Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to move up to third place in the Premier League, and consigned Liverpool to consecutive defeats.
The Reds had taken the lead through Martin Skrtel after only four minutes, but goals from the excellent Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o secured a valuable three points for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Luis Suarez failed to get on the score-sheet, and was incensed by two failed penalty appeals, with Howard Webb’s performance surely to come under scrutiny in the aftermath.
Chelsea Player Ratings:
Petr Cech: 7/10
Helpless for the Liverpool goal, but made an excellent save from Allen soon after. Solid and commanding throughout.
Branislav Ivanovic: N/A
Taken off early on with an injury. His replacement, Ashley Cole, took up the left-back role, and pushed forward with intent. Liverpool’s right side performed well on the day, but Cole was equal to it.
Gary Cahill: 8/10
A superb last ditch challenge denied Liverpool a second goal in the first half; Cahill did exceptionally well under some intense Liverpool pressure.
John Terry: 7/10
Led by example, was calm and collected, and kept Suarez quiet for the 90.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8/10
Brave and tenacious throughout, the Spaniard did well in the buildup to the second Chelsea goal; the Spaniard also ruined Brad Smith’s Liverpool debut with a dominant second half display.
David Luiz: 7/10
A rare deployment in central midfield, the Brazilian increased the tempo of the Blues’ play exponentially in the first half.
The maverick defender clearly provides more options than the sluggish Mikel in the midfield, and seemed to really relish the role.
Frank Lampard: 6/10
Only lasted a half, as he went off with a muscular injury at half time. The England international had an decent 45 however, but his replacement, Mikel, was a poor deputy.
Dull and uninspired from the Nigerian once again, his lack of ambition from the heart of midfield was detrimental to the tempo of the game.
Eden Hazard: 8/10
Another fantastic performance from the young Belgian. Hazard cracked in the equaliser from range, bamboozled the Liverpool defence throughout, and was the best attacker for the Blues.
Was integral in creating the two Chelsea goals in the first half, and showed real defensive ability on more than one occasion.
Lucky not be sent off with a mistimed challenge near the end, but an excellent display overall from the youngster.
Great showing from the wiry Brazilian. Tracked back and defended very well. A strong, pacey display.
Samuel Eto’o: 5/10
Grabbed a scrappy goal in the first half, but was guilty of missing a glorious chance to put the game to bed, and was lucky not to have given away a penalty after a bizarre push on Suarez late on.
Taken off for Fernando Torres with five to go, and the Spaniard almost scored spectacularly after coming in from the left.
Liverpool Player Ratings:
Simon Mignolet: 6/10
Great save from Frank Lampard in the first half, but may have done better with Eto’o’s goal.
Glen Johnson: 6/10
A real threat coming forward, but struggled with the pace of Chelsea’s attacking trio. Came off late for Iago Aspas, who made no impact.
Martin Skrtel: 7/10
A powerful defensive display, and scored the opening goal. You can’t ask much more than that.
Daniel Agger: 6/10
Solid enough, and did well to contain Eto’o for most of the game. Was a leader in the defence despite having spent some time out of the first XI.
Mamadou Sakho: 6/10
Hit the bar with a guided header, and pitched in well in defence. Oddly swapped shirts with Eto’o at half-time, not something that would have impressed the manager or the fans!
Came off for Kolo Toure very late on.
The anchorman for the Reds was pinned back by the attacking thrust of the Chelsea attack, and was given little time on the ball. Had his work cut out.
Joe Allen: 5/10
Another unconvincing display from the Welshman. Came off for debutant Brad Smith, who tried hard, but was well-shackled.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
Tried his best to win the midfield battle, but was often overrun by the inventive Chelsea attack. Wasn’t able to linkup with Luis Suarez anywhere near enough, as the frantic pace of the game took its toll.
Lively and creative in the first half, but lost his way somewhat in the second. Still a real talent, the Brazilian put in a few teasing crosses.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
I was impressed with the young Englishman on the right hand side. Certainly the best outlet on the flanks for Liverpool, but didn’t quite have enough power to wriggle free and release his striker.
Luis Suarez: 5/10
Hacked to pieces by the Chelsea back-line/midfield/strike force. Had two penalty shouts turned down by the ref, and only had one tame volley from the edge of the box.
He will feel mightily aggrieved, but Chelsea dealt with him in the only way they could.
What do you think? Agree with the ratings? Let me know in the comments below…