Match Report: Liverpool's Luis Suarez proves a man apart as Chelsea lose ground at the top

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1

Stamford Bridge

Luis Suarez celebrated his equaliser alone in front of the travelling Liverpool support, his team-mates electing to head back into their own half and prepare for the onslaught of the last 20 minutes of the match.

As it turned out, the image of a man apart suits Liverpool’s leading striker rather well.

He has scored in his last four games for Liverpool, 11 in all this season, although his club have won just one of those nine matches in which he has scored. Without him yesterday, they would have lacked the sharp edge to open up their opponents and been unable to turn a fairly forgettable first-half performance into a draw. Every time he received the ball a world of possibilities opened up.

With a nudge in the back of Ramires to create the space to score, Suarez bought himself enough room to head in a corner from Suso that was flicked on at the near post by Jamie Carragher on 72 minutes. The Uruguayan was not the only decent performer in a Liverpool second half  – Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson all played well  – but it always felt like if a goal was to come, it would come from Suarez.

When Brendan Rodgers says that he would not change Suarez for any other player you can see his point. In fact, this current Chelsea team with Suarez rather than Fernando Torres as their leading striker would be a whole different package. As it is, the European champions have now slipped to third in the Premier League behind the usual suspects from Manchester after the brightest of starts to the season.

Torres worked hard yesterday, especially when it came to chasing down Liverpool’s midfielders, but there is not the same menace about him as there is about Suarez when he gets the ball. Suarez might even have won it for Liverpool with four minutes of the game left had Petr Cech not succeeded in closing him down and getting a toe to the ball which cannoned back off the Liverpool man.

On 35 minutes, it was Suarez who fell on top of John Terry’s right leg, causing the Chelsea captain’s knee to twist unnaturally. Having scored the first goal of the game, Terry, on his return from his four-match suspension for the racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand, went down in the kind of distress that you rarely see from the breed of old-school centre-backs to which he belongs.

Eventually they carted the Chelsea captain off on a stretcher and he will have a scan on that knee today to assess the extent of the damage. At the point that he left the game it was hard to imagine anything other than a Chelsea victory, but gradually Liverpool fought their way back into the game and after Suarez scored the equaliser they might even have won it. With a five-man defence, with Carragher at the centre of it, Rodgers’ side struggled in the first half, not least from the corner that Terry scored from. On that occasion, Daniel Agger and Johnson – marking Terry and Branislav Ivanovic – got themselves tangled up and allowed the Chelsea captain to steer his header in off Brad Jones’s left-hand post.

In midfield, Joe Allen found himself caught in possession too often. Alongside him, Nuri Sahin was not a profound influence on the game, certainly not in comparison with the likes of Juan Mata and, to a lesser extent, Oscar in the first half. Mata’s delicate touch on the ball was evident every time it was at his feet, which was not quite enough from Chelsea’s point of view.

In time added on at the end of the first half, Mata slipped the ball through Andre Wisdom’s legs and then struck his shot over. Before then Torres and Eden Hazard had missed chances when another goal from Chelsea would have put the game out of sight. Liverpool hung on, and with Suarez there was always hope.

Rodgers changed his team to a more orthodox 4-4-2 in the second half, with Suso on in place of Sahin after the hour and Sterling pushed up alongside Suarez. The goal came when Carragher did well at the near post to flick the ball back across goal and Ramires allowed himself to be eased out of position by Suarez.

The draw gives Rodgers 12 points from his first 11 games. He will not want reminding that Roy Hodgson, his much-maligned predecessor who came before Kenny Dalglish, had 15 points at this stage of the 2010-2011 season with his 11th game in charge yielding three points at home to Chelsea. Liverpool are currently in 13th place, level on points with Stoke City but it is not as bad as it could have been. That is down, in no small measure, to Suarez, whose instincts got Liverpool out of a fix again.

At the end of the game, once the stadium had cleared, Didier Drogba came down from his executive suite and walked down the tunnel wearing the kind of thick black spectacles that he never required to locate the opposition’s goal in his eight years at the club.

Chelsea still miss his presence – which team would not? – and while Torres’s performances are marginally improved he is still not the answer. The striker was not happy to be substituted for Daniel Sturridge yesterday, although it was the right decision. What Chelsea really needed from their No 9, what Drogba provided on so many occasions was the killer blow, the second goal, but it never came.

After the stadium had cleared, Terry emerged from the tunnel on crutches and proceeded to cross the pitch slowly on his way to the exit. In the past his injury would have been a concern for the England manager but those days are over. Nowadays there is just Chelsea for him, and he will know better than most that they had enough chances to win this game before Suarez intervened.

Bookings Chelsea - Mikel. Liverpool - Allen, Johnson, Gerrard. Man of the match Johnson

Match rating 7/10

Possession Chelsea 43%. Liverpool 57%

Attempts on target Chelsea 3. Liverpool 3

Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire)

Attendance 41,627

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project