Premier League

Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport
Samuel Eto'o celebrates

Chelsea end the year just two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal after an impressive performance against a Liverpool side which has now suffered successive league defeats.

The visitors were ahead within three minutes as Martin Skrtel tapped in.

But parity was restored when Eden Hazard rifled in from distance.

Chelsea deservedly went ahead before the break when a Samuel Eto'o shot crept underneath Simon Mignolet, though the visitors had chances to level.

Eto'o foul not a penalty - Mourinho

A Mamadou Sakho header struck the crossbar, while Luis Suarez was denied what seemed like two strong penalty appeals with first John Terry and then Eto'o impeding the striker.

The last time these two sides met, Suarez, in the words of manager Brendan Rodgers, reached the lowest point in his career. The Uruguayan's rehabilitation since he bit Branislav Ivanovic's arm in April has been remarkable, with the striker scoring 19 goals this season.

But Chelsea shackled Liverpool's chief tormentor in a performance which saw the Londoners outmuscle and overpower their opponents.

Rodgers' side, who topped the table on Christmas Day, are now in fifth after defeats and Chelsea, and the Merseysiders must hope Rodgers can guide his team to victory over Hull on New Year's Day to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish.

Liverpool could not have wished for a better start as Skrtel side-footed in at the near post. The defender reacted quicker than anyone in a blue shirt as Suarez nodded on Philippe Coutinho's free-kick.

It was a free-kick awarded for a clumsy shin-high tackle by Eto'o on Jordan Henderson. The striker was fortunate to escape without further punishment and, to Liverpool's annoyance, he would later go on to make his presence felt in a number of ways.

Chelsea's response to going behind was to surge forward relentlessly.

Gary Cahill went a fraction wide with a bullet of a header, Hazard had a penalty appeal turned down, while an acrobatic save from Mignolet prevented Frank Lampard from finding the top corner.

The hosts were dominating the midfield and there was a sense of inevitability about Hazard's leveller. Although, arguably, the visitors could have cleared the danger as Oscar's pass ricocheted off Sakho's shin and fell kindly to the Belgian, who clinically found the top corner for his eighth goal of the season.

Liverpool still challengers - Rodgers

Hazard's virtuosity combined with the ballast provided by Lampard, David Luiz and Willian in the middle of the pitch forced Liverpool into uncharacteristic rash passes.

A second goal was no more than Chelsea deserved, with Oscar's cut back finding Eto'o, though Liverpool's goalkeeper should have dealt better with the Cameroonian's first-time shot across the goal.

The first half belonged to Chelsea, but, after the break, the visitors showed glimpses of the effervescence which had seen them score 13 goals in their last four games.

Sakho directed Jordan Henderson's chipped pass towards the woodwork, a Suarez half-volley forced Petr Cech into action and then came the first penalty appeal as John Terry clambered on top of Suarez.

In between a flurry of Liverpool chances, Mignolet came to his team's rescue, preventing Eto'o from grabbing his second of the match, but it was the visitors who finished the stronger.

An alert Cech dived low to stop Glen Johnson's dipping strike and, as the game neared a conclusion, Eto'o was fortunate to escape punishment after needlessly making contact with Suarez inside the box.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Cech
  • 2IvanovicSubstituted forColeat 30'minutes
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 8LampardSubstituted forMikelat 45'minutes
  • 24CahillBooked at 79mins
  • 26TerryBooked at 47mins
  • 17E Hazard
  • 4David LuizBooked at 50mins
  • 29Eto'oSubstituted forTorresat 87'minutes
  • 11OscarBooked at 90mins
  • 22Willian


  • 3Cole
  • 5Essien
  • 9Torres
  • 10Mata
  • 12Mikel
  • 14Schürrle
  • 23Schwarzer


Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2JohnsonBooked at 40minsSubstituted forIago Aspasat 83'minutes
  • 5Agger
  • 21Leiva
  • 37Skrtel
  • 17SakhoSubstituted forK Touréat 90'minutes
  • 24AllenSubstituted forB Smithat 60'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 7Suárez
  • 31Sterling
  • 10Coutinho


  • 1Jones
  • 4K Touré
  • 6Romero Alconchel
  • 9Iago Aspas
  • 20Cissokho
  • 44B Smith
  • 46Rossiter
Howard Webb

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

  3. Booking

    Oscar (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

  5. Post update

    Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Kolo Touré replaces Mamadou Sakho because of an injury.

  9. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  10. Post update

    Delay in match Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

  12. Post update

    César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

  14. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Fernando Torres replaces Samuel Eto'o.

  16. Post update

    Delay in match Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea) because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

  18. Post update

    Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Iago Aspas replaces Glen Johnson.

  20. Post update

    David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

2Man City19132454213341
6Man Utd19104532221034
13Aston Villa195591825-720
15West Brom193972227-518
17Crystal Palace1951131228-1616
19West Ham1936101828-1015
View full Premier League table

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