Chelsea v Liverpool player ratings

Chelsea responded to going an early goal down with a superb performance to beat Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Here’s how we rated the players in their 2-1 victory.

Petr Cech: 7
Failed to equal Peter Bonetti’s club record for clean sheets but could do little about the goal due to the unfortunate bounce off Branislav Ivanovic. Took the sting out of Joe Allen’s firmly-struck first-half shot and made a good save from Glen Johnson after the break.

Branislav Ivanovic: 6
His long-awaited duel with Luis Suarez lasted just 30 minutes as he was forced off with a knee injury. Failed to deal with the free-kick that led to Liverpool’s goal, perhaps distracted by the Uruguayan’s attentions.

Gary Cahill: 9
An outstanding display from the England centre-back, who kept Suarez quiet throughout – a good omen for the World Cup maybe? His beautifully timed tackle to deny Allen a shooting opportunity was the highlight of one of his best Chelsea performances.

John Terry: 8
Decisive, determined and strong in the air, the skipper – on his 600th appearance for the club – excelled to keep Liverpool at bay. At times he overdid the combative side – he was fortunate not to concede a penalty for climbing on Suarez and was booked for a flailing arm.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 8
Ashley Cole’s future will continue to hang in the balance all the while the Spaniard puts in performances such as this. He switched to right-back when Cole replaced Ivanovic and got forward more as a result, playing his part in Samuel Eto’o’s goal when his cross found Oscar inside the box.

David Luiz: 8
Calm, collected and composed – everything the Brazilian sometimes isn’t. Anchoring the midfield is arguably his best role, given his love of getting forward.

Frank Lampard: 7
Began well and was at the heart of most of Chelsea’s first-half attacks, bringing a fine save out of Simon Mignolet. However, he picked up an injury and didn’t come out for the second half.

Willian: 7
Looked fitter and fresher than those around him and troubled Liverpool with his direct running at times, but also drifted in and out of the game and gave the ball away too often.

Oscar: 8
A typically busy display from the diminutive Brazilian, who had a hand in both goals and came close to grabbing one himself. Fortunately teed up Hazard with a wall pass off Mamadou Sakho but his assist for Eto’o’s winner was far more deliberate. Blotted his copybook with a late lunge on Lucas.

Eden Hazard: 8
Popped up on both flanks, even though he was detailed to play on the right to torment stand-in left-back Daniel Agger. Scored a fabulous goal to bring Chelsea level and had his bright moments but also ran into traffic occasionally.

Samuel Eto’o: 7
Fortunate to escape further punishment for a rash challenge on Jordan Henderson, with the resultant free-kick converted by Martin Skrtel. Turned a draw into a win by getting onto the end of Oscar’s cross but squandered a chance to extend the Blues’ lead.

Ashley Cole: 7
Came on for Ivanovic and was steady if unspectacular at the back. Understandably cautious in only his second Premier League appearance since November 2.

John Obi Mikel: 6
Replaced the injured Lampard at half-time and added solidity to Chelsea’s midfield as they soaked up Liverpool pressure.

Despite taking an early lead, they struggled to get a foothold in the game in the first half. Vast improvement after the break, when they were the better side, but Suarez was well marked and without Daniel Sturridge they lacked the pace to get in behind Chelsea’s back four. A look at the two benches underlines Brendan Rodgers’ problem – Chelsea brought on three experienced internationals, Liverpool ended up giving a debut to teenager Brad Smith.

Man of the match

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