Liverpool vs. Chelsea: Final score 0-2, Blues stun Reds to put title up for grabs

Clive Brunskill

Liverpool could have put a hand on the trophy with a win at home. They didn't do it.

Chelsea went to Liverpool more interested in resting players and making a statement than getting a win, and yet they walked away with three points anyway. A terrible mistake by Steven Gerrard allowed the Blues to get the lone goal of the match, then they added another late, as an understrength Chelsea walked away with a 2-0 win that may cost Liverpool the league title.

Jose Mourinho, upset that his team had to play on Sunday in between Champions League fixtures instead of Friday or Saturday, rested half his first choice team. That should have handed Liverpool the win, one which would have put them four points from clinching the title, but they couldn't do it.

Liverpool had all the chances in the opening 15 minutes as Chelsea absorbed the pressure. The Blues didn't do an especially good job defending and the Reds could have gone ahead, but they were unable to connect in front of goal and when they did, their finishing was poor. That allowed Chelsea to escape unscathed.

After Liverpool's strong opening, Chelsea worked their way into the match. They didn't have much of the ball, but they defended better and were more dangerous. Jon Flanagan should have conceded a penalty, but the referee incorrectly waved play on, while Tomas Kalas missed a free header from five yards that would have put the Blues in front.

In first half stoppage time, Chelsea did finally find the net, though. And it was thanks to Gerrard.

The Liverpool legend took an awkward touch, then slipped and fell. He did so with no defenders behind him so Demba Ba was able to go in on goal after hopping on the loose ball, finishing coolly and giving Chelsea the lead.

The second half saw Chelsea not even feign attacking intention. They defended with a six-man backline and three in front of them, taking away space from Liverpool and daring them to try something audacious to get through.

The closest Liverpool came to scoring was when Joe Allen had a go from 20 yards, hitting a good swerving shot, but Mark Schwarzer got down to make the save. Not even the introduction of Daniel Sturridge could turn things for the Reds. They didn't have a way through Chelsea's nine-man defense and because of Gerrard's mistake, that doomed them to a loss.

Chelsea added one more goal in stoppage time, just to put a bow on the win. Liverpool sent everyone forward in search of an equalizer and when the ball came out to Fernando Torres, Chelsea had a clear path to goal. Torres took the ball right at Simon Mignolet, drawing the goalkeeper before laying it off for Willian, who walked the ball into the goal and that was it for Liverpool.

Liverpool's loss opens them up to being passed by Manchester City. Had they managed seven points from their final three matches, they would have won the league. Now they can win their final two, but if the Citizens win their last four, the title would be decided by goal difference, which City currently lead.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Sakho, Skrtel, Flanagan (Aspas 81'), Gerrard, Lucas (Sturridge 58'), Allen, Suarez, Coutinho, Sterling.

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cole, Azpilicueta, Kalas, Lampard, Mikel, Matic, Schurrle (Cahill 77'), Salah (Willian 60'), Ba (Torres 84').

Goals: Ba (45'), Willian (90')

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