Liverpool-Chelsea Live: Reds Fall On Diego Costa’s Game-Winning Goal

Steven Gerrard Liverpool EvertonFinal, 2-1 Chelsea: It’s over. The Reds fall to the Blues at Anfield.

Liverpool’s best wasn’t enough to earn a result against Chelsea. Costa’s second-half goal was the difference, as Chelsea beat Liverpool (for the third game in a row) to move 15 points ahead of the Reds and seven points clear at the top of the Premier League standings.

Chelsea’s powerful, balanced and collective approach, combined with the individual quality of its players saw it past Liverpool, which still is struggling to find the right chemistry, as well as its form and confidence.

Liverpool will be angry about Cahill’s handball that went unpunished, as the referee made the wrong call. However, Chelsea was the better team on the day, and Liverpool would have been fortunate to earn a result.

Liverpool now has lost five league games in 2014-15. Chelsea is looking like one of the strongest teams the Premier League has ever seen.

The international break comes next, and the Reds won’t return to action until Nov. 23 when it visits Crystal Palace.

That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.

90th minute, +5, 2-1 Chelsea: Luis comes on for Hazard in Chelsea’s final substitution.

90th minute, +4, 2-1 Chelsea: Courtois is cautioned for wasting time.

90th minute +3, 2-1 Chelsea: Moreno crosses to Borini, but the Italian’s header goes over the crossbar.

90th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: There will be a minimum of five minutes of stoppage time in the second half.

90th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Drogba replaces Costa, as Chelsea makes its second substitution.

88th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Liverpool is appealing for a penalty, but the referee ignores the Reds.

Gerrard’s shot hit Cahill’s arm as it headed for the goal.

87th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Now Costa is cautioned for a foul on Johnson.

83rd minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Oscar is cautioned for a foul on Johnson.

79th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Liverpool makes its final substitution. Lambert enters. Balotelli exits.

75th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Ivanovic blocks Henderson’s shot, it takes a deflection and narrowly misses the goal.

70th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Liverpool makes a pair of substitutions. Borini replaces Coutinho and Allen replaces Can.

69th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Matic is cautioned for a foul on Johnson.

67th minute, 2-1 Chelsea: Costa has both a new jersey and revenge, having given Chelsea the lead.

Azpilicueta beat Coutinho on the sideline, dribbled toward the goal from a tight angle and crossed. Mignolet deflected the ball, but it fell to Costa, who hammered it home.

It’s Costa’s tenth league goal of the season, tying him with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero for the lead.

65th minute, 1-1: Balotelli is cautioned for barging over Oscar from behind.

63rd minute, 1-1: Moreno clips Ivanovic as the Chelsea defender leaps into the air. Ivanovic falls awkwardly, Liverpool doesn’t play the ball out of bounds, and Terry is livid.

61st minute, 1-1: The game remains even and competitive with around 30 minutes remaining.

Each team is canceling the other’s threat effectively, making scoring chances hard to come by at the moment.

54th minute, 1-1: Chelsea makes its first substitution, bringing Willian on in place of Ramires.

53rd minute, 1-1: Sterling takes a touch around Ivanovic and shoots, but Courtois dives and turns it away.

51st minute, 1-1: Costa’s overhead kick goes over the bar. It would have been a stunning goal had Costa beaten Mignolet with the shot.

Costa’s jersey now has a little rip on the back.

49th minute, 1-1: Ivanovic is cautioned for a professional foul on Sterling.

46th minute, 1-1: The second half is underway at Anfield.

Halftime, 1-1: That’s the end of the first half. The score is tied.

The first 45 minutes were pulsating and all-consuming, as Chelsea and Liverpool attacked each other with abandon. Can’s early goal gave the Reds great hope, but Chelsea responded within five minutes with Cahill’s game-tying goal. Chelsea then took the initiative and increased the pressure, which nearly broke Liverpool. Mignolet’s saves and the last-second intervention of defenders preserved parity.

Liverpool must become more comfortable in possession and move the ball to its attacking players more quickly. Chelsea is creating turnovers by pressuring Liverpool’s defenders. When Liverpool breaks Chelsea’s first line of defense, it has created danger in the Blues’ half.

The running battle between Costa and Skrtel has threatened to boil over. Watch that matchup closely in the second half.

Here are some stats from the first half.

45th minute, 1-1: There will be one minute of stoppage time in the first half.

43rd minute, 1-1: Sterling is cautioned for blocking Ramires’ run in an off-the-ball incident.

Ramires appears to have elbowed Sterling in the collision.

41st minute, 1-1: Hazard curls a shot on goal, but Mignolet dives and saves it.

Chelsea nearly profited from another Liverpool giveaway.

40th minute, 1-1: Ivanovic dribbles into the Liverpool penalty area, and the ball deflects twice before landing in Mignolet’s arms.

36th minute, 1-1: Chelsea is increasing the pressure on Liverpool, and it ends in a clear scoring chance, as Mignolet saves Costa’s shot from close range.

32nd minute, 1-1: The balance of play remains as even as the scoreline after a half hour.

