Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2 match report: Dependency on villain Luis Suarez cripples Brendan Rodgers' aim

Chelsea drop valuable points after late goal at Anfield


The really dangerous part of all this is the Luis Suarez dependency around here. It was Graeme Souness who observed tonight that Liverpool are “not blessed with a lot of world class players at this time” and the game which kept Chelsea's pursuit of a top four place in their own destiny, despite the concession of the late goal, bore that out.

There was nothing much more engaging than the choreography of Rafael Benitez's return, in the first half. The Kop waited fewer than two minutes to issue their first chant for him and it was unfortunate that a diplomatic, though notably less vocal, song for Rodgers was drowned out by the boos for Fernando Torres, the pantomime villain whose 'welcome to Anfield' encounter with Jamie Carragher was engaging. No-one could blame Liverpool's faithful for some sentimentality about Benitez since Ramires, Juan Mata and Oscar delivered a level of invention and pace entirely absent in the home side's over–elaborate system, which in the first half lacked any incision. Chelsea were worth their lead, attributable to Carragher allowing Oscar, the smallest man on the pitch, to pivot and head in from a corner - peeling away to the right edge of the penalty area before the defender could react, with no defender on the post to block the ball.

The extraordinary immediacy of Daniel Sturridge's impact, arriving in place of the ineffectual Phillippe Coutinho after half time, made a mockery of the prettified first half precision play, though the 23-year-old's place on the bench was actually a consequence of his own struggle to make inroads since his dynamic start to his Liverpool career in January. Sturridge had already bombed in from the right to send in Steven Gerrard against Petr Cech – the goalkeeper saved smartly with his foot – and spun away from Eden Hazard to strike a 30-yard shot against the post – before he seized on a beautiful one-touch Suarez lay-off to equalise.

Even then, the saint and sinner were there in the Uruguayan, who closed his eyes, raised a hand and conceded the penalty which Hazard converted, right-footed, to put Chelsea back ahead. For Rodgers, the only encouragement to take from another sorry afternoon was Sturridge's continual presence as a force. He deftly flicked back a ball which Jordan Henderson – for whom this was a fairly wretched afternoon – sent on for substitute Jonjo Shelvey to graze a post with. A criminal waste. It was also Sturridge who provided the well measured cross which Suarez headed in for the equaliser at the death.

Both goalscorers were the subject of controversy. Sturridge might have been dismissed for going in over the ball on Ryan Bertrand in a second half which grew increasingly ill-tempered. Rodgers was unhappy about Torres leading with his arm into a challenge on Carragher, in which he caught him in the face.

The game's footballing messages struggled to be heard.

But the overwhelming impression was how far these sides have fallen since Benitez waged battle with Jose Mourinho from the home dugout here.

Match facts



Goals. Liverpool: Sturridge 52, Suarez 90. Chelsea: Oscar 26, Hazard pen 57.

Substitutions: Liverpool Sturridge 8 (Coutinho, HT), Shelvey (Downing, 80). Chelsea Benayoun (Hazard, 78), Moses (Oscar, 83), Lampard (Mata, 90).

Bookings: Liverpool Carrager, Henderson, Shelvey, Lucas, Suarez. Chelsea Azpilicueta, Torres.

Man of the match Sturridge.

Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Liverpool 50%. Chelsea 50%.

Attempts on target: Liverpool 12. Chelsea 6.

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance 45,009.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before