LIVERPOOL: Chelsea blew the Premier League title race open with a tactically inspired 2-0 win over leaders Liverpool at Anfield.
Liverpool, looking for their first championship in 24 years, now rely on Manchester City to slip up in their remaining fixtures to capture their first Premier League crown.
Demba Ba capitalised on a Steven Gerrard slip just before half-time to give Jose Mourinho’s side the lead. The home side dominated possession but struggled against an organised and stubborn Chelsea defence. Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Luis Suarez all tested goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer but failed to convert.
The win was sealed for Chelsea in stoppage time when former Liverpool player Fernando Torres ran clear and set up Willian to walk in the second.
Liverpool went into the match five points clear of Chelsea at the top of the league. Now though the gap is just two points, (with Manchester City three points behind with a game in hand. Manuel Pellegrini’s side overcame Crystal Palace later on Sunday.)
Just two games remain for Liverpool and Chelsea. Brendan Rodgers’ side face Crystal Palace and Newcastle, while Chelsea take on Norwich and Cardiff. Both teams will be favourites in their respective clashes.
Now though the title is in the hands of Manchester City who boast the best goal difference in the division. Should they win their remaining matches, the Premier League will almost certainly return to the blue side of Manchester.
Rodgers was clearly frustrated with Chelsea’s tactics, just as his side were. Following the match he said “”There were probably two buses parked today instead of one. Jose has got his result today, credit to [Chelsea]. Its the opposite of how we want to play. It’s not difficult to coach, ten players in the 18-yard box.”
Mourinho, meanwhile, was reluctant to believe his team were back in the title race:
“No, we’re back in nothing. In this moment we are almost third” he said.
“Yesterday with Everton in fifth we were automatically qualified for the Champions League but fourth was still a possibility. Now with these three points we need one point to finish third.
“It was a good season for us. There was an evolution in many aspects of this team. And now champions are only one and the champions will be City or Liverpool. So we have nothing to celebrate but we can say that we finished third and we can say we won both matches against the champion.”