The teams are showing no fear as they attack each other. Chelsea is looking to cause turnovers high up the field and break forward, while Liverpool focuses on deliberate build-up play and individual excellence from players like Coutinho.

29th minute, 1-1: Costa shoots over the crossbar from close range.

26th minute, 1-1: Coutinho dribbles through three tackles and shoots from distance, but Courtois saves his rolling effort.

22nd minute, 1-1: Costa and Skrtel go nose-to-nose.

Costa pushed Skrtel over from behind, and the Liverpool defender was not happy about it.

21st minute, 1-1: Liverpool wants a penalty kick after Sterling’s shot hits Cahill. Replays show that the ball hit the Chelsea defender’s shoulder.

19th minute, 1-1: Balotelli appears to score, but the referee’s assistant rules that he was offside.

Coutinho created the space with a nice piece of skill and passed to Balotelli.

16th minute, 1-1: Hazard shoots wide from inside Liverpool’s penalty area.

14th minute, 1-1: Chelsea has tied it up. Cahill is the goal scorer.

It came from a corner kick. Mignolet made a fine save on Terry’s header. The rebound fell to Cahill, who shot on goal. Mignolet appeared to make the save, but the Goal Decision System ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line before Mignolet stopped it.

13th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Chelsea is looking for a quick response to Liverpool’s goal. Chelsea has committed more players forward and upped the tempo of its passing since falling behind.

Ninth minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Can receives a pass from Sterling in the midfield, steps forward, shoots and scores.

Can’s effort deflected off of Cahill and wrong-footed Courtois en route to the goal. Can had plenty of time and space with which to shoot.

It’s Can’s first-ever goal for Liverpool. The German midfielder joined the Reds last summer.

Fourth minute, 0-0: The game has started intensely, as the teams pass, press and tackle with great purpose.

Liverpool was the fastest-starting team in the Premier League last season. Chelsea has seized that tag early on in 2014-15.

First minute, 0-0: Liverpool beats Chelsea’s high pressure, and Can takes an early shot from distance, which deflects off a Chelsea player and goes out for a corner kick.

Kickoff: The Premier League game between Liverpool and Chelsea is underway at Anfield.

Pregame: Rodgers has reverted to a familiar-looking starting XI for this massive game.

Moreno, Lovren and Johnson return to the back line after sitting out Tuesday’s game against Real Madrid.

Gerrard and Henderson also take their positions in midfield, along with Can.

Coutinho, Sterling and Balotelli will shoulder the bulk of the attacking responsibilities.

Chelsea has the disadvantage of one less day’s rest, and Mourinho has made five changes to the starting lineup he fielded against Maribor on Wednesday. Costa, Oscar and Ramires join Cahill and Azpilicueta as returnees to Chelsea’s starting XI, while Wilian, Drogba, Luis and Zouma must be content with a spot on the bench.

Here’s what the managers had to say before the game.

7:15 a.m.: Here are the lineups:

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet (22), goalkeeper
Alberto Moreno (18), left back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Dejan Lovren (6), center back
Glen Johnson (2), center back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Emre Can (23), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), forward
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Mario Balotelli (45), striker

Substitutes

Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Kolo Toure (4), defender
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Adam Lallana (20), midfielder
Fabio Borini (29), striker
Rickie Lambert (9), striker

Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois (13), goalkeeper
Cesar Azpilicueta (28), left back
John Terry (26), center back
Gary Cahill 24), center back
Branislav Ivanovic (2), right back
Nemanja Matic (21), midfielder
Cesc Fabregas (4), midfielder
Ramires (7), midfielder
Oscar (8), midfielder
Eden Hazard (10), midfielder
Diego Costa (19), striker

Substitutes

Petr Cech (1), goalkeeper
Kurt Zouma (5), defender
Filipe Luis (3), defender
John Obi Mikel (12), midfielder
Willian (22), midfielder
Loic Remy (18), striker
Didier Drogba (11), striker

7 a.m. ET: For Liverpool, now is as good a time as any for the goals to start flowing.

Liverpool hosts Chelsea on Saturday in a Premier League game it can’t afford to lose. The Reds trail the league-leading Blues by 12 points in the standings and they need at least a point in order to remain in the title race at this early point in the 2014-15 season.

Brendan Rodgers surprised many by rotating his team in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League loss to Real Madrid. The Liverpool manager could restore the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson to the starting lineup Saturday. The midfield duo has played every minute of every Premier League game this season.

Chelsea, unbeaten after 10 games, poses a formidable challenge to Liverpool. Star striker Diego Costa, who has scored nine goals in eight league games, will be available to play, as Chelsea’s battle-hardened group is looking to rebound from Wednesday’s draw against Maribor in the Champions League. Three points from a trip to Anfield would serve as an adequate response in the eyes of manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea is the highest-scoring team in the Premier League. Liverpool is 12th in the goals column. Chelsea has the second meanest defense in the league. Liverpool has the eighth best defensive record in the division. Rodgers is hoping Saturday’s game marks a turning point in the campaign and he’s not alone in that sentiment, as a global audience will see Saturday.

Liverpool-Chelsea kicks off at 7:45 a.m. Join us right here for all the action from Anfield.

Liverpool-Chelsea Preview >>

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