Player Ratings: Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea

The Reds left it late to take an advantage over the Blues in the title race, ending their post-rant streak of draws...
Liverpool

Jose Reina (6): Was as good as untested for the majority of the game.

Alvaro Arbeloa (7): Chelsea's lack of a genuine wide threat made his life easy. He certainly got the better of Florent Malouda.

Jamie Carragher (7): The vice-captain was rarely called into action as Chelsea were rarely able to press forward.

Martin Skrtel (7.5): The tough-tackling Slovak gave Nicolas Anelka no joy and was a strong presence throughout.

Fabio Aurelio (8.5): Got forward to good effect and was rarely troubled by Salomon Kalou. A gem of a cross for the late goal.

Javier Mascherano (7): Dealt well with Frank Lampard and had a decent effort from distance that was spilled by Petr Cech

Xabi Alonso (6): Not the creative force he has been all season. Somewhat disappointing, though nevertheless a calming presence in midfield.

Dirk Kuyt (6): As willing a runner and worker as ever,  but lacked the invention of pure skill required to produce anything of note.

Steven Gerrard (6.5): Made a nuisance of himself and worked the channels well. Marked down for a poor dive, for which he was duly booked. Could have been sent off for tackle that was worse than the one that saw the dismissal of his England team-mate, Frank Lampard.

Albert Riera (5): Not a day to remember for the Reds' new-boy. He squandered a fairly promising half-chance by neglecting to shoot on his right foot and in general failed to provide good enough service from the flank.

Fernando Torres (7.5): Started very, very quietly and missed a good chance. He was otherwise closed down well, but showed half a threat with a few snap-shots and eventually came good with an excellent run and headed finish to win the day and was in the right place at the right time to grab the second.

Substitutes:

Yossi Benayoun (8): Not enough good can be said about his brief cameo off the bench. His sense of urgency well and truly rattled Chelsea. Had a couple of good efforts and was involved in the second goal.

Babel (n/a)

Ngog (n/a)

Chelsea

Peter Cech (5.5): Was shaky at times, but also stopped some semi-stinging shots from the Reds - particularly in the second half. He might have done a bit better at the first goal.

Jose Bosingwa (4): A fairly anonymous performance. Wasn't overly troubled defensively, but was unable to impose himself on the game as a wide threat going forward. What was key, though, was the cross for the winning goal coming from his territory. Aurelio was given far too much time. Marked down for a senseless and almost comically violent stamp in the back of Benayoun in the dying minutes.

Alex (7.5): Chelsea's best player. Sat deep in defence and made a number of good blocks and strong challenges, and unfortunately it was him who was beaten to the ball by an excellent run from Torres, which has slightly affected his mark, though it was only half a mistake.

John Terry (7): The skipper stood firm throughout and was rarely troubled by the likes of Torres or Kuyt.

Ashley Cole (4): Not exactly a day to remember. The former Arsenal man made a few embarrassing mistakes and was his usual eager but ultimately unsuitable self in the final third. His awful afternoon was capped by a lax moment at the back which cost his side what little chance they had of getting back into the game in stoppage time.

John Obi-Mikel (5): Started well, but in the second half, found himself a little overwhelmed and unable to offer the Chelsea back line the protection they required.

Michael Ballack (5): Completely anonymous.

Frank Lampard (5.5): Unfortunate to be sent off for a very debatable straight red card issued by Mike Riley. Was however kept out of the game for lengthy periods and his delivery from set-pieces has been better.

Salomon Kalou (5): Another Chelsea attacking player who may as well have not been on the pitch this afternoon. Rarely posed any kind of threat.

Nicolas Anelka (5):
Starved of service and got no joy from the Liverpool defenders either.

Florent Malouda (3): The Frenchman embodies everything wrong with Chelsea at the moment. A complete lack of cutting edge going forward. Gave the ball away almost every time he got it. You'd think he couldn't tell the difference between a blue shirt and a red one.

Substitutes:

Didier Drogba (4.5): Cut a miserable figure throughout. Wasn't up for the fight, was out-muscled by Skrtel and in truth, though starved of service as Anelka had been, he added nothing to the game against his old enemy.

Deco (n/a)

Stoch (n/a)

Sulmaan Ahmad, Goal.com