Reds Give Jose The Blues  (Sky Sports)

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0

Kuyt and Pennant celebrate Pennant's goalA terrific Liverpool performance saw them coast to a 2-0 win over a very poor Chelsea at Anfield.

From the off the home side looked far hungrier and their attacking approach was rewarded with a fourth minute lead as Dirk Kuyt struck.

Before 20 minutes had gone, Liverpool's domination told again as Jermaine Pennant's struck his first goal for the club and that proved enough for Rafa Benitez - as he claimed his first league victory over Jose Mourinho.

It was a rampant first half display from Liverpool that saw them set up victory as they totally over-ran a Chelsea side which looked completely disorganised without talismanic skipper John Terry in defence.

The main talking point before the game was Petr Cech's return and he was happy to claim a Steven Gerrard header after three minutes to get his first touch of a ball for over three months.

However, within a minute Cech's next task was to pick the ball out of the back of the net as Liverpool swept into the lead. A long ball flicked on by Peter Crouch fell for Kuyt, he knocked the ball past hapless make-shift centre-half Paulo Ferreira, before coolly side-footing a half-volley into the corner.

Chelsea just could not come to terms with Liverpool's attacking play and the home side should have been two-up just moments later. Xabi Alonso's excellent ball into the box freed John Arne Riise - but Cech was down wonderfully well to make the save.

Chelsea's first meaningful chance came for Didier Drogba from a corner but he headed wide - and within minutes they found themselves further behind.

A long ball from Gerrard was headed clear by Michael Essien, the ball fell for Pennant - but with Ashley Cole backing off and inviting a shot, the former Birmingham man accepted the invitation and unleashed a brilliant effort into the top corner leaving Cech helpless.

Shaun Wright-Phillips was soon introduced for the injured Arjen Robben and that resulted in some meaningful Chelsea possession - but Jose Reina remained untested up to half-time.

Liverpool should have had the game well and truly sewn up by the hour mark and it was Crouch the guilty party for missing two great chances.

Pennant, having one of his best games for the club, was the creator for the first opportunity as he whipped in a cross from the right and found Crouch unmarked 12 yards out but he disappointingly headed tamely at Cech.

Then came a double let off for the champions as Riise unleashed a trademark thunderbolt from 30 yards which smashed off the crossbar - the rebound looked to drop favourably for Crouch but under Essien's challenge he failed to find the target.

Chelsea simply were not clicking and Drogba seemed to sum up their day with two fluffed chances from great positioned free-kicks. He first contrived with Michael Ballack - one the edge of the box - to simply give the ball straight to the home side.

Then he was picked out brilliantly by Lampard from a set piece on the right just inside the box - but he missed the ball completely with his side foot.

Wright-Phillips was just about Chelsea's best player after entering the fray earlier in the first half and his mazy run through the Liverpool backline almost resulted in a goal as he crossed from the by-line and Dan Agger was relieved to see the ball fly into the side-netting rather than the back of the net.

An excellent late intervention from Ferreira prevented Kuyt adding a third - but Mourinho could have had few complaints had Liverpool, as they should have, secured a more sizeable success.

Indeed Kuyt spurned an even better chance in the final minute when he blazed over from 10 yards after a wonderful flicked pass from Gerrard.


Team Statistics






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Liverpool  Reina, Agger, Aurelio, Carragher, Finnan, Alonso, Gerrard, Pennant, Riise, Crouch (Bellamy 85), Kuyt (Gonzalez 90)
Subs Not Used Dudek, Hyypia, Fowler
Goals  Kuyt 4, Pennant 18

Chelsea  Cech, A. Cole, Ferreira, Ballack, Essien, Geremi, Lampard, Mikel (Shevchenko 73), Drogba, Kalou, Robben (Wright-Phillips 21)
Subs Not Used  Hilario, Morais, Diarra
Booked  Ferreira

Attendance  44,245

Referee   R. Styles

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