Liverpool - An untimely slip by Steven Gerrard inadvertently helped Chelsea claim
a 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday
that reignited their title ambitions.
The Liverpool captain lost
his footing in first-half injury time, enabling Demba Ba to run through
and score, with Willian adding a late second as Jose Mourinho's side
moved to within two points of the summit.
The result brought
Liverpool's 11-game winning streak to an end and although it resurrected
Chelsea's title chances, the chief beneficiaries could be Manchester
City can move level on points with Liverpool by winning
their two games in hand, and with a superior goal difference -- +56 to
+50 -- Manuel Pellegrini's team have an advantage.
City were due
to visit Crystal Palace later on Sunday. They play their final game in
hand, at home to Aston Villa, in the week before the final weekend of
City and Chelsea both play before Liverpool next
weekend, with the former visiting Everton and the latter hosting Norwich
City before Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool travel to Palace on the Monday.
who travelled separately from his squad because he is ill, will now
turn his attention to Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg
against Atletico Madrid, with the tie in the balance at 0-0.
was already simmering when Luis Garcia, scorer of the decisive goal
when these sides met in the 2005 Champions League semi-finals, was
paraded to fans before kick-off, raising the noise levels even further.
had made seven changes to his starting XI, awarding a full debut to
20-year-old Czech centre-back Tamas Kalas, and the visitors set out to
spoil the game right from kick-off.
They were dallying over
free-kicks within minutes of the whistle being blown, while Gerrard at
one point had to wrench the ball from Mourinho's grasp as the Chelsea
manager attempted to prevent a quick throw-in.- Gerrard's nightmare moment -
Chelsea were the first side to threaten, however, with home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet obliged to parry a shot from Ashley Cole.
the other end, Luis Suarez teed up Philippe Coutinho to volley into the
side-netting and then found Mamadou Sakho with a drilled cross, only
for the Frenchman to hoist the ball over the bar from close range.
also curled an effort over, but Chelsea finished the half strongly, and
after the unmarked Kalas had headed badly wide from a corner, Gerrard's
nightmare moment let the visitors in.
After letting a pass from
Sakho run under his foot, the England captain slipped as he tried to
recover. As Anfield gasped, Ba stole in, racing through and calmly
threading the ball past Mignolet.
Liverpool resumed their assault
on the Chelsea goal after the interval, but a deflected Gerrard effort
that Mark Schwarzer saved easily was the best they could muster in the
Rodgers responded by sending on the fit-again Daniel
Sturridge and Schwarzer was obliged to exert himself fully moments
later, plunging to his left to repel a Joe Allen volley.
however, carried a threat on the counter-attack and it took a fine
one-handed save by Mignolet to prevent Andre Schurrle from making it
Allen and Gerrard each saw long-range efforts saved by
Schwarzer, while the Liverpool captain could only plant a header
straight at the goalkeeper from Suarez's dinked cross.
one last chance in injury time, when a punch from Schwarzer fell
straight to him, but the goalkeeper palmed the Uruguayan's shot away.
had the last word, with Fernando Torres racing clear and unselfishly
teeing up fellow substitute Willian for an easy tap-in that Mourinho
celebrated by thumping his chest on the touchline.