Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3

Ramires opened the scoring early on in Saturday’s lunchtime match but the visitors levelled on the stroke of half-time and then made the best of their attacks later in the game.

The Brazilian’s third goal of the season for the Blues was followed by a keenly contested and evenly balanced first half, but when Philippe Coutinho netted the first of his two goals seconds before the interval, there was again the feeling that little is going our way at the present time. That was added to later on when Liverpool midfield Lucas escaped a second yellow card.

Chelsea had our best attacking spell after the interval although an audacious Oscar attempt from near halfway was the closest we came to another goal. Liverpool took the points with a second quality strike from Coutinho and a late goal from substitute Christian Benteke.

Of the two players who had fitness tests on the morning of the game, Diego Costa passed his and so was able to make his 50th Chelsea appearance, whereas Pedro did not.

Oscar, who was back in the starting line-up at Stoke, retained his place with Eden Hazard and Willian also in the line-up.

John Mikel Obi, another who returned to the side midweek, continued alongside Ramires in midfield, whereas the defence was the one that played at West Ham in last weekend’s league match.

For Liverpool, there was one change from their previous league outing, a draw with Southampton at Anfield. Roberto Firmino, who earned praise from his manager Jurgen Klopp for his contribution in their midweek cup game, played as a mobile striker instead of Divock Origi, with Benteke on the bench.

The Chelsea players, with poppies on their shirts following on from a Remembrance banner being carried across the Matthew Harding Stand before kick-off, began the game in a similar shape to Tuesday night at Stoke, with Hazard in a central positon and Oscar wider on the left.

However it was the other man selected to operate down that flank, Cesar Azpilicueta, who supplied the ammunition for the Blues to take such an early lead at a sun-baked Bridge.

The ball had been down the Liverpool end for a short period when our left-back was found in enough space to send over a cross. It was perfect for Ramires to meet near the back post without really needing to leap. The new contract man’s downward header into the net with only three minutes played was just what Stamford Bridge ordered.


‘Jose Mourinho’ sung the Chelsea support loud and clear immediately after the celebrations and a Willian free-kick, headed back across goal by John Terry, was almost turned in by Mikel as we looked to hammer home the advantage.

The foul had been by Lucas, who repeated the offence on eight minutes on Diego Costa but was only spoken to by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Nathaniel Clyne dragged an effort wide for Liverpool and Terry and Cahill blocked shots before Asmir Begovic fielded the ball as Liverpool came more into the game, but as the Blues began to put pressure on the Reds inside their own half once more, one of the visiting players did receive the first yellow card when Coutinho crudely dragged back Willian midway through the half.

Not long after, Emre Can painfully went through Willian in a failed attempt to get to a ball they were both chasing, but again just words from the ref followed. It would not be the only foul on the Brazilian.

It proved to be a fast-paced and engaging first-half encounter, although with both defences playing well, it had been limited to just two really good chances as the interval approached, one taken by Chelsea and one not.

Into stoppage time, the Blues couldn’t quite make their passes link up when they threatened a breakaway attack which allowed the Anfield team one more advance.

Earlier on a first-time Adam Lallana shot had been matched by Lucas’s header in being comfortable for Begovic, but this time Coutinho produced a curling strike good enough to beat any keeper. The question though was where had the extra seconds added on to the signalled stoppage time come from, that allowed enough time for the goal to be scored?

Oscar and Willian made good early advances for Chelsea at the restart, but then Gary Cahill misplaced a back header that led to a Liverpool corner, that he atoned with the required clearance. All was set for more of a finely-balanced contest.

However with Chelsea needing to show more when it came to cutting through the Liverpool back-line, Kenedy was introduced with 58 minutes played. Hazard was the player withdrawn. Ninety seconds later the substitute was slipped in by Diego Costa on the left and shot wide of the near post. It was a hopeful start for the 19-year-old.

Willian was found in space down the other flank and supplied Ramires for a shot that was blocked as Chelsea began to rediscover our spark.

Can was carded for a tug-back on Willian. Lucas had been booked earlier in the half for a late challenge on Mikel.

From the free-kick Can gave away, Zouma won a header but Liverpool cleared. We were continuing on the front foot, although Mikel became our first booking for a foul on Lallana.

Quite rightly, our midfielder and many others were asking why Lucas, already on a yellow, was not shown another for a foul just as bad moments later. Fabregas came on for Mikel who came off to good applause.

With 20 minutes to go, Oscar very nearly added to his collection of special Chelsea goals when he tried to beat the advanced Simon Mignolet from 10 yards inside the Liverpool half. It needed an acrobatic save to keep the ball out.

Sickeningly for the Blues, Liverpool took the lead with their next attack. Coutinho was the scorer again, from similar range to his first goal as he worked space just inside the box with clever footwork wide of Cahill, and this time hitting the target via a deflection.

It took a Begovic save with his foot to deny Liverpool a quick third before the Blues went in search of an equaliser.