|Rest in peace Anne...|
It was an eventful day to put it kindly on Sunday in Merseyside as Liverpool prepared to applaud the memory of Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams and the victims of the Boston marathon whilst also welcoming ex manager and fan favourite Rafael Benitez back. As if the headlines weren't big enough before the whistle they'd soon swell up even further post match after the footballing public looked back on what appeared to be almost certainly a bite on Ivanovic from Luis Suarez. Pushing all of that aside Liverpool actually fought hard and picked up a good result with the game ending 2-2 and of course it was Suarez who found the winning goal.
I feel as though I should start with the Suarez incident really for this post just because it's such a pressing topic and to voice my opinion then get it out the way to do a match roundup would perhaps be a better order of things.
The first moment that caused a reaction from me was when I saw Ivanovic sitting on the floor trying to tell Kevin Friend that he'd been bitten on the arm by Suarez. Suarez was in the box limping from what looked originally like a normal clash with the defender. My first thought was that Ivanovic was playing to the ref, any old excuse to get Suarez in trouble because we all know he's an easy target, I was wrong to think this of course and my opinion was perhaps coloured by a dislike for Chelsea but nevertheless Suarez had of course done this before.
The next thing we saw was a zoomed in replay and to my despair all you could see was Luis Suarez in the corner of the screen physically grabbing Ivanovic's arm and sinking his teeth in to it. I couldn't quite believe what we were seeing to be honest. What made things worse is that the conversation in the pub about Suarez biting someone was bad enough to start with but to be ending sentences with "again" after he bit somebody in his time at Ajax, well it's just unacceptable.
I have no idea what an earth his thought process is when he's deciding whether or not it would be a good idea to bite another player but he's quite simply a nutcase. There's people online attempting to find any ounce of an excuse to defend Suarez but I personally won't. I do also feel that people using the example of Defoe not getting properly punished for doing the same thing or the fact a bite doesn't injure a player is ridiculous, these people are totally missing the point. It doesn't matter if it hasn't injured somebody or if somebody got away with it before, it's completely and utterly wrong and any punishment Suarez serves will be completely deserved. The club today have announced he has been fined and they will await a decision from the FA.
Despite all of this though, just because Suarez has done something indefensible that doesn't mean I no longer want him at my club, far from it. Sometimes geniuses are flawed and it appears as though we have one of these characters on our hands I just hope he can learn to calm down a bit else we'll be constantly missing him through bans.
On to the game. A minutes applause for the inspirational Anne Williams opened proceedings and there were several banners displayed in her memory at Anfield. Shortly after the game kicked off Rafael Benitez also got his expected warm welcome as sections of Anfield began to sing his name. It was nice but strange to see Rafa back, you could tell he misses the place though.
Brendan Rodgers had started a similar XI to the last fixture but for me the most questionable part was why Daniel Sturridge wasn't starting again, I personally haven't really understood this decision and you would think in a game against his old club Brendan may have started him but Sturridge had to wait until the second half to feature.
The first half wasn't a brilliant one for Liverpool who started the game ok but quickly lost control with possession being lost left right and centre. It appeared to be a struggle to successfully complete a pass at times which was annoying to watch.
Chelsea made things worse for the Reds when they took advantage of some poor defending after a corner at 25 minutes. Oscar had managed to create just the slightest bit of space and his glancing header found the back of the net putting the away side ahead. Carragher made a late decision to follow Oscar out but it was already a done deal, Agger was also spotted discussing with Reina about marking Oscar but he never did so it was difficult to choose somebody solely at fault for the goal.
Fernando Torres made the start for Chelsea and unlike the one received by his manager, the Torres reception wasn't a very welcome one at all. He must have been pleased to have a mask to hide behind as boos rang out whenever he touched the ball and the likes of Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger made it their mission to stop him from breaking through.
The first half ended without any further goals but Liverpool certainly weren't out of this yet. Coutinho was replaced at half time by Daniel Sturridge and whilst I wanted Sturridge on I wasn't sure I wanted Coutinho off, however the substitution proved to be immediately effective.
With almost his first touch of the game Daniel Sturridge fizzed a shot from 25 yards but couldn't find the goal. 5 minutes later though and he had found it. A lovely set up starting with a ball from Carragher in defence to Downing, then to Suarez who played a lovely ball through to Sturridge allowed the striker to finish to the bottom left of goal.
Sturridge was a breath of fresh air in what had become a difficult game and with an equaliser now secured the Reds had that springboard to take the game to Chelsea. However things weren't set to pan out that way.
Shortly after the Sturridge goal Suarez was flailing around defending a Chelsea corner with one hand in the air, it was definitely a penalty and in fairness even before the later more serious incident, this annoyed me too. You don't put your hands up like that in the box. Eden Hazard successfully converted his penalty to put Chelsea back in the lead to the away fans delight.
Liverpool may have had some renewed strength in attack after bringing Sturridge on but it felt like there was a long way to go now. Suarez was clearly frustrated with conceding a penalty for his side and I can only imagine that this was the fuel for his resulting bite on Ivanovic, this was the next incident of note to happen really but I voiced my opinion on this at the start of the post. (Just to note if you have any of your own views I'm always interested in your opinions so drop a comment in match chat below!)
After the extremely controversial incident it was written in the stars that Suarez would somehow find his glowing side again and secure Liverpool a point, and that he did. A cross from Daniel Sturridge set up the Uruguayan who headed home for Liverpool in the 7th minute of stoppage time. 6 were added on but it's believed Kevin Friend added those extra seconds that became so vital to Liverpool due to the time it took for Juan Mata to leave the field at 90 minutes.
It was a good result for Liverpool considering what happened and as much as we all would like to focus on the positives the game will always be remembered for Suarez mistaking Ivanovic's arm for a stick of French bread.
Suarez has apologised to both Ivanovic and the fans/players/Liverpool Football Club since the incident and as much as this has to be appreciated it obviously won't be enough. There's people saying he's apologised for his mistake so let's move on and whilst I agree we should move on as Liverpool fans who want to see the right side of Suarez there's no denying that this wasn't a “mistake”, a “mistake” is buying the wrong milk not chewing someone's arm.
Next up for Liverpool is Newcastle United, don't be surprised if they all line up in garlands of garlic.