Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea: Costa seals comeback win for leaders

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LIVERPOOL — Premier League leaders Chelsea fell behind early on to Liverpool but surged  back to secure an impressive 2-1 win at Anfield on Saturday.

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Liverpool took the lead less than 10 minutes in as Emre Can’s deflected effort found the back of the net. However Chelsea stayed calm and equalized in the first half through Gary Cahill, as his effort was adjudged to have crossed the line by the goal-decision system.

After the break Chelsea dominated the play and took the lead with just over 20 minutes left as Diego Costa bagged the game-winner after good work from Cesar Azpilicueta.

With their victory Chelsea remain top of the PL, unbeaten and on 29 points. Liverpool are on 14 points, as they are now five games without a win in all competitions.

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The home side started brightly and inside the first minute Can broke up the play in midfield and drove forward before hitting a deflected effort which looped just wide.

In the ninth minute Can’s next deflected effort flew in as the German international moved into acres of space and his powerful drive deflected off Gary Cahill and in. Anfield erupted as Liverpool took a deserved 1-0 lead early on.

Chelsea were level after 14 minutes as Cesc Fabregas’s corner was headed towards goal by John Terry and despite Simon Mignolet making a great save, Cahill bundled home the rebound as the goal-decision system was used by referee Anthony Taylor. 1-1.

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Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed.

The Blues got plenty of confidence from that equalizer as Eden Hazard surged forward from the right but dragged his effort just wide. Midway through the half Liverpool almost went back ahead as Coutinho raced clear from inside his own half and forced Courtois into a smart stop down low which Branislav Ivanovic hacked clear. Before half time Liverpool were slack in possession on several occasions and Chelsea failed to make them pay as Hazard was twice played in at the back post but saw efforts blocked by Glen Johnson on both occasions, as the score was level at the break.

After the break Chelsea looked the more dangerous team as Hazard clipped a ball in to Costa which the Spanish international acrobatically volleyed over the bar. In the 52nd minute there was a rare break forward for Liverpool as Sterling cut inside but his shot was well-saved by Courtois.

Apart from that Chelsea bossed possession as the game threatened to boil over after several rash challenges. In the 67th minute the Blues went ahead as Azpilicueta surged down the left, withsome debate over whether or not he kept the ball in play, skipped passed Coutinho and his cross was tipped away by Mignolet but the ball deflected off Moreno and straight to Costa who drilled home his 10th PL goal of the season.

Rodgers was lambasted by large sections of the home crowd for taking off Can and Coutinho for the final 20 minutes. Late on the Liverpool pushed for an equalizer but Chelsea’s players chucked themselves in front of everything — including Cahill with what looked like a handball in the box — as Mourinho’s men extended their lead at the top.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Lovren Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Can (Allen, 70′), Henderson; Sterling, Coutinho (Borini, 70′), Balotelli (Lambert, 79′)

Goal: Can (9′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Ramires (Willian, 54′), Oscar, Hazard (Filipe Luis, 90′); Diego Costa (Drogba, 89′)

Goals: Cahill, (14′), Costa (67′)