Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday dealt a huge blow to the Reds' title hopes as Jose Mourinho brilliantly orchestrated his side to a hard-fought and hugely significant victory over Brendan Rodgers' men.
But Rodgers was seemingly unimpressed by the tactics employed by Mourinho, as The Guardian's Daniel Taylor tweeted from the post-match press conference:
Rodgers is asked whether he would ever play that way. "What do you think? Jose will show me his CV and say it works but it's not my way."— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) April 27, 2014
So unimpressed it seems that he refused to shake the Portuguese's hand following the clash. The Liverpool Echo's Neil Jones tweeted:
Rodgers says he hasnt shaken hands with Mourinho. Says could see time wasting from first whistle.— Neil Jones (@neiljonesecho) April 27, 2014
And just to make sure that Rodgers' feelings were perfectly clear, he concluded, per Ben Jefferson of The Express:
We were clearly the better side today but congratulations to Chelsea. They won the game. We just couldn't find the breakthrough today.
They were obviously set up really deep. I think it was two buses parked today rather than one but they get the win and unfortunately for us we just couldn't make the breakthrough.
In his press conference, Mourinho continued to dismiss Chelsea's Premier League ambitions after the victory.
Demba Ba's and Willian's strikes were the difference between the sides in a match where Liverpool dominated possession. But Mourinho reaffirmed his status as the Premier League's preeminent tactician and is seemingly keen on replacing Sir Alex Ferguson's as the league's master of psychology.
Speaking to Sky Sports following the match, via BBC Sport, Mourinho said:
Now we can say we won both matches against the champions. If it's Liverpool, we won both. If it's City, we won both. With these three points we need one point to finish third. It was a good season for us and an evolution in many aspects of this team.
The champions will be City or Liverpool so we have nothing to celebrate.
Obviously many people would be expecting us to come here and lose 3-0 or 5-0 like others. Many people think it was impossible to get this result. But the boys had an amazing performance so I'm so happy for them and for the fans. This is the spirit we always want at Chelsea football club.
In the end, it was Ba whose strike sent Chelsea on their way. The Senegalese man has experienced a tumultuous spell at Stamford Bridge following his move from Newcastle, but as the season draws to a close, his goals have proved vital.
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As Liverpool sought that vital equaliser, Willian made the result secure following Torres' break.
For all of his heroics this term, it was Steven Gerrard who was to blame for Ba's opener. The Liverpool skipper, under little pressure, slipped and gifted the ball to Ba, who raced through the 40 yards to goal and slipped the ball under Simon Mignolet.
Ba still had much to do, but it was a cruel turn of events for Gerrard, who has been a bastion of reliability for the Merseyside club this term. The Mirror's Oliver Holt tweeted the reaction of Chelsea fans to the goal; they certainly had little sympathy for the Liverpool skipper:
"Have you ever seen Gerrard win the league?" Chelsea fans sing. Think they're enjoying this a bit.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) April 27, 2014
Liverpool dominated proceedings both before and after the goal with 73 percent of possession and 26 shots, per BBC Sport. But however hard Liverpool huffed and puffed, they could not blow Jose Mourinho's Branislav Ivanovic-enforced house down.
Suarez nearly snatched a point for Liverpool at the end, but his rasping shot was parried over the bar by Mark Schwarzer.
And for all that pressure, it was Chelsea who capitalised. Former Anfield hero Torres surged through the Liverpool half and unselfishly squared the ball to Willian to pass into Simon Mignolet's net and send the Chelsea following into raptures.
Liverpool headed into this clash as the overwhelming bookies' favourite for the league title, but Mourinho made his name overcoming the odds. Chelsea cut down Manchester City earlier in the season, and they did it again here against the Reds.
While they may remain slight favourites for the title, it is now out of Liverpool's hands with Manchester City only six points behind with two games in hand. Chelsea were always likely to pose the greatest challenge in Liverpool's run-in, but similarly, only Everton now realistically stand in City's way.
Should Liverpool and Manchester City win all of their remaining matches, they would both sit on 86 points. And despite Liverpool's phenomenal record in front of goal this season, they would likely lose out on goal difference to Manuel Pellegrini's men.