Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Christian Benteke’s late equaliser cancels out Eden Hazard’s opener

12 May

Liverpool’s final home game of the season ended with late drama, as Christian Benteke bagged an injury time equaliser to keep the Reds’ European hopes alive.

Eden Hazard netted the opener for the Blues, but as it looked like they were easing to a well deserved victory, his international teammate Benteke headed into the empty net to ensure Liverpool can still qualify for the Europa League through their league finish, rather than relying on their final clash against Sevilla to get back into Europe.

An open first half of football was slightly dominated by the hosts, who will feel they should have been ahead going in at half-time.

Philippe Coutinho was denied by an excellent John Obi Mikel block after Alberto Moreno’s cut-back, before the Brazilian playmaker set up Roberto Firmino with a great chance, although he could only fire wide from a narrow angle.

Bertrand Traore, named upfront by Guus Hiddink, was impressing for the Blues, being at the centre of the majority of their attacks.

Some good interplay between the Burkinabe attacker and Cesar Azpilicueta set the former up with a good chance, but he failed to beat Simon Mignolet, before the youngster hit just wide after the Belgian keeper misjudged the flight of the ball, retreating towards his goal as the shot went past him.

After half-an-hour, the early intensity had somewhat left the game, but Hazard brought the match back to life, breaking the deadlock with a truly sublime moment of individual skill.

Picking up the ball on the left wing, he dribbled towards the Liverpool box, taking the ball around the entire Reds’ defence before firing precisely past Mignoet.

The goal seemed to deflate the hosts, who were struggling to retain possession and create any chances of note, as a James Milner free-kick was punched clear by Asmir Begovic towards the end of the half.

Daniel Sturridge and Firmino both attempted long-range shots in the early stages of the second period, without ever truly threatening Chelsea’s Bosnian keeper.

Mignolet saved well after another excellent move from Hazard, who beat Kolo Toure with a direct run at the Liverpool defence.

Toure almost bagged the equaliser moments later, heading over from close range, while Sturridge drew a great reaction save from Begovic and Adam Lallana fired wildly over from insde the area.

Liverpool grew into the game, showing much more attacking intensity than the Blues, although they were struggling to create many clear cut chances.

Begovic was equal to everything he faced, as the Reds were forced to shoot from long range as they consistently ran into a blue wall.

Chelsea were seeing out the win with ease, but the hosts finally beat Begovic when he palmed a cross directly onto Christian Benteke’s head in injury time.

Sheyi Ojo’s cross coaused the keeper trouble, and the towering striker was there to share the points in the final seconds of the game.


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