Liverpool suffered a 2-1 defeat for the second time in four days as they went down fighting against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Brendan Rodgers made one change to the side that had lost against Manchester City – reinstating Daniel Agger as captain, with the Danish defender coming in at left-back in place of Aly Cissokho. There was a place on the bench for academy starlets Brad Smith and Jordan Rossiter.
It took just three minutes for the Reds to take the lead. Philippe Coutinho’s free-kick was flicked on by Luis Suarez, leaving an easy tap-in for Martin Skrtel.
Unfortunately the goal didn’t seem to push Liverpool on though, and the following exchanges saw the visitors on the back foot. The equaliser came on 17 minutes via a curling Eden Hazard effort.
The goal seemed to breathe some life back into the Reds, as they pushed forward with the aim of regaining their lead. Joe Allen found himself through on goal following good work from himself, Suarez and Jordan Henderson, but Gary Cahill was able to take the ball off the Welshman’s foot as he was about to strike.
Things went from bad to worse though on 34 minutes, as Samuel Eto’o was able to beat Skrtel to a low drilled cross to poke the ball home.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Liverpool, and they were by far the worse team for the remainder of the first half. They came out after the break with renewed vigour though, and were knocking at Chelsea’s door on several occasions.
Brad Smith was introduced for his senior debut on the hour mark, taking the place of Allen – who had picked up a knock. The youngster was rarely able to get into the game, though it may just be that the occasion was too big for him.
The Reds pressed to the death but were unable to find the elusive equalising goal. Howard Webb certainly played his part in maintaining the Chelsea lead when he denied a clear-cut penalty for a challenge by Eto’o on Suarez, the second time in a week Liverpool fans have been able to complain that contentious decisions potentially cost them points against their rivals.