Liverpool lost a fifth consecutive home game for the first time in their history as Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start under Thomas Tuchel with a 1-0 win at Anfield.
Deteriorating home form has been one of the factors that has all but ended Liverpool’s title defence, and Chelsea made them pay on their own turf again.
Mason Mount scored the only goal of the game as Tuchel reached 10 games without defeat as Chelsea boss.
The game was billed as one that could have a major impact on the top-four hopes of both clubs. It was Chelsea who took that significant stride forward, rising into fourth place and leaving Liverpool four points behind them.
Liverpool were able to welcome Fabinho back after his injury lay-off. The Brazilian slotted straight back in at centre-half alongside Ozan Kabak.
Chelsea brought Timo Werner back in up front, while Mateo Kovacic dropped to the bench to make room for Jorginho.
Werner had Chelsea’s first chance of the game after 10 minutes. The striker brought the ball down and fired at goal from outside the box, but it sailed wide.
Chelsea kept up the initiative, with Cesar Azpilicueta also firing off target from range.
The Blues thought they had got the lead they deserved after 24 minutes. Timo Werner raced in behind the defence, getting to a ball over the top before onrushing Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
The striker then brought the ball under control so he could tap into an empty net. However, the goal was disallowed by VAR because Werner had been fractionally offside.
Shortly after, Liverpool had their first real opening, but Sadio Mane fluffed his lines – failing to connect with a cross in from the right.
Another ball over the top led to Chelsea taking the lead for good in the 42nd minute. Mount latched onto it and dribbled past Fabinho before firing past Alisson. This time, there was no denying that the goal stood.
𝗠𝗮𝗴𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗠𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁 👏
The Chelsea midfielder puts the Blues ahead at Anfield
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 4, 2021
Liverpool fail to respond
Liverpool needed a reaction in the second half and had appeals for a penalty in its early stages. The ball struck N’Golo Kante’s hand in the box, but no spot kick was awarded.
At the other end, Chelsea kept the pressure on. Alisson was forced into a double save to deny efforts from Mount and Hakim Ziyech.
As Liverpool pushed for an equaliser, Jurgen Klopp sent Diogo Jota on for a first appearance since returning from injury. He replaced a less than impressed Mohamed Salah.
But Chelsea remained the most dangerous team, with Alisson having to save from Werner again.
Liverpool, without a shot on target until the 85th minute, were scrambling for an equaliser at the other end. Roberto Firmino nearly carved out a chance, but no-one could complete the move.
In the end, there was no way back for Liverpool, who have fallen further off the pace. Chelsea, conversely, seem to be well and truly on the up under Tuchel.