MX23RW : Saturday, March 23 14:43:26
May 6, 2018 at 4.30pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,314
Giroud (32')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Result: Chelsea beat Liverpool to keep top-four hopes alive

Olivier Giroud's first-half header earns Chelsea a crucial 1-0 win over Liverpool to keep their top-four hopes alive heading into the final two games of the season.

Chelsea have closed the gap on the top four back to two points courtesy of a 1-0 win over fellow Champions League hopefuls Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

The Blues saw fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur slip up away to relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, and they took full advantage as Olivier Giroud's first-half header handed them three vital points in West London.

Liverpool - who were playing their first match since booking their place in the Champions League final - knew that a drew would have been enough to effectively wrap up another campaign in Europe's top-tier competition next season, but they now go into their final game against Brighton & Hove Albion needing a win to guarantee their place in the top four.

Roberto Firmino takes a shot during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Liverpool on May 6, 2018© Offside

Chelsea went into the match with Antonio Conte's rallying cry for maximum points from their final three games ringing in their ears, but it was Liverpool who made the faster start and they broke in behind the hosts' defence as early as the third minute when Roberto Firmino latched on to Trent Alexander-Arnold's pass and saw his volley from a tight angle parried away by Thibaut Courtois.

The home side lacked the urgency that many expected of them in the opening stages, and they wasted a promising position 14 minutes in when Giroud took the ball off the toes of Tiemoue Bakayoko when his compatriot was much better placed to meet Victor Moses's cutback.

Chelsea did have their first shot on target just two minutes later, though, when a mistake from Alexander-Arnold - again deployed in a midfield role - allowed them to come forward down the left flank, only for Marcos Alonso to fire his 20-yard effort straight at Loris Karius.

It was Liverpool who were on top for the opening half-hour, though, and Sadio Mane squandered the first of his chances after 21 minutes when he scooped Nathaniel Clyne's low cross over the bar after the ball had arrived behind him.

Mane threatened again midway through the half when he burst forward from midfield before letting fly, but Courtois was equal to his effort and then got a crucial touch to the resulting corner to take it away from the head of Virgil van Dijk.

Mane continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock for Liverpool, but Courtois once again came out on top in their duel on the half-hour mark when he pushed another curling strike away before collecting a tamer follow-up effort after Firmino had kept the move alive.

Victor Moses battles with Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Liverpool on May 6, 2018© Offside

Chelsea responded by going straight up the other end and creating their best chance of the match, and Bakayoko's glancing header which dropped narrowly wide of the far post proved to be a warning shot of what was to come just minutes later.

The hosts' opener came against the run of play as Moses advanced down the right flank before cutting inside and putting a cross in for Giroud, who got in front of his man to flick his header into the far corner, leaving Karius rooted to the spot.

Suddenly it was Liverpool on the back foot, and Chelsea came agonisingly close to a second moments later when Cesc Fabregas broke down the right channel before delivering a teasing low cross into the box which only needed a touch.

Mohamed Salah - still chasing a 32nd league goal of the campaign which would set a new 38-game scoring record for the Premier League - struggled to get into the game for the most part and had a moment to forget late in the first half when he was correctly booked for diving just outside the penalty area.

The PFA and FWA Footballer of the Year did have his first half-chance just 41 seconds after the interval when he linked up well with Firmino on the edge of the box, but his resulting effort was tame and easy for Courtois to gather.

Mohamed Salah and Victor Moses in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Liverpool on May 6, 2018© Offside

It was a sign of things to come as the second half got off to a quick start, with Moses flashing a dangerous low ball across the face of goal before Alexander-Arnold and N'Golo Kante both failed to hit the target from range at either end of the field.

Eden Hazard's dancing feet took him to the byline down the left channel 11 minutes into the second half, but his powerful drive across the face of goal was met by an unconvincing touch from Karius before Andrew Robertson was able to smuggle it behind at the back post.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net from the resulting corner when Antonio Rudiger turned Gary Cahill's header home from close range, but the offside flag cut Chelsea's celebrations short.

Liverpool were struggling to find a way through Chelsea, though, and other than a tame Bakayoko effort from range neither side came close again until Alonso produced a stunning Marco van Basten-esque volley which flashed narrowly wide of the far post with Karius beaten.

The visitors began to dominate again in the final 10 minutes as they pushed for a late equaliser which would all but secure their top-four place with a game to spare, and it almost came from an unlikely route when Cesar Azpilicueta's botched clearance from the edge of his own six-yard box was gratefully collected by Courtois.

The best chances any Liverpool player had in the closing stages both fell to former Chelsea man Dominic Solanke, but the striker missed the target with two headers, sending both over the crossbar.

One final Liverpool attack saw Van Dijk nod the ball into a dangerous area, but Courtois was there to gather it as Chelsea held on for a vital victory which ends a six-match winless run against the Reds and could take the top-four race down to the final day of the season.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have now failed to score in two successive Premier League games for the first time since August 2015 and could be left needing victory on the final day to secure their place in the top four.

CHELSEA (3-5-1-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses (Zappacosta 89'), Fabregas (Pedro 93'), Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Hazard (Willian 86'); Giroud

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Karius; Clyne (Henderson 59'), Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson (Solanke 74'); Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum, Milner (Moreno 89'); Salah, Firmino, Mane

Share this article now:
Eden Hazard in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Chelsea on March 4, 2018
Read Next:
Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
European Championship Qualifying
League One
League Two
National League
Scottish Challenge Cup
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Segunda Division
Serie B
Major League Soccer
Argentine Primera Division
Uruguayan Primera Division
NIFL Premiership
Welsh Premier League
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account