Best of the rest? Chelsea down champions Liverpool and take control in top four race

Mason Mount Chelsea
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While Man City are far and away the best team in the land, Thomas Tuchel's side are on a 10-game unbeaten streak and made light work of Klopp's men

Match statistics: Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea

They are still far away from Manchester City but Chelsea are at least proving they might end up being the best of the rest after dominating a fragile Liverpool at Anfield over a full 90 minutes.

Jurgen Klopp may have his selection problems ahead of this Premier League encounter but the Blues showed no mercy with Mason Mount's goal proving the difference in a comfortable 1-0 win.

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VAR did its best to delay the inevitable, ruling out of Timo Werner's goal after he appeared to break the offside trap and rounded Alisson to score, but Mount's brilliant dribble and curled shot got the west London club the three points they deserved.

Although bringing Chelsea up only to fourth place in the league, the win is potentially significant, with a four-point gap opening on Liverpool with 11 games to go.

Everton and West Ham, meanwhile, remain within striking distance of Chelsea but the Londoners have built up a significant head of steam. 

They have surged from 10th, where former manager Frank Lampard left them, and Tuchel's side are now on a 10-game undefeated streak in a league where few teams can manage any such consistency.

Manchester United and Leicester both drew this week and the Blues can now start to think about overtaking them towards the end of the season.

Their rivals have been weakened by pandemic-impacted football where two games every three days are seeing players tire out.

Like Man City, Chelsea have the squad to cope with the rigours of what is a unique season after spending £220 million ($275m) in the summer.

GFX Mason Mount Reece James Chelsea

And they will want more this off-season with good reason. The control Chelsea enjoyed over the champions could have been even greater if a true finisher could have put the game to bed.

They have had the second-most attempts on goal in league games this season (86) but have converted that total into just over one goal per game, with three of those coming from the penalty spot.

And at the other end, Tuchel has quickly made Chelsea solid and structurally sound after Lampard's side had spent 18 months struggling for clean sheets. Before kick-off, Tuchel's Blues had faced just two shots on target per league game. 

With his third goal under Tuchel, Mount surpassed his tally of two under Lampard in 19 fewer games. The player who had been dubbed a teacher's pet under his previous boss has thrived under the ex-PSG coach and is the club's top scorer in the new manager's time at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately, he is not the real clinical goalscorer that they need. That man is supposed to be Werner and, despite being harshly denied a goal by VAR, he will be disappointed not to have scored at least one with the various chances he has had.

Few other players in Tuchel's line up were renowned goalscorers with Hakim Ziyech and substitute Christian Pulisic having not weighed in with goals since 2020.

That lack of ruthlessness forced a nervy last few minutes on Chelsea, reminding everyone why they are targeting Dortmund's superstar Erling Haaland in the summer transfer market. However, they had enough to get over the line and earn their manager the bragging rights over his former mentor Klopp. 

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia set Tuchel the challenge of finishing in the top four and he is quickly delivering. They are in the driving seat now and earning Champions League football again can help give the club a platform for better things next season.

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