SHAFAQNA- Diego Costa scored the winner as Chelsea maintained their grip of the Premier League title race with a 2-1 victory at Liverpool.
Dropped by Spain on Friday to allow him to recover from a string of nagging injuries, Costa started at Anfield and drove home his 10th league goal of the season in the 67th minute after Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross was parried out.
Chelsea had to come from behind to secure a ninth victory in 11 games after German midfielder Emre Can scored for Liverpool from a deflected shot in the ninth minute.
Gary Cahill equalised with a scrappy goal from a corner in the 14th.
Liverpool have now lost three successive games in all competitions and trail Chelsea by a huge 15 points.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers restored a host of the first-team players controversially rested for the midweek loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League and saw his team go ahead early on.
Can had a shot deflected over by John Terry in the first minute, but Chelsea did not heed the warning and when he took aim from similar range moments later, the ball cannoned off Cahill and into the net.
But within five minutes Chelsea were level, after a goal that required the aid of goal-line technology.
Simon Mignolet parried from Terry at a corner and although the Liverpool goalkeeper got his body fully behind Cahill’s follow-up, Hawk-Eye replays showed that the Belgian had carried the ball over the line.
While Chelsea finished the first half strongly, they were indebted to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for getting down sharply to thwart Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling either side of half-time.
Having been embroiled in a physical tussle with Martin Skrtel for much of the game, Costa provided a reminder of his predatory instincts to settle the game in the 67th minute.
After eluding Coutinho on the Chelsea left, Azpilicueta saw his cross pushed out by Mignolet, but Costa was in the right place to rattle a half-volley into the net from close range.
There was late controversy when Liverpool had a late penalty appeal turned down after a shot from Gerrard hit Cahill on the arm.
Ruud Gullit’s verdict
Jose Mourinho was looking for a replacement for Didier Drogba and has found it in Diego Costa. His foundation is good and that is of course the defence. It looks so strong. Therefore the other players in midfield and the strikers have the ability to do whatever they like. On the moment they need to defend a victory they can – and easily. That is good. I can see already a different Chelsea from previous years because they also do a lot of work without the ball. They try to get the ball back as quickly as possible. Sometimes in the second half I think they should do a little bit more – but why should they? If they win away then why?
source : http://www1.skysports.com/football/live/match/313488