Parallels with the Chelsea visit that derailed Liverpools title pursuit in 2014 ran only as far as the final scoreline and a slip in possession from Andy Robertson that was frankly irrelevant. Otherwise this was an afternoon that reinforced the strength of Liverpools resolve in the face of City pressure and the class they possess to turn the most tense affairs in their favour. Sadio Mané set Klopps team on course for a seventh successive victory in all competitions with his 13th goal in 16 games. Seconds later, 142 seconds to be precise, Salah produced a moment that will live long in Anfields collective consciousness. His 19th league goal of the season will take permanent residence there should it prove a defining moment for Liverpools hopes of a 19th league crown.
Read more For Maurizio Sarri it was a fourth defeat in four visits to members of the so-called Big Six this season. Chelsea had opportunity to change the complexion of the afternoon through Eden Hazard but their man of the moment failed to match Salahs contribution to an absorbing afternoon. Their failure to withstand Liverpools breathless start to the second half was crucial.
It did not take long for Chelsea fans to revisit recent history in an attempt to stir anxiety among the home crowd. Eight minutes before kick-off, in fact, was when the first rendition of the Steven Gerrard/Demba Ba song aired. Only two players remained from that infamous game in April 2014, however, César Azpilicueta and Salah, and the latter was wearing blue that day. The most important sound from the crowd before the game was of course silence for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster on the eve of the 30th anniversary. It was impeccably observed by all, as one mosaic reading 30 Years filled the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and another that simply said 96 dominated the Kop.
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The following 45 minutes were tense and far removed from the monumental occasion it would eventually become. Liverpool started on the front foot but without the aggression and composure on the ball that so often makes their control count. Sarris side, with Hazard operating as a false nine, worked their way into promising situations on the counter-attack without troubling Alisson in the Liverpool goal. Their first-half display was encapsulated by Willian breaking from a David Luiz clearance, cutting inside Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson, then slicing well wide from 18 yards.
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Virgil van Dijk shouts at his teammates after Chelseas Eden Hazard misses a chance. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters Liverpools best chance of the first half fell to Salah in their first attack. Mané, who unnerved Azpilicueta from the opening whistle, delivered a deep cross into the visitors six-yard box to the Egypt international. Unmarked, he shinned his volley straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga. Mané turned another good opportunity wide when Salah returned the favour but overall it was a flat opening reminiscent of that game from five years ago. A jaw-dropping start to the second half by Liverpool ensured there would be no repeat of that.
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Read more Until Mané struck his 18th goal of the league campaign the most significant moment was the knee injury sustained by Antonio Rüdiger when chasing a Joël Matip ball over the top towards Mané. The Chelsea central defender had started authoritatively and laboured on for another 18 minutes before collapsing again. He looked in a bad way when carried off the pitch by two members of the Chelsea medical staff. Rüdigers replacement, Andreas Christensen, came on for his fifth league appearance of the season and was that rusty he spent the half-time interval warming up on the pitch. He and his team-mates were caught cold from the restart.
The game, the atmosphere and quite possibly the title race turned six minutes after the restart when Matip picked out Salah with a measured pass out of defence. Liverpools leading marksman played a one-two with Roberto Firmino that should have been cut out by Emerson. The Chelsea left-back was weak in the challenge, Henderson nipped in ahead of Jorginho and floated a delightful cross over from the by-line for Mané to head home.
The game against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon was always one of the most significant games of the season, but it has further importance after a video was recently circulated showing Chelsea fans chanting racist and Islamophobic abuse directed at Mo Salah.
A collective gasp was then heard around Anfield when Salah sealed a most precious victory with a shot of exquisite beauty. He was lurking in a similar position to the opening goal when he took a cross-field pass from Van Dijk with a polished first touch. This time he stepped across Emerson and, before the Chelsea defence could react, unleashed an angled drive that flew straight and true into the top corner of Arrizabalagas goal. It was an unforgettable moment that left Klopp looking on in joyous disbelief and over 50,000 others following suit.
Liverpool were rampant at this stage, Firmino flashing another shot from distance just wide, yet Chelsea could have levelled courtesy of two glorious Hazard chances in as many minutes. The Belgium international had only Alisson to beat when Christensens long ball caught out the Liverpool defence. He beat the Liverpool goalkeeper but his low shot smacked against the post. Seconds later, from Willians inviting delivery, his free shot was spilled by Alisson and Van Dijk hooked clear before Hazard could capitalise on the rebound.
There would be no slips from Liverpool on this occasion. They march on, applying pressure on City with every step.
Fans were sent into a frenzy on social media after footage appeared to show Liverpool midfielder Fabinho snotting in the direction of Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard while he laid on the ground.
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Play had been stopped after the Brazilian brought down Hazard after 10 minutes, leaving the Belgian needing treatment from the physios.
While the medical team did their job, players wandered about the Anfield pitch as they took a small break during the action on Sunday afternoon.
Leaders Liverpool are currently 16 points clear of Chelsea as they go toe-to-toe with Manchester City at the top, but will be wary of the 16-goal Hazard who also boasts a league-high 12 assists this term.