the second half where they left off—playing second-best.
Oscar caused all sorts of problems for the Reds' defence, and it was a free kick earned by him that almost led to Chelsea doubling their lead. Torres met the resulting cross at the near post, but Jones was there once again with an instinctive save to keep Liverpool within striking distance of a point.
John Obi Mikel nearly found the back of the net when Jones punched Mata’s free kick straight into the midfielder, but the ball ricocheted off Mikel and bounced wide, as Chelsea went close once again.
Liverpool retreated more and more as DiMatteo’s men made camp in their opponent's half.
Like a cat that has its prey trapped in a corner, Chelsea toyed with Liverpool without killing off their prey and in an instant, the proverbial mouse slipped away from its captor.
A rare venture into Chelsea territory saw the visitors grab a corner. Carragher flicked on substitute Suso's cross at the near post, leaving Suarez alone at the back post to nod his side back onto level terms with the reigning European Champions.
The goal brought renewed life into Liverpool’s tired legs and Chelsea struggled to regain their dominant hold on the game.
Suarez looked for a second with a speculative chip, reminiscent of his sublime goal against Norwich last season, before being given the opportunity to round a charging Petr Cech after latching onto Jose Enrique’s deft through-ball. The towering keeper, though, managed to dispossess the Uruguayan to the relief of the home support.
Chelsea, too, had chances to nick all three points, but neither Branislav Ivanovic’s header nor Hazard’s effort from range, found the Liverpool target.
A final rally from the Reds saw Enrique blaze a vicious effort at Cech’s near post. The Chelsea No. 1, however, was equal to the shot, and Chelsea hung on to salvage a point from a game they really should have won.
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