11 November 2012

Liverpool fight back against Chelsea to secure 1-1 draw

Luis Suarez: Feels he has come in for unfair criticism

Chelsea and Liverpool fought out a competitive 1-1 at Stamford Bridge after Luis Suarez netted his 11th of the season to equalise John Terry's opener. 

The back post header from a Jamie Carragher flick-on made Suarez just the fifth Reds player to score in four consecutive Premier League away games and the first since Steven Gerrard in 2009.

He was largely kept at bay in a quiet first half performance but burst into life after the break and showed why  his manager Brendan Rodgers has likened him to Lionel Messi recently. His link-up play and the threat that he posed were Chelsea's main problems as they failed to hold onto a lead for the second successive week.

Rodgers introduced Suso in the 60th minute, replacing Nuri Sahin, as the away team switched from a 5-3-2 formation to a 5-1-3-1 set-up. Joe Allen sat deep with Raheem Sterling, Gerrard and Suso supporting star-man Suarez.

For much of the campaign Liverpool have enjoyed plenty of possession but offered little threat apart from through Suarez. It was much of the same in the first half as Rodgers' men kept the ball for long periods but never looked like creating anything of note.

On the other hand Chelsea created a number of chances and it was returning skipper John Terry who escaped the attentions of Daniel Agger to power in a header. It was his 50th goal for the London club, 29 of which have in the Premier League, 20 of which have been headers. The former England captain had to be substituted just 16 minutes later after an accidental collision with Suarez. 

Oscar missed a glorious opportunity to give Chelsea the lead early on and Juan Mata fired over on the stroke of half-time with just goalkeeper Brad Jones to beat. Early in the second half Jones was called into action as he reacted well to stop a Fernando Torres header. 

Suso's introduction sparked Liverpool into life and after the equaliser had they the better chances to win the game. Jose Enrique, who had an excellent game at left wing-back, put Suarez through on goal only for Petr Cech to deny the striker. 

It was the Spanish defender who had the last chance in the final minute of injury-time, but his low shot was turned away by Cech. 

Rodgers credited the way his team came back in the second half: "I thought in the first half we were too tentative. Second half our attitude in the game was much better and we are better when we play fast football.

"Coming here is a very difficult place. I thought it was a great point for us. You have to give credit to the players, they were fantastic.

"Whatever system you have, it doesn't matter, it is about the application and the quality of the players."

Chelsea will be disappointed that they didn't see the game out and now sit three points behind league leaders Manchester United, while Liverpool will be delighted with a draw that extends their unbeaten league run to six matches.

Statistics from Infostrada Sports: http://infostradalive.com/

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