EPL: Suarez rescues Liverpool against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
London: An unconvincing Liverpool made Chelsea pay for their profligacy by coming from behind to steal a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
John Terry`s headed goal on 20 minutes was cancelled out by Luis Suarez`s eighth strike of the league season in the second period, in a result which leaves the Blues third in the table, three points behind Manchester United, while the Reds remain in a distant 13th.
To add to the home side`s agony, Terry left the pitch with his head in his hands and a look of rare vulnerability on his face after receiving five minutes of treatment in the wake of his accidental collision with Suarez.
Predictably, Liverpool made eight changes from the side that lost 1-0 in Russia against Anzhi on Thursday. With Pepe Reina unready for the squad, Brad Jones remained in goal, while Jamie Carragher replaced the ill Martin Skrtel.
Andre Wisdom kept his place as Brendan Rodgers opted to start with three central defenders flanked by wing-backs Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique.
For Chelsea, Terry returned to the starting XI after being overlooked in midweek. He was paired with Branislav Ivanovic rather than Gary Cahill or David Luiz, who had tonsillitis. With the injured Ashley Cole replaced by Ryan Bertrand and Cesar Azpilicueta making only his second league start, there was an even fresher feel to the new-look Chelsea.
It was another exciting addition to the home team, Oscar, who came close to giving Chelsea a sixth-minute lead after Joe Allen lost possession but the Brazilian lifted his shot over the bar from 15 yards out.
Just when Rodgers` 3-5-2 formation appeared to be bearing fruit, with his team dominating possession, simple human error gifted Chelsea the opening goal midway through the opening period.
Juan Mata curled in a corner from the right and Liverpool`s zonal system, most notably Daniel Agger, failed to track the run of Terry, who gleefully bulleted a free header into the top corner for his 50th Chelsea goal in his 558th appearance.
It was one of the captain`s last acts of the afternoon. The defender was stretchered off, in severe pain, after Suarez`s full body weight landed on his knee. Judging by the agonised look on the Englishman`s face, subsequent tests in the Stamford Bridge medical room could reveal ligament damage.
Despite Liverpool having 64 per cent of the first-half possession, Chelsea were far more dangerous and Mata`s brilliant run shortly before the whistle ended with a wild finish rather than the second goal.
It was the same theme after the break, with Petr Cech little more than an interested spectator as all the action hummed around the opposing goalmouth. Mata arrowed a shot narrowly wide and Jones saved smartly from Torres` flashed header.
Chelsea should have been out of sight by the time Liverpool made them pay for their profligacy with a smartly worked corner in the 73rd minute.
Substitute Suso curled the ball into the near post, Carragher met it with a neat flick-on and an unchallenged Suarez applied the headed finish with his 11th goal of the season.
Indeed, the visitors finished strongly and Suarez could have gone on to win the game for Liverpool had last man Petr Cech not timed his charge perfectly late on.