Chelsea silence Anfield with stunning win

Liverpool 0 Chelsea 2

Goals from Demba Ba and Willian gave Chelsea a stunning victory at Anfield and threw the title race wide open.

Ba, the match-winner in recent games against Swansea and Paris St-Germain, pounced after a mistake by Steven Gerrard just before half-time, scoring after the Liverpool skipper had slipped.

And substitute Willian netted in injury time after being teed up for a tap-in by former Reds striker Fernando Torres.

A victory against the Blues would have moved the Premier League leaders to the verge of their first title for 24 years.

But Chelsea’s win moved them to within two points of Brendan Rodgers’ side – and means third-placed Manchester City can be crowned champions by winning their remaining matches.

Chelsea had to absorb first-half pressure as their opponents looked to make their now trademark fast start.

Philippe Coutinho missed a decent chance for Liverpool, hitting the side-netting after being found by Luis Suarez, while Mamadou Sakho blazed over the Chelsea bar before Suarez narrowly missed the target after Ashley Cole gave the ball away.

Tomas Kalas of Chelsea
Young defender Kalas was superb on his Premier League debut

But the visitors not only stopped Liverpool scoring in the first half for the first time in 26 matches, they had the best opportunites and might have had a penalty before going ahead.

Cole, who has never scored under Jose Mourinho, brought a good save from keeper Simon Mignolet with a stinging 25-yard shot.

And Chelsea felt they should have been awarded a spot-kick when Mohamed Salah’s shot struck the hand of left-back John Flanagan.

Chelsea boss Mourinho, without the injured Petr Cech, John Terry, Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o, as well as the suspended Ramires, named Gary Cahill among his substitutes and gave Czech defender Tomas Kalas, 20, a full debut.

Kalas impressed and had a great chance just before the opening goal, glancing a header wide when found by Frank Lampard’s corner.

But Ba made no mistake, calmly slotting home his fifth goal in eight matches.

Former Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, who has been nursing a hamstring problem, was brought off the bench just before the hour mark as the Merseysiders went in search of an equaliser.

They would have found one had stand-in keeper Mark Schwarzer not produced a fine save to stop Joe Allen’s volley.

However,  they struggled to create chances before a glorious opportunity fell to Suarez courtesy of Coutinho’s cross, but the Uruguayan was unable to apply the finish and then, in the final minute, was denied by another Schwarzer save.

With Liverpool pushing forward they were inevitably vulnerable on the counter-attack.

Their fate might have been sealed by Torres, who was through on goal but instead opted to give Willian the simple task of scoring into an empty net.

Chelsea: Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Kalas, Cole; Lampard, Mikel, Matic; Salah (Willian 61), Ba (Torres 84), Schurrle (Cahill 77)
Subs not used: Hilario, Ake, Van Ginkel, Baker.

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