Chelsea put a huge dent in Liverpool’s title hopes with a 2-0 win at Anfield on Sunday afternoon and might just have got themselves back into contention for the Premier League crown.
Goals from Demba Ba and Willian helped the heavily rotated Blues to move within two points of the league leaders, and to take control of the title out of the hands of Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Despite dominating the possession and chances, Liverpool couldn’t get the better of the Blues, who scored both their goals from quick counter attacks. The away side soaked up pressure with ease, showing the defensive improvements that Jose Mourinho has implemented.
Chelsea started the game heavily changed from their Champions League game on Tuesday, with seven changes in total. Mourinho had one eye on this Wednesday’s Champions League second leg with Atletico Madrid, but he still wasn’t taking this game lightly. The Blues were set up to defend and frustrate from the start, setting this game up to be on par with Mourinho’s master class at the Etihad earlier in the season.
Liverpool pushed forward early on, but it was Chelsea who opened the scoring on the stroke of half time. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped while in possession, and Demba Ba latched on the ball, ran through on goal and finished confidently.
Liverpool came flying out of the blocks in the second half but they couldn’t find a way through the resolute Chelsea defence. The side had practice defending deep, having frustrated Ateltico Madrid last Tuesday night, and they showed that by keeping Liverpool out.
The home side pushed hard for an equaliser, but their efforts found no reward as Mark Schwarzer performed well in the Chelsea goal. Gary Cahill was sent on to join the defence after Willian came on for Salah, the former helping keep the home side at bay, while it was Willian who put the game out of sight for Chelsea.
Fernando Torres picked up the ball and took it in to the Liverpool half and – with no defenders there to close him down – the former Liverpool striker charged at Simon Mignolet’s goal, before laying it off to Willian who tapped it into an empty net.
After the game Jose Mourinho refused to say they were back in the title race, but was still proud of the win. “We’re back in nothing. At this moment we are almost third,” Mourinho said. “Now with these three points we need one point to finish third. Champions are only one and the champions will be City or Liverpool.
“It was about winning. We deserved to win, no doubt about it. It’s as simple as this. With the result at 1-0 for 45 minutes, we were always comfortable. We were never in trouble against a team that is a fantastic team, a team that has beautiful players and scores a lot of goals and smashes every team that comes here.”
“Now we have to think about Wednesday, and I would say the game of our lives. To play a Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge is something big.”
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