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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019


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All eyes were on Stamford Bridge for Super Sunday Part II. Chelsea — featuring the newly un-suspended John Terry — hosted Liverpool and the man football fans love to hate, Luis Suarez.

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Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

The football doesn’t stop around here. It’s only a matter of minutes since Edin Dzeko came off the bench to send Manchester City back into second place. Now Chelsea have a chance to wrestle back the runner-up spot when they take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

The teams are out on the pitch, respecting the Armistice Day commemorations. Kick-off is at 4pm.

Team news: As expected John Terry makes his Chelsea return after serving a four-game suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Fernando Torres starts as the Blues’ lone striker.

For Liverpool, it’s a five-man defence with Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique given licence to bomb on at wing-back as per usual. Raheem Sterling supports Luis Suarez up front.

Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry, Ivanovic, Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires; Hazard, Oscar, Mata; Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Moses, Ferreira, Marin, Sturridge, Cahill.

Liverpool: Jones; Johnson, Wisdom, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique; Allen,Gerrard, Sahin; Sterling, Suarez. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Assaidi, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Suso.

KICK OFF: Liverpool get us underway, playing from left to right.

Agger is the first Liverpool player to make a surge into the Chelsea box. He’s eased off the ball by Ivanovic, fairly, and his longing glance in Howard Webb’s direction can’t even be described as half-hearted.

Cech gets involved for the first time this afternoon, climbing above Bertrand and Johnson to punch Enrique’s cross clear.

Subs up and down Britain were readying their recycled “Oscar Night” headlines there but they’ll have to be shelved for the time being. Liverpool try to play the ball out from the back but Allen is robbed by Oscar who then runs on to collect a return ball from Torres. The goal opens up in front of him but he drills it over the top of Brad Jones’s cross-bar. That would have been the Brazilian’s first goal in the Premier League.

Nice open start here.

Liverpool might have five men at the back but they’re not shy of pushing on into attacking positions. Glen Johnson wins a corner off Ryan Bertrand but it comes to nothing for the visitors.

Fernando Torres shows a nice burst of pace to outstrip Raheem Sterling and Jamie Carragher — although the extra acceleration seems almost tongue-in-cheek as he glides past the Liverpool centre-half. Hazard’s cut-back is scrambled away off a Liverpool heel.

Branislav Ivanovic obviously fancies himself as Chelsea’s next Alex, i.e. defender who can thump free-kicks really really hard and sometimes accurately. Mata tips one to him but Ivanovic drills it over the bar.

GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (Terry, 20′) Captain. Leader. Goalscorer… or something like that. It has taken John Terry just 20 minutes to open the scoring on his return from suspension but the Chelsea skipper owes huge thanks to Liverpool’s defence for this one. They completely switch off at a corner, Terry uses Ivanovic as a decoy, and has a completely free header at the near post. Woeful marking with Daniel Agger the main culprit.

Chelsea did get a lucky break off Howard Webb in the run up to the goal, not that it matters. Should make for some funny jokes at least.

If Daniel Agger wants to make amends, that’s not how to do it. He blazes an ambitious effort into Row Z when the more sensible option would be to roll the ball wide to Enrique on the wing.

Liverpool open up in the face of a surging Hazard run and that really should be 2-0 to Chelsea. The Belgian slips the ball to Torres and after Brad Jones gets down to save from him, Hazard has a chance to follow up and slam home the rebound. It bounces to an awkward height but he’ll still be disappointed not to hit the target.

Liverpool are enjoying plenty of possession but there’s only one team who look like scoring here and it ain’t Brendan Rodgers’ men. Hazard and Mata combine in another quick counter but Brad Jones gets down sharply at Mata’s feet to save.

At the other end, Sahin has a rare sight of goal and fizzes one past Cech’s post.

It takes a lot to leave John Terry on the ground screaming in agony but that’s what’s happened after a seemingly innocuous collision with Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was off balance and crashed into Terry’s leg which seemed to take a lot of impact.

Terry is in a lot of pain and Roberto di Matteo looks understandably concerned.

Play is still stopped here as Terry continues to receive treatment. The doctor and physio are bending his right leg, which is positive, but there’s no way he’ll be able to play on.

Substitution: Gary Cahill is on to replace Terry. Expect a hefty amount of time added on at the end of this half.

There’ll be five minutes of added time.

Brad Jones has to be on his toes as a mistake from Wisdom nearly lets Chelsea in for a cheap second. The youngster breathes a huge sigh of relief.

More suspect defending by Liverpool and another opportunity passed up by Chelsea. From a throw at the half-way line, Liverpool somehow manage to let Chelsea slice straight down the middle. With Carragher in pursuit, Mata cuts back inside Wisdom, slipping the ball through his legs but goes for power over placement and blasts the ball over the bar.

HALF TIME: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool

It could — and should — be more though. We’ll be back in a couple of minutes.

