Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points with a hard-fought victory against Liverpool.
Gary Cahill and Diego Costa overturned Emre Can’s opener to hand the away side all three points and Liverpool’s title charge is surely all over, falling 15 points behind Chelsea.
It was the most frentic of starts. Chelsea have tended to be the side to get the ball rolling quickly but Liverpool showed their intentions from the off. Emre Can went unmarked and his long-range effort looped past the post.
His luck was to pay off soon enough, however. Chelsea once again stood back Can and, from a near-identical position, Can’s shot deflected off Cahill to wrong-foot Courtois. Chelsea were warned but did not heed the advice.
The Costa vs. Skrtel battle was to get fiesty but it was clear Chelsea’s best chance of equalising continued to be from set-pieces. Cahill made amends soon after, rifling the ball home after Liverpool failed to clear from a Blue corner. Anthony Taylor had to use goal-line technology, however.
And so the open football continued. Hazard had three glorious opportunities but was denied by Glen Johnson on all occasions.
The second half was no disappointment either. Despite a s low start, Costa put Chelsea ahead with just over 20 minutes to go. Cesar Azpilicueta chased a lost cause admirably and beat Coutinho for strength and pace. His cross found its way to Costa who belted it home.
Then it was a process of measured containment. Not out-and-out defending which backfired against Manchester City and against Manchester United, but a happy medium. Mikel was not introduced — Luis was the man there and was more composed — and Chelsea survived a late penalty claim as Gerrard’s mis-hit shaved Cahill’s arm.
What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Man of the Match
DIEGO COSTA: It was a huge performance by the whole team and Cahill was the most involved man, deflecting Can’s shot in, making amends at the other end, blocking shots all day and surviving a last-minute penalty shout. But at the other end, Costa did more than his fair share to wind Skrtel up and pounced when he needed to. Huffed and puffed all day and a deserved winner. 8/10
Mourinho was ecstatic with his team: “It was a fantastic performance. The players as individuals all had a great performance and as team they were in control. One point at Anfield, most teams would accept that as a great result, this team did not accept that and I am really, really pleased. For me it did not look the normal pressure you feel at Anfield because my team is fantastic. I have to give special word to Ramires and Fabregas.”
Rodgers had to come to terms with suffering three defeats in seven days: “We worked so hard in the game… very disappointed because the players gave everything in the game. We deserved at least a point for sure. You need that wee bit of luck going for you and it isn’t at the moment. It has been a tough week.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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