Reds Kop A Hiding From Blues (Sky Sports)
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 4
Chelsea moved nine points clear at the top of The Premiership as Didier Drogba inspired them to a resounding 4-1 win over Liverpool.
The reigning champions made it eight wins from eight this season with an impressive performance to record their third straight league success at Anfield.
Damien Duff's goal just before the end of the first half put The Blues back in front after Steven Gerrard had cancelled out Frank Lampard's penalty.
A tap-in from Joe Cole, who struck the winner in the corresponding fixture last season, and substitute Geremi wrapped up the three points as Jose Mourinho's men responded to criticism in emphatic fashion.
After a disappointing 0-0 draw in their UEFA Champions League clash on Wednesday, the second meeting of the two teams in the space of four days turned out to be a much better spectacle.
The opening exchanges gave little insight into what was to follow and it appeared a second stalemate could be on the cards until Djimi Traore slammed a clearance straight at Drogba and hauled down the forward in the area in an attempt to atone for his error.
Jose Reina developed a reputation for saving penalties in La Liga, but the Spaniard shot stopper was unluckily beaten by Lampard's spot kick as the ball slipped underneath his body.
The goal, the first Liverpool had conceded at home in the league this season, broke the game open after a turgid opening as Liverpool managed to fight their way back onto level terms.
It came as no surprise that the Reds' equaliser came from a set-piece of their own as John Arne Riise's left-wing corner found a way through to Gerrard, via a flick off Jamie Carragher's head.
Despite a tight angle, the hosts' skipper managed to find the bottom corner of the net to draw his team level only for a moment of magic from Drogba to silence the home fans just before the break and give Chelsea a lead they would not slip again.
The Ivory Coast front-man escaped the attentions of Sami Hyypia on the left flank with a neat turn and then laid the ball into Duff, who slid the ball into the net after nearly making a mess of the chance with a heavy first touch.
Chasing the game for a second time, Liverpool rushed out of the blocks at the start of the second half.
Riise's reluctance to use his right foot when presented with a great opportunity to level matters straight after the break meant a great chance went begging, while there were shouts for a penalty from the Kop when Ricardo Carvalho appeared to nudge Peter Crouch in the air.
Yet Chelsea managed to weather the storm and grabbed a goal of their own just after the hour mark, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances.
Drogba, who had blazed a great chance wide just after the interval, was again at the fore as his mis-hit shot rolled invitingly into the path of Cole, who couldn't miss from close range.
Crouch spurned an excellent chance of grabbing his first goal in a Reds' shirt when he blazed over under pressure, but Liverpool failed to create much and their misery was complete when they were cut open again in the closing stages.
Drogba caught out a sleeping Steve Finnan at right back to cross into the middle for Geremi to ram home into the top of the net after Arjen Robben had failed to connect at the front post.
The fourth goal gave Chelsea their best win at Anfield in 98 years and means Liverpool's hopes of challenging for the title appear to already be over at the start of October.
|1||1st Half Goals||2|
|3||Shots on Target||6|
|5||Shots off Target||4|
Reina, Carragher, Finnan, Hyypia (Pongolle 70),
Traore (Cisse 80), Alonso, Gerrard, Hamann (Sissoko 67), Luis Garcia, Riise,
Subs Not Used Carson, Josemi
Goals Gerrard 36
Cech, Del Horno (Huth 82), Gallas, Carvalho,
Terry, J. Cole (Robben 66), Duff (Geremi 75), Essien, Lampard, Makelele, Drogba
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Crespo
Booked J. Cole, Lampard, Drogba
Goals Lampard (pen) 27, Duff 43, Cole 63, Geremi 82