London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Demba Ba and Willian scored in each half as Chelsea inflicted a serious blow on Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes and turned the race wide open with a 2-0 victory Sunday at Anfield.
Steven Gerrard slipped while attempting to control a pass from Mamadou Sakho in first-half stoppage time, allowing Ba to burst clear on goal and guide the ball beyond the Simon Mignolet from 18 yards in first-half stoppage time.
The hosts, whose attacking prowess led to an 11-match winning run prior to this contest, were unable to find a reply before Willian added a late score for Chelsea.
“The best team won. The team that deserved to win, won. Simple, in my opinion,” said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Liverpool is now just two points clear of Chelsea while the result provides a huge boost for Manchester City, which is now three points behind after a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Entering the match, Liverpool needed seven points from its final three matches to win its first league title in 24 years.
At first, many thought it would be easy pickings for Liverpool as Mourinho planned on playing a weakened side in order to focus on the second leg of its Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid next week.
True to his word, Mourinho left defender Gary Cahill and Willian on the bench and handed a Premier League debut to 20-year-old defender Tomas Kalas.
Meanwhile, Manchester City boosted its title hopes with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
After Liverpool’s defeat against Chelsea opened the door, City took full advantage and found the first goal against Palace after just four minutes when Edin Dzeko fired one past Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Two minutes before the intermission, Yaya Toure, who got the start after missing time with a hamstring injury, drove into the heart of the Palace defense and ripped a strike into the top left corner for the two goal advantage.
Connor Wickham scored on either side of the intermission as Sunderland boosted its survival hopes with a comfortable 4-0 thrashing of Cardiff City at Stadium of Light.
The result lifted Sunderland out of the bottom three with 32 points, while Cardiff City dropped to the bottom of the table with 30 points.