Liverpool and Chelsea battled it out at Anfield in what was as close to a title decider as could be, with the Reds top of the table by five points with just three games remaining before the start of play.
At half-time, the scoreline was 0-1, with the away side ahead right on the stroke of half-time. Demba Ba scored the goal after a slip from Steven Gerrard in his own half of the pitch. Liverpool attacked for the entirety of the second half, but another injury time goal from Willian wrapped up the scoring for a 2-0 Chelsea win.
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First half quick analysis
Liverpool started with a 4-3-3, playing Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling wide in attack. The latter was particularly involved early on, looking to get one-on-one with Ashley Cole whenever possible.
Steven Gerrard was both a destructive and creative presence in the centre, looking to spread play wide and change the tempo whenever possible, but also winning the ball numerous times—though it was his slip which allowed Chelsea to score the opener.
A number of times the Reds tried to play out quickly from goal kicks to bypass the stubborn Chelsea midfield, but Suarez and Sakho were off target with the best chances which fell their way.
Chelsea began by simply obstructing play at every opportunity, from delaying set pieces and Mourinho holding the ball to stop Liverpool taking quick throw-ins, to nobody moving to the ball to take their own throws. Clearly, the fast usual start from Liverpool was a tactic which bothered the London side.
That continued for the duration of the half, to the frustration of the home players and fans.
The away side's best chances of attack came from Ba holding up the ball and allowing the pace of the two wide forwards to support from the channels.
Second half quick analysis
Liverpool came out of the blocks determined to keep the tempo of the game up, with the likes of Johnson and Sterling quick to run at their opponents. However, the rapid exchange of passes wasn't there and that was arguably what they needed to get through Chelsea's packed back line.
The away side sat back in two blocks, clearly comfortable to invite pressure and look to counter-attack—and with the league's best away defensive record, no wonder they were happy with that tactic. Joe Allen's volley and Suarez's chip troubled Schwarzer, but both were from outside the box, leading to the introduction of the more direct striker Daniel Sturridge.
That sub meant Liverpool returned to a diamond shape in the middle, with two up front, while Chelsea remained with their rigid 4-5-1, moving to a flat 4-3-3 when in possession.
It didn't bring the Reds better movement though, which was what was required in the face of such consistent and stubborn opposition.
In the end it was another injury time slip which led to the only other goal of the game, Willian putting the finishing touches on a late counter.
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