Luis Suarez capped an eventful afternoon at Anfield as he secured a 2-2 draw for Liverpool against Chelsea with a dramatic equalizer seven minutes into injury time.
After Daniel Sturridge had cancelled out Oscar’s opener early in the second half, Suarez appeared to have cost his side any points with a handball in the box that resulted in a penalty converted by Eden Hazard.
Suarez continued to be in the thick of the action as he was shown to have bitten Branislav Ivanovic, but the referee failed to see the incident and the Uruguayan went onto level with the last meaningful action of the contest. While he didn’t face any punishment on the day, Suarez will surely face a ban once the unflattering replays are scrutinized.
The result was a blow to Chelsea’s Champions League hopes and leaves them in fourth place in the Premier League, just a point ahead of Tottenham and a point behind Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand on the Gunners.
After Rafael Benitez had been given a warm welcome on his return to Anfield, it had been a match of few openings until Chelsea took the lead 26 minutes in. It was a goal that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be bitterly disappointed with, though, as the diminutive Oscar was allowed a clear run to a corner at the near post and directed a fine header beyond the dive of Pepe Reina.
Having failed to score in their two previous matches, Liverpool upped their game at the start of the second half and got themselves level in the 52nd minute. It was a fine team goal as Stewart Downing laid the ball off to Suarez on the edge of the area and the forward crossed perfectly into the path of Sturridge who side-footed a volley into the bottom corner from six yards.
Yet, Liverpool and Suarez would almost immediately undo their good work just five minutes later. As a cross came toward the far post, Suarez had little need to try and deflect the ball away with his hand but that’s exactly what he did and it was spotted by the officials, who had the easy simple decision if pointing to the spot.
Hazard took responsibility and was coolness personified as he stepped up and waited for Reina to dive to his left before rolling the ball in the other corner.
The moment the match will undoubtedly most be remembered for, though, was a bizarre bite by Suarez of the arm of Ivanovic.
There was then a sense of inevitability that it was Suarez who would have the last say in the match. As the clash entered the final seconds of injury time, Sturridge’s fine near-post cross just cleared the head of David Luiz and Suarez was perfectly positioned to flick a header at goal that went in off the arm of Petr Cech.