Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Terry Nets On Return But Reds Fight Back
Chelsea were made to settle for a point at Stamford Bridge as Liverpool came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw in a game of missed chances. Read our match report
Chelsea were made to settle for a point at Stamford Bridge as Liverpool came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw in a game of missed chances.
John Terry, returning to the first team after a four match suspension, put Roberto Di Matteo’s men in front on 20 minutes with a powerful header from a corner. Despite creating numerous chances to add a second, Chelsea could not further their lead and were made to pay when Luis Suarez headed in from close range with 17 minutes of the game remaining. Terry was stretchered off before the equaliser in a collision with Suarez, and is feared to have suffered a serious knee injury.
For the Blues it was a case of a missed opportunity as the solitary point see’s them three points adrift of league leaders Manchester United. Midfielders Oscar and Juan Mata were just two of a handful who spurned goal-scoring opportunities despite a promising team performance. Brendan Rodgers’ team on the other hand will be delighted with the character shown having gone a goal down. Despite the Reds’ impressive record against Chelsea (they beat them three times in four encounters last season) the gulf between the two teams was obvious, and it took their only player of true world class standing- Suarez- to save them from defeat.
Chelsea were lively in the opening moments and Oscar should have done better when he found himself one-on-one with Brad Jones, the Brazilian failing to hit the target. The poor finish was all but forgotten on 20 minutes however, when Terry put the Blues ahead. Mata’s in-swinging corner was met by the Chelsea skipper who had escaped the attentions of Daniel Agger and thumped a free header past a helpless Jones. Jamie Carragher made the starting XI in the absence of Martin Skrtel and the ex- England defender was clearly vexed at the time and space afforded to his opposite number.
Chelsea buoyed by Terry’s opener, sought to seize on their dominance and could have extended their lead before half-time. Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has endured a patchy career with the Blues since his £50 million transfer, however he had the chance to answer his critics shortly after the goal. The Spaniard was put through after fine work from Eden Hazard but Jones saved well from close-range and Hazard sent the rebound wide.
Terry was then forced off on a stretcher following a coming together with Suarez with early news coming out of Stamford Bridge that the England defender has sustained a potentially serious knee injury. With Gary Cahill replacing Terry, Chelsea continued to press and despite half-time stats indicating that Liverpool enjoyed more possession than the hosts, Mata should have doubled his sides lead moments before half time. The midfielder who has been in fine form this season shot high and wide with only keeper Jones to beat.
Chelsea continued to attack after the interval and again Mata had a chance but failed to hit the target. Torres also went close with a header which Jones did well to keep out with his feet, but there was a growing sense of frustration building in the stands as the Blues failed to take numerous chances.
Agger had a headed effort saved comfortably by Petr Cech before Suarez struck during a rare foray into the Chelsea area. A corner kick was met by Carragher at the near post who flicked on for Suarezto convert from 2-yards, despite replays showing the Uruguayan pushed Ramires before nodding in. Chelsea, creating more work for themselves, increased the tempo as they looked to reclaim the lead. Branislav Ivanovic had the best opportunity to do so however the Serb headed over.
With the game opening up, Liverpool also looked to snatch what would have been a remarkable 3 points. Suarez, undoubtedly the visitor’s main if not only threat, tried an audacious long range effort that nearly beat Cech whilst the Czech keeper was just first to a through ball that the Uruguayan looked to latch on to. Full back Jose Enrique also had a late effort which could have spectacularly won the game, however Cech did brilliantly to save low and ensure each team took a point.
Despite Liverpool enjoying slightly more possession, Rodgers will be delighted with a point in a game in which his side were always second best. Chelsea’s play at times was as good as we’ve seen this season at Stamford Bridge and the only disappointment was a number of lacklustre finishes which ultimately cost them all three points. Di Matteo will be disappointed that having took control of the game for long periods, they missed a number of chances to further their lead. They have also missed the opportunity to close the gap on Man Utd as the point see’s the Blues trail by three points in the Premier League title race.
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