Chelsea end the year just two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal after an impressive performance against a Liverpool side which has now suffered successive league defeats.

The visitors were ahead within three minutes as Martin Skrtel tapped in.

But parity was restored when Eden Hazard rifled in from distance.

Chelsea deservedly went ahead before the break when a Samuel Eto'o shot crept underneath Simon Mignolet, though the visitors had chances to level.

Eto'o foul not a penalty - Mourinho

A Mamadou Sakho header struck the crossbar, while Luis Suarez was denied what seemed like two strong penalty appeals with first John Terry and then Eto'o impeding the striker.

The last time these two sides met, Suarez, in the words of manager Brendan Rodgers, reached the lowest point in his career. The Uruguayan's rehabilitation since he bit Branislav Ivanovic's arm in April has been remarkable, with the striker scoring 19 goals this season.

But Chelsea shackled Liverpool's chief tormentor in a performance which saw the Londoners outmuscle and overpower their opponents.

Rodgers' side, who topped the table on Christmas Day, are now in fifth after defeats by Manchester City and Chelsea, and the Merseysiders must hope Rodgers can guide his team to victory over Hull on New Year's Day to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish.

Liverpool could not have wished for a better start as Skrtel side-footed in at the near post. The defender reacted quicker than anyone in a blue shirt as Suarez nodded on Philippe Coutinho's free-kick.

Mourinho's mastery continues

  • Six of Chelsea's last eight Premier League wins against Liverpool have come under Jose Mourinho.
  • Liverpool have not started a new year in the Premier League top four since the 2008-09 season.

It was a free-kick awarded for a clumsy shin-high tackle by Eto'o on Jordan Henderson. The striker was fortunate to escape without further punishment and, to Liverpool's annoyance, he would later go on to make his presence felt in a number of ways.

Chelsea's response to going behind was to surge forward relentlessly.

Gary Cahill went a fraction wide with a bullet of a header, Hazard had a penalty appeal turned down, while an acrobatic save from Mignolet prevented Frank Lampard from finding the top corner.

The hosts were dominating the midfield and there was a sense of inevitability about Hazard's leveller. Although, arguably, the visitors could have cleared the danger as Oscar's pass ricocheted off Sakho's shin and fell kindly to the Belgian, who clinically found the top corner for his eighth goal of the season.

Liverpool still challengers - Rodgers

Hazard's virtuosity combined with the ballast provided by Lampard, David Luiz and Willian in the middle of the pitch forced Liverpool into uncharacteristic rash passes.

A second goal was no more than Chelsea deserved, with Oscar's cut back finding Eto'o, though Liverpool's goalkeeper should have dealt better with the Cameroonian's first-time shot across the goal.

The first half belonged to Chelsea, but, after the break, the visitors showed glimpses of the effervescence which had seen them score 13 goals in their last four games.

Sakho directed Jordan Henderson's chipped pass towards the woodwork, a Suarez half-volley forced Petr Cech into action and then came the first penalty appeal as John Terry clambered on top of Suarez.

In between a flurry of Liverpool chances, Mignolet came to his team's rescue, preventing Eto'o from grabbing his second of the match, but it was the visitors who finished the stronger.

An alert Cech dived low to stop Glen Johnson's dipping strike and, as the game neared a conclusion, Eto'o was fortunate to escape punishment after needlessly making contact with Suarez inside the box.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic (Cole - 30' )
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 08 Lampard (Mikel - 45' )
  • 24 Cahill Booked
  • 26 Terry Booked
  • 17 Hazard
  • 04 David Luiz Booked
  • 29 Eto'o (Torres - 87' )
  • 11 Oscar Booked
  • 22 Willian

Substitutes

  • 03 Cole
  • 05 Essien
  • 09 Torres
  • 10 Mata
  • 12 Mikel
  • 14 Schürrle
  • 23 Schwarzer

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson Booked (Iago Aspas - 83' )
  • 05 Agger
  • 21 Lucas
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 17 Sakho (K Touré - 90' )
  • 24 Allen (Smith - 60' )
  • 14 Henderson
  • 07 Suárez
  • 31 Sterling
  • 10 Coutinho

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 04 K Touré
  • 06 Luis Alberto
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 20 Cissokho
  • 44 Smith
  • 46 Rossiter
Ref: Howard Webb
Att: 41,614

Match Stats

Shots

11 8

On target

5 4

Corners

4 2

Fouls

17 17

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

90:00 +5:07 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

90:00 +3:49 Booking

Booking Oscar (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:10

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

90:00 +3:10

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:33

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +1:33

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

89:36 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Kolo Touré replaces Mamadou Sakho because of an injury.

89:30

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

89:00

Delay in match Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

88:22

Attempt saved. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

87:00

César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:00

Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

86:10

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

86:03 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Fernando Torres replaces Samuel Eto'o.

85:44

Delay in match Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea) because of an injury.

83:56

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

83:56

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:58 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Iago Aspas replaces Glen Johnson.

82:16

David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:16

Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

78:04 Booking

Booking Gary Cahill (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

77:58

Foul by Gary Cahill (Chelsea).

77:58

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

75:55

Oscar (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:55

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

74:14

Attempt missed. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Oscar.

73:22

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Petr Cech.

73:20

Attempt saved. Glen Johnson (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

70:36

César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:36

Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

70:00

Attempt missed. Oscar (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

68:51

Attempt blocked. David Luiz (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

67:51

Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:51

Foul by Martin Skrtel (Liverpool).

64:34

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:34

Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

63:37

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

63:37

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

62:25

Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

62:25

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

60:59

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

59:40

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

59:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Brad Smith replaces Joe Allen because of an injury.

58:30

Delay in match Joe Allen (Liverpool) because of an injury.

57:57

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

57:00

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a cross.

55:28

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Glen Johnson.

54:36

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

54:36

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53:01

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.

53:00

Attempt saved. Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

52:15

Attempt missed. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Samuel Eto'o.

51:29

Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Jordan Henderson following a set piece situation.

50:57

Foul by Ashley Cole (Chelsea).

50:57

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

49:42

Oscar (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:42

Foul by Daniel Agger (Liverpool).

49:02 Booking