SECOND HALF: Aaaaaand we’re back. Can Liverpool find a spark to get themselves back into this? Because, let’s face it, Chelsea have been well on top without needing to do anything spectacular so far.

That pretty much sums up Joe Allen’s afternoon in the Liverpool midfield. He’s robbed of possession — not for the first time today — and as he chases after Torres, clumsily bundles him over. A yellow card for Allen’s trouble.

Mata has plenty of time and space to shoot but from 25 yards out, he’s not able to hit the target.

The Stamford Bridge crowd are up in arms as Oscar and Glen Johnson clash out on the left. If Howard Webb based his decision on crowd noise alone, it would be red for an elbow by Johnson. Instead, the referee sees it as a much less sinister raised forearm and shows yellow.

Brilliant reflex save by Jones to deny Torres. Hazard’s free from the left only needs a touch. The Spaniard obliges but Jones gets down to force it wide.

In the scramble that follows, Gerrard goes down in a heap on the Liverpool end line. He’s playing everybody onside and so Howard Webb stops play. You can imagine the reaction from the home support…

Substitution: That’s the end of Nuri Sahin’s underwhelming afternoon. He’s off to be replaced by Suso. An hour gone.

Ivanovic and Suarez are having a right little ding dong this afternoon, pushing, shoving and sniping at each other. This round goes to Suarez who gently leans into Ivanovic and forces the Chelsea man to knock the ball behind for a corner. Free out? Not according to Howard Webb.

Steven Gerrard has a nibble at Oscar. Nibbling is a yellow card offence and Stevie goes into Howard Webb’s notebook.

From the resulting free, Mata swings a peach of a cross between the Liverpool defensive line and Brad Jones. Jones is less than convincing and flaps it on to Mikel, then watches gratefully as it bobbles behind for a goal kick.

GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool (Suarez, 73′) For as long as Chelsea couldn’t kill this game off, there was always a danger that Liverpool would snatch a goal and that’s exactly what has happened. Andre Wisdom takes a chance and wins the ball to start a rare moment of Liverpool promise. He plays a one-two with Suarez but the return forces him slightly too wide and he has to settle for a corner.

But it’s that corner which leads to the equaliser. Jamie Carragher gets up in front of Oscar and Mikel and flicks the ball on to the back post where Suarez is waiting — onside — to head into the net from two yards out. A little push to get Ramires out of the way by the Uruguayan, but as he wheels away in celebration, he doesn’t seem too concerned.

Substitution: Victor Moses comes on to replace Oscar with just under a quarter of an hour to play. Moses has scored on his last two appearances for Chelsea — can he snatch a winner?

After doing practically nothing for the entire afternoon, Liverpool are really enjoying a bright spell now. We’re all set up for a cracking final 10 men.

As an aside, Carragher’s assist for the Suarez equaliser is his first in the league since April 2009. Back when he was, you know, a bit younger.

Substitution: With eight minutes to play, that’s the end of Fernando Torres’s afternoon. He’s off to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge and the away fans let their one-time poster boy know exactly how they feel.

Azpilicueta crosses from a very advanced position out on the right but it’s just a smidge too high for Ramires who makes a late charge in the box.

If a 1-1 scoreline is generous to Liverpool, this could have been daylight robbery. Gerrard steps up in midfield to win the ball ahead of Mata and send Sterling free down the right. He bides his time before cutting back to Suso, but it’s just behind the youngster and he skews it into a pocket of home fans behind the goal, much to their relief.

Ivanovic is a foot or so from grabbing all three points for Chelsea. He beats Wisdom at the near post to get on the end of a Chelsea corner but he just can’t keep the header down.

And an even better chance for Liverpool at the other end. Suarez times his run perfectly and finds himself one-on-one with Cech. He tries to nip around the keeper but Cech gets the slightest touch and the ball comes back off Suarez’s knee and rolls behind for a goal kick. That could have been Liverpool’s moment.

The fourth official signals for four minutes of stoppage time as Hazard nearly sneaks a power drive past Jones who was rooted to the spot.

Another chance for Liverpool to pilfer all three points as Sterling does some, ahem, sterling work with Suarez to play in man of the match Jose Enrique. From an angle, he tries to beat Cech low at his near post but the keeper is down to make a vital stop.

FULL TIME: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

“A great point for Liverpool, two points dropped for Chelsea” seems to be the fairest assessment. Chelsea were in total control for 60+ minutes but couldn’t find a second goal to kill the visitors off and Luis Suarez made them pay.

So that’s our lot from the Bridge. Chelsea miss the chance to move back into second place; they’re third, three points behind Manchester United. Liverpool stay in 13th.

Thanks for reading. It might not have been the most Super of Sundays, depending on who you support, but it wasn’t that bad.

About the author:

Niall Kelly