Suarez rescues point for Reds
Liverpool rally to cancel out Herd effort
By Adam Bate. Last Updated: April 7, 2012 6:55pm
Liverpool and Aston Villa both ended their losing runs but were forced to settle for a point apiece after a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Chris Herd had given Villa the half-time lead, finishing neatly from Barry Bannan's cut-back after Alexander Doni had flapped at Stephen Warnock's cross.
For much of the second-half that looked to be enough to win the game for the visitors as Liverpool laid siege to the goal with little success.
But inside the last 10 minutes, Steven Gerrard's fizzed ball in from the right found substitute Daniel Agger who headed against the bar before Luis Suarez nodded home the equaliser.
Liverpool could even have won it but had to be content with a draw that lifts them back above Sunderland into eighth place.
The point will also ease Villa's relegation fears on a day when the teams below them were unable to close the gap.
Liverpool could have been ahead inside the opening minutes had it not been for the reactions of the experienced Shay Given who clawed Dirk Kuyt's shot off the line after Stewart Downing's low cross picked out the Holland international at the far post.
The home side's response to going behind was slow as despite a succession of corners Martin Skrtel's header wide of the post was the closest they came.
Suarez had a valid claim for a penalty turned down when he was caught by Alan Hutton but it was not until the final minute of the half the Reds really posed a threat.
The best chance fell to Kuyt from Gerrard's cross-shot but the Dutchman ballooned over from five yards before Suarez fired straight at Given.
Dalglish switched to 4-4-2 for the second half with Gerrard playing wide right and the captain almost helped deliver the equaliser.
His 53rd-minute cross picked out Suarez whose header beat Given but bounced off the far post, although it still needed the goalkeeper's quick reactions to flick the ball away from an almost impossible position behind him to prevent it crossing the line.
Villa, content to hang on to their lead, were starting to come under more sustained pressure and the Liverpool manager attempted to turn the screw by sending on Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy, effectively playing with four forwards.
But still they struggled to test Given with Bellamy, given time to bring the ball down on the left of the penalty area, driving against the outside of the post.
The woodwork was struck again in the 82nd minute but this time it actually benefited Liverpool.
Gerrard's cross from the right saw substitute Agger, on for Jose Enrique, plant a header against the underside of the bar but when the ball bounced down Suarez was on hand to nod in from close range.
Carroll headed straight at Given from another Gerrard cross before the captain's swerving shot was kept out by the goalkeeper's legs in added time.
A victory would have flattered the home side who, despite making all the running after going behind, were far from impressive and made hard work of getting a point against a side who had won just twice in 11 games.
|Liverpool||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||2|
|17||Shots off Target||2|
|69.4%||1st Half Poss.||30.6%|
|69.8%||2nd Half Poss.||30.2%|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|