Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea 
(Sky Sports)
Last-Gasp Reds Head Premiership
Vladimir Smicer
Smicer: Injury time winner for title chasers


Liverpool  1-0 Chelsea
Smicer 90     
FA Barclaycard Premiership

Alex Sharratt reports

Vladimir Smicer crashed home a superb injurey-time volley to catapult Liverpool to the top of the Premiership after a tense clash against Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday.

The Czech midfielder - on as a first-half substitute for the injured Stephen Gerrard - got on the end of an excellent Emile Heskey cross to score with a sweet right-foot shot at keep Liverpool's title race on track.

The victory leaves Liverpool a point ahead of Manchester United and with a two point advantage over Arsenal, though the London club have two games in hand over their northern rivals.

But Chelsea will be rueing several spurned chances as their much-lauded strike duo of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink failed to to hit the form that had made them the most feared pair in the Premiership.

The Anfield celebrations will be slightly subdued with the news that key midfielder Gerrard has stretched a groin muscle and his doubtful for England's friendly against Italy on Wednesday evening.

The result massively undermines Chelsea's Champions League ambitions, but they only have themselves to blame after creating several clear chances to breach Jerzy Dudek's goal.

Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen and pacey winger Jesper Gronkjaer all shot wide when excellently placed as the London club looked to complete their first double over Liverpool in more than 80 years.

The best two chances of the match fell to their prolific Dutch striker, Hasselbaink first blasting high after Dudek had brilliantly parried Mario Stanic's first-half shot and then chipping over three minutes from time.

Liverpool, jaded from their momentous midweek European exertions or simply anxious over the magnitude of the occasion, had to wait until the final 20 minutes to really threaten.

Nicolas Anelka had a goal rightly ruled out for off-side and John Arne Riise cracked a powerful drive straight at Carlo Cudicini as the drive began to return to Liverpool's play.

Michael Owen - on as a late substitute - also looked sharp and forced a neat low save from Cudicini and had a jinking run halted in the penalty area by William Gallas.

But the most significant moment of the game - and perhaps the title race - was saved for the final moments when Smicer ghosted in to the penalty box to side-foot past Chelsea's Italian keeper and send the Anfield faithful wild.

Liverpool: Dudek, Xavier (Owen 57), Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard (Smicer 28), Riise, Heskey, Anelka (Litmanen 83).
Subs Not Used: Arphexad, McAllister.
Booked: Carragher.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro, Stanic, Lampard, Petit, Gronkjaer, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen (Zola 82).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Dalla Bona, Terry, Forssell.
Booked: Babayaro.

Att: 44,203
Ref: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City)

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