Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Christian Benteke saves point in stoppage time
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 12/05/16 12:01am
Christian Benteke's injury-time goal earned Liverpool a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night.
The Belgian substitute converted into an empty net after Asmir Begovic had unconvincingly parried the ball into his path from a Sheyi Ojo cross.
Chelsea took the lead after Eden Hazard skipped through three challenges before slotting into the bottom corner just after the half-hour mark, a contender for goal of the season.
The result means Liverpool must win at West Brom and hope Southampton lose or draw at home to Crystal Palace to finish seventh and have a chance of qualifying for the Europa League next season.
However, seventh will only qualify for the Europa League if Manchester United win in the FA Cup final against Palace and finish in the top six. Liverpool can of course qualify for the Champions League if they beat Sevilla in the Europa League final on May 18.
Jurgen Klopp made eight changes from the weakened side that beat Watford 2-0 on Sunday, while Guus Hiddink made four after the 3-2 defeat by Sunderland.
Liverpool had the better of the game early on, with Baba Rahman's block six yards out denying Philippe Coutinho a sure goal after Alberto Moreno had pulled the ball back to him on the penalty spot.
Begovic, in for Thibaut Courtois, parried away Adam Lallana's right-footed effort from long range shortly after, while at the other end Simon Mignolet got down well to block Hazard's dipping effort.
Chelsea were ahead on 32 minutes through Hazard, who has belatedly hit form in recent months after a disappointing campaign for last year's PFA Player of the Year.
Picking the ball up wide on the left 40 yards from goal, Hazard superbly danced through three challenges before slotting the ball into the bottom right corner from 18 yards.
Mignolet then found himself caught between the goal-line and Bertrand Traore with the ball at the striker's feet, but luckily for the Belgian, the Chelsea man could only curl the ball just high and wide.
Hazard was back to his scintillating best at Anfield, and again took on two Liverpool players before being denied by Mignolet's fine save to his right, while Begovic did well to deny Daniel Sturridge from close range after Lallana had played his England team-mate through on goal.
Mignolet saved again from Pedro and then Bertrand Traore's long-range effort, while Lallana's close-range effort was blocked on the line by Begovic as the game neared an end.
Hazard was thwarted once more by his Belgian team-mate Mignolet in stoppage time, but it was their compatriot Benteke who scored the Reds' equaliser just 15 minutes after coming on.
Begovic was caught out by Ojo's deep cross, parrying the ball into Benteke's path to nod home unmarked from three yards for his 10th goal of the season.
Liverpool: Mignolet (8), Clyne (6), Toure (7), Lovren (7), Moreno (6), Can (6), Milner (6), Lallana (6), Coutinho (6), Firmino (5), Sturridge (6)
Subs: Allen (6), Ojo (7), Benteke (7)
Chelsea: Begovic (4); Azpilicueta (5), Mikel (5), Cahill (6), Baba Rahman (5); Fabregas (6), Matic (7); Pedro (6), Willian (5), Hazard (9); Traore (6)
Subs: Kenedy (6), Abraham (6), Loftus-Cheek (N/A)Man of the match: Eden Hazard