Published Sunday, 27 April 2014
Stephen Gerrard’s slip led to Chelsea’s first goal in the 45th minute. (© Getty)
In a battle between a home side committed to attack and visitors intent only on defending, the latter triumphed, which may not have made for a good spectacle, but Chelsea - and Manchester City - will not be complaining.
Much has been made of this being the season when Reds captain Steven Gerrard ends his long wait for a championship medal, so it was cruel that his mistake led to Demba Ba's crucial opening goal in first-half injury time - which was only added on because of the visitors' persistent time-wasting.
Substitute Willian scored a breakaway second in the final seconds of the game to seal the victory.
In January Jose Mourinho criticised West Ham for playing a game from the "19th century", but the Portuguese brought to Merseyside his own unique brand of defensive football - and then some - as they slowed the game at every opportunity.
It was a classic Mourinho destruction and frustration ploy which infuriated Liverpool so much Gerrard engaged in a bit of push and shove with the Chelsea boss in trying to get the ball back into play and Suarez stood to applaud goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer's time-wasting early in the game.
While victory took Chelsea within two points of their rivals at the top of the table, the ones to really benefit were third-placed City, who still with a match in hand on both the teams above them have replaced Liverpool as favourites for the title.
Carnlough man Rodgers said he was frustrated at Chelsea's defensive tactics.
He said: "Congratulations to Chelsea, they won the game, we just couldn't find the breakthrough.
"They obviously sat very deep. I think there were two buses parked today, never mind one.
"It was like a back six with three midfield players in front of that.
"That's 10, with the goalkeeper, for 90 minutes consistently behind the ball.
"Unless you get that early goal, it doesn't entice them to come out.
"It was clear that they'd come certainly not wanting to win the game, with the time-wasting and whatnot.
"The players gave everything and we couldn't quite get that wee bit of luck."
Rodgers was reluctant to praise Mourinho, adding: "I don't think it's a tactic. Anyone can ask a team to just sit back and defend on the edge of the box.
"It's the nature of how Chelsea play. They've got some wonderful players but they play a defensive game and hope to hit you on the counter-attack or with a mistake.
"We were disappointed with the goal, it's just one of those things. There's no blame for Stevie. I said to him he's been a wonderful player for this club and he's a massive part of why we are where we are."
Should City and Liverpool both win all their remaining games, they will finish level on points and City currently have a superior goal difference.
Rodgers added: "The bigger picture is that we're still two points ahead of a team that has spent an absolute fortune. If we win our two games we'll finish above them and then we'll see what happens with Manchester City.
"We achieved our objective of Champions League football and we just go on to our next game against Crystal Palace. Chelsea's game will probably prepare us for that because of the nature of how Crystal Palace play."
© UTV News