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Premier League: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2

Luis Suarez was both the hero and villain as his last-gasp header salvaged Liverpool a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday.

In an enthralling affair, Eden Hazard scored what had looked to be the 58th-minute winner from the penalty spot after Daniel Sturridge had cancelled out Oscar’s first-half header.

But Suarez headed in Sturridge’s cross in the seventh minute of added time, just as Chelsea appeared to have secured the three points.

Despite playing a role in both of Liverpool’s goals, the occasion will be remembered for the less savoury side of Suarez.

The Liverpool forward appeared to bite Branislav Ivanovic on the arm midway through the second half after they jostled for the ball in the Chelsea penalty box.

Suarez, who was banned during his Ajax days for biting, is likely to face a misconduct charge when the footage of the incident is reviewed by the Football Association.

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, in charge of Chelsea on an interim basis, watched his old side take an early grip of the match without looking particularly threatening, but it was the Blues who took the lead after 25 minutes through an unlikely source.

Oscar deserves credit for the deftness of his header direct from Juan Mata’s corner, but there were question marks over the failure of the defenders to track his straightforward run to the front post.

Moments later, Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina nearly made one of the howlers of the season. A speculative David Luiz shot was directed straight at him but the Spaniard almost spilled it behind the line.

Suarez always looked Liverpool’s most likely avenue for a goal but it was not until the 42nd minute that the Uruguayan got a chance, though Petr Cech comfortably dealt with his first shot of the match.

After the interval, Sturridge, a half-time replacement for the disappointing Philippe Coutinho, immediately gave Liverpool the spark they had been missing.

The Englishman nearly created the equaliser with a brilliant run and pass from the right, before hitting a venomous 30-yard shot against the upright.

It was third time lucky for Sturridge, who put the finishing touches on a sublime move after 52 minutes following a delightful cross from Suarez.

But the hosts could only stay level for five minutes after conceding another soft goal.

Replays showed referee Kevin Friend was correct to point to the penalty spot after Suarez handled the ball in his own area. Hazard nonchalantly drove the spot-kick into the left corner.

Suarez was at the heart of all of Liverpool’s best play but he was once again cast into the role of villain midway through the second period. After wrestling for the ball with Ivanovic in the Chelsea box, Suarez grabbed the defender’s arm and appeared to sink his teeth into it.

Liverpool continued to press for an equaliser and Jonjo Shelvey should have supplied them with it only to miss the target when through on goal.

But Suarez refused to give up and sent the home support wild with his late headed goal from Sturridge’s superb cross.

Sun 21 April, 2013
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