LIVERPOOL — Chelsea looked calm, composed and mature as they dispatched a fired up Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
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Jose Mourinho’s men went behind early to a deflected Emre Can effort but failed to panic as they worked their way back into the game with goals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa, and recorded a ninth win in 11 games to start the season.
Talk of Chelsea going the entire season unbeaten is rife. They have now played away at Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City and have won two and given up late equalizers in the others.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Mourinho was asked if his team can go unbeaten.
“No. I think it is possible to be champion,” Mourinho said bluntly. “We put ourselves in the line immediately before the season started that we are title contenders and that we wanted to play for that. But in modern football and especially in the Premier League. I don’t believe in an unbeaten run.”
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That said, 11 games without defeat and another steady defensive display showed the class and poise Mourinho’s team have in abundance. Going back to their 2-0 win at Anfield at the end of last season, the West Londoners have grown enormously as a team. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic locked down the midfield, while Cahill and John Terry dealt with every ball which came into the box. Up top Eden Hazard and Oscar were trying their best to create and Costa bullied Liverpool’s defense. Chelsea are the real deal and this display in the cauldron of a seething Anfield stadium proved how far they’ve come over the past six months.
Chelsea are now the team Mourinho wanted to create when he returned to Stamford Bridge in 2013. The Portuguese boss agrees that his team is in a good place.
“It is a good start and I believe that my time can keep the stability, even if we lost matches,” Mourinho said. “If we lose today here, I think my team is the same. One day we will lose, and the next game we will win again. In this moment we are a stable team But I’ve been in the game so long that I know the negative moment will arrive. The defeat will arrive, I know that. We are prepared for that. The team is strong, confident.”
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As for the comeback victory at Anfield, Mourinho hailed Fabregas and Ramires for playing with injuries and admitted they will certainly miss games coming up. He also proclaimed that Diego Costa is “back” and that the Spanish international has benefited after having a spell on the sidelines to fully recover from injury.
“Fantastic performance. It was an expression of our ambition,” Mourinho said of his teams display. “Especially second half against Liverpool at Anfield. Every team accepts the point as a good result. My team didn’t accept it. They way they played in the second half was an expression of that ambition, confidence and self belief they have at this moment. I think it was a fantastic performance.”
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That fantastic performance extended Chelsea’s lead to 15 points over Liverpool as they are on 29 points at the summit of the Premier League. When asked, Mourinho stopped short of saying Liverpool were out of the title race. Instead, he focused on the pack of talented teams piling up underneath his, and insisted that the PL’s runaway leaders aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“In England every match is difficult. You can lose points in every match,” Mourinho said. “After that it’s not just about Liverpool. It’s about Man City. It’s Man United. It’s Arsenal. It’s Tottenham. It’s Southampton. We already played the four matches in Manchester and Liverpool, United, City, Everton and Liverpool. We already played four very difficult matches away. But it is the beginning of November. There’s a long way to go.”