FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: QUESTION OF TIME

Posted on: Mon 22 Apr 2013

Rafael Benitez was quite clear after Chelsea were denied a win at Anfield by an equaliser at the very end of the game. It was the length of added time following the 90 minutes that was his concern more than any other incident on the pitch.

Much of the talk after the game was about television coverage that appeared to show Luis Suarez biting Branislav Ivanovic during the match, an incident that was not spotted by match officials. Neither manager had seen it properly either so they did not wish to comment in the immediate aftermath of the game.

Instead it was a different pain inflicted on Chelsea that was discussed, and the fact the Liverpool striker was the player who denied Chelsea three points by scoring their second goal only added to the outside inquest. Six minutes had been shown by the fourth official at the end of normal time, but the game was extended by even more.

Oscar had put Chelsea ahead in the first half with Eden Hazard restoring the lead after a Daniel Sturridge goal early in the second half.

'I was disappointed with the late goal conceded,' said Benitez, 'especially because I can't understand why there were six minutes and 45 seconds [stoppage time] - a very strange decision. Some games you have six substitutions and they say three or four minutes.

'In this case six minutes, a throw-in for us and the game was over, and still 45 seconds more. It is difficult to explain.

'We have to analyse why we didn't stop the cross and why Liverpool scored, but still in the normal circumstances we would have finished the game having won against a good team.

'They were pushing but we were defending well and had our chances in counter-attack in terms of dangerous situations.

'Sometimes when they try to explain added time they put substitutions as 30 seconds, sometimes they say 40 seconds, sometimes one minute - but every single game you have three or four minutes added, five minutes if it is a lengthy incident - but six minutes 45 seconds?'

On the Suarez/Ivanovic incident…
'I didn't see the incident so I am disappointed with the late goal,' said Benitez. 'A lot of people are telling me this and that but I didn't see. For me the headline would be why six minutes and 45 seconds, that is the only one I have to understand.'

On whether he is confident Chelsea will finish in the top four…
'I am. We don't have a great advantage but we can do it and we can win against any team.'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers saw his team pick up their performance after the interval…

'I thought the first half we were too slow,' he said. 'We played with three midfield players to control and move the ball quickly but we didn't pass it well enough and gave it away too cheaply. Second half we were outstanding. Petr Cech made some wonderful saves.

'I have heard what has supposedly happened [with Suarez] but I will go away and review it and comment later.'

- A clip of Rafael Benitez talking to Chelsea TV after the game is above with the full interview available via the channel's online access.