Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Suarez Nets Again In Bridge Stalemate

By Robert Nevitt

Luis Suarez struck for the fourth consecutive game to hand Liverpool a point against a profligate Chelsea.

The home side took a first-half lead through returning captain John Terry, but wasteful finishing from the Blues saw Liverpool grow in confidence, with Suarez' 73rd minute equaliser enough to rescue a point.

In fact, it could have got even better for the visiting Reds, with Blues' stopper Petr Cech denying both Suarez and Jose Enrique in the final minutes of the game.

With centre-half Martin Skrtel ruled out through illness, Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers recalled veteran defender Jamie Carragher and fit-again Glen Johnson as he chose to field a 3-5-2 formation, aimed at denying the space to star Chelsea trio Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.

But in as early as the fifth minute, the latter could, and maybe should, have breached the Reds' backline. Joe Allen was caught dallying on the ball in midfield, allowing Hazard to set Oscar away, only for the Brazilian to lift the ball over both Brad Jones and the crossbar.
The Reds' regained composure as they looked for their fourth consecutive win at Stamford Bridge, but with Allen in particular guilty of giving away possession, they often started Chelsea attacks rather than created their own.

On 20 minutes, they were punished when the home side took the lead and almost inevitably it came from the head of captain Terry.

The Blues' defender was making his comeback from his four-game suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, and he marked his return by escaping the attentions of the blocked Daniel Agger to rise and power home Mata's corner.

The home side were now in full flow and five minutes later nearly doubled their lead.

Ex-Reds' striker Fernando Torres had started well and nearly broke his duck against his old club when his shot was blocked by Jones, with the rebound falling to Hazard eight yards out, though the Belgian could only fire his half-volley wide of the Australian stopper's post.

Liverpool eventually managed to venture towards the hosts' goal when Nuri Sahin fired wide from 20 yards.

It was from a Liverpool attack that Blues' goalscorer Terry's afternoon went sour when his tangle with Suarez saw the Uruguayan land on the former England captain's right leg, resulting in the Blues' skipper departing on a stretcher with what looked like a long-term knee injury.

But despite the loss of their captain, Chelsea continued to dominate the half and should have gone in at the break two-nil up, with Mata's excellent run not matched by his wayward finish.

After the restart, the pattern of the game continued with Allen giving the ball away and receiving a yellow card for pulling back the advancing Torres.

The Spaniard was clearly desperate to get his name on the scoresheet and would have done on 55 minutes when he rose to meet Oscar's teasing free-kick, only for Jones to pull off a fine reflex save.

With the Reds struggling to assert any sort of control, boss Rodgers' made a change bringing on Suso for the ineffective Nuri Sahin, and reverting to a flat back four with youngster Andre Wisdom moved to right-back.

The immediate aftermath of the change saw Torres inches away from a Ryan Bertrand cross, but with the Reds now playing 10 yards further up the pitch they started to wrestle possession from their hosts with attacking trio Suso, Suarez and Raheem Sterling seeing more of the ball in the final third.

And on 73 minutes they were rewarded for their change of tact.

Wisdom did well to win possession on the halfway line and swap passes with Suarez before winning a corner off Chelsea sub Gary Cahill. Spaniard Suso flighted in a cross from which Carragher brilliantly flicked the ball on towards the far post where Suarez gave Ramires a nudge to create space to head home from no more than two yards.

So often labelled as wasteful himself, this was the Uruguayan's eighth strike of the league campaign already and 11th in total, showing that he is clearly revelling in the role of Liverpool's sole senior striker.

Shocked by conceding, Blues' boss Roberto Di Matteo threw on midweek Champions League hero Victor Moses for Oscar, before Daniel Sturridge entered the action in place of Torres, much to the delight of the visiting fans who once adored the Spanish number nine.

But the changes didn't have the desired effect for Di Matteo, with a now confident-looking Liverpool side looking most likely to snatch a win.

Sterling's cross was fired wide by Suso, before Suarez cheeky attempt from the halfway line caused brief panic for Cech.

There was even more of a worry for the Czech keeper when Enrique's through ball set Suarez away, though the Blues' keeper did well to get a foot in as the Uruguayan attempted to go round him.

As the match entered injury time, Ivanovic headed over for the Blues before the Reds almost snatched all three points when a flowing move saw Suarez tee up Enrique, whose left-foot drive was well turned away by Cech at his near post.

The result did little for Chelsea's attempt to keep in touch with the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table, but for visitors Liverpool this was a valuable point, especially after the first-half performance.

This was the third consecutive league draw for Rodgers' side, but more importantly after 3 defeats in their opening five games of the season, the Reds are now unbeaten in their last six league games.

The Reds will now embark on a run of they will class as winnable games and with Suarez in a rich vein of goalscoring, Rodgers will be confident that his side can finally start to climb the table.


andy says:

What a terrible challenge from Suarez allowing himself to be pushed in the back like that and injuring Terry. I'm amazed the Daily Mail haven't started a campaign to be honest. He deserves another ban at least double that of anyone else. Disgrace.

Muhammad Fahmie Ehsan Rijap says:

Dont blame suarez its clear ramirez pushing heavily suarez back thats the karma if your chelsea play physical. Poor terry have to face consiquence from bad ramirez challenge!

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