Stephen Gerrard’s slip led to Chelsea’s first goal in the 45th minute. (© Getty)
In a battle between a home side committed to attack and visitors intent only on defending, the latter triumphed, which may not have made for a good spectacle, but Chelsea – and Manchester City – will not be complaining.
Much has been made of this being the season when Reds captain Steven Gerrard ends his long wait for a championship medal, so it was cruel that his mistake led to Demba Ba’s crucial opening goal in first-half injury time – which was only added on because of the visitors’ persistent time-wasting.
Substitute Willian scored a breakaway second in the final seconds of the game to seal the victory.
In January Jose Mourinho criticised West Ham for playing a game from the “19th century”, but the Portuguese brought to Merseyside his own unique brand of defensive football – and then some – as they slowed the game at every opportunity.
It was a classic Mourinho destruction and frustration ploy which infuriated Liverpool so much Gerrard engaged in a bit of push and shove with the Chelsea boss in trying to get the ball back into play and Suarez stood to applaud goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer’s time-wasting early in the game.
While victory took Chelsea within two points of their rivals at the top of the table, the ones to really benefit were third-placed City, who still with a match in hand on both the teams above them have replaced Liverpool as favourites for the title.