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Premier League

  • December 29, 2013
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 41614

Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool: Eto'o pounces to secure priceless victory for Mourinho's men

Martin Skrtel put the visitors ahead after just four minutes, but the Blues turned it around in the first half with first Eden Hazard and then the Cameroonian finding the net.

Chelsea came from behind to earn a vital three points in the Premier League title race with a 2-1 triumph over rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

Martin Skrtel had put Brendan Rodgers's men ahead at Stamford Bridge inside five minutes, but strikes from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o secured a fourth consecutive home win for the Blues to give their championship hopes a boost.

Liverpool - who had only lost once in its previous six outings at Stamford Bridge - stormed out of the blocks and took the lead via Skrtel's close-range finish.

But Chelsea were ahead before halftime with a wonderful curling effort from Hazard and Eto'o's side-footed strike from six yards turning things around.

Both sides had opportunities in a lively second period, with Liverpool having legitimate claims for a penalty turned away when the Cameroonian appeared to haul down Luis Suarez in the area.

However, it was Chelsea that emerged victorious with Jose Mourinho's men - who now sit third in the table - closing the gap on leaders Arsenal to two points, while the Reds sit fifth after back-to-back top-flight defeats.

Frank Lampard replaced the suspended Ramires in one of four changes for Chelsea, while Liverpool named Daniel Agger in place of Aly Cissokho.

Liverpool was awarded an early free kick when Eto'o upended Jordan Henderson, with replays suggesting that the Cameroonian was perhaps lucky to escape punishment, and, from the resulting set piece, it went ahead. Suarez's header was only partially blocked by Branislav Ivanovic and Skrtel reacted quickest to tap home a close-range rebound.

Chelsea almost had an immediate response when Simon Mignolet saved Hazard's initial effort, but the ball deflected goalward and required Glen Johnson to clear.

The hosts continued to attack and the pressure finally paid dividends after 17 minutes - Oscar driving at the defence and his intercepted pass falling kindly for Hazard, who curled expertly into the top corner.

Liverpool was struggling for fluency, and the home fans were celebrating again on 34 minutes as Eto'o completed the turnaround. Oscar was the architect again, crossing low this time into the six-yard box where Eto'o squeezed the ball beyond Mignolet.

Searching for a swift response after the break, the visitors almost leveled when Mamadou Sakho's looping header rebounded off the crossbar.

After surviving that scare, Chelsea almost extended its lead after 54 minutes as Eto'o collected Hazard's through ball and forced Mignolet into a near-post save.

Oscar then flashed an effort wide of the far post while, at the other end, Petr Cech had to be on his guard to parry Johnson's low, left-footed drive.

Liverpool was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty with time running out when Eto'o cut across Suarez in the penalty area, but referee Howard Webb waved away the protests.

Oscar was also fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for a lunge on Lucas Leiva in injury time, but Chelsea held on for the win.

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