Positive Chelsea play, but limited end-product, cost the Blues two vital points, as Luis Suarez’s header ensured the spoils were shared on a difficult day for the Blues.
John Terry gave his side a goal the performance merited, but one could not quite become two, before Liverpool turned the game on its head late on, and were it not for Petr Cech, the visitors could have easily snatched all three points.
Chelsea have failed to win in their last two Premier League outings, and once the going gets tough, the tough gets going. That’s why Di Matteo sought answers to his side’s leaky back-line, bringing back John Terry, after serving his four-match ban for insulting Anton Ferdinand.
The front three of Mata, Hazard and Oscar once again started to weave their magic just minutes in, and it was the latter who very nearly started where he left off from mid-week, but the Brazilian got his angles hopelessly wrong after being put through by Hazard.
More intricate play lead to Chelsea’s first set-piece, and who better to score than John Terry. The former England captain scored his 50th goal for Chelsea, to put the home side in front after 19 minutes.
But his jubilation was to be short-lived. Luiz Suarez fell on the 31-year-old’s knee awkwardly, and a piercing scream from the Chelsea captain foreshadowed a lengthy period of treatment on-field, and one fears he will not make a comeback this calendar year.
Gary Cahill came on in his place, but still Liverpool couldn’t take advantage. In fact, it could have been two for Chelsea, had Brad Jones not stopped a Torres shot.
The first-half injury time spelled out another chance for the hosts. Juan Mata glided past the Liverpool defence, but he was made to rue his decision to power, as opposed to pass, the ball into the goal, firing high and wide. 2-0 on the stroke of half-time and you would suspect Liverpool would be down and out.
But it was not to be. And so Liverpool continued to believe. They have only lost two of their last 11 Premier League meetings against Chelsea, winning the last four in a row.
Suarez was continuing to be a handful even if he was rarely on the ball, with Torres working tirelessly with no outcome. The Spaniard scored his first goal in English football in the reverse fixture five seasons ago, and went on to net 81 times in 142 appearances. Just 19 goals from 81 appearances down south is no creditable return for £50m.
But the Euro 2012 Golden Boot winner nearly did score against his former side, flicking on a Hazard free-kick, which was stopped at point-blank range by Brad Jones, who seems to have displaced Pepe Reina as first-choice stopper.
The longer it stayed at 1-0, the more Liverpool believed. And Chelsea were made to regret not being more efficient in front of goal, as an equaliser came in the 73rd minute.
A low corner was flicked on by Jamie Carragher, and his flick on to Luis Suarez was perfectly disguised, before the Uruguayan headed home.
But could they snatch another late one? Well, Victor Moses was introduced to the action, as was Daniel Sturridge.
But the impetus was gone. Even if Torres continues his drought up front, his understanding with Mata and Hazard seems more telepathic than Daniel Sturridge.
The long-ball strategy came into play, with Chelsea heavily on the back foot, hoofing it to Daniel Sturridge, who was ineffective.
Indeed, it was Enrique who could have written the headlines with the last chance of the game, but his well-struck shot was turned around the post by Petr Cech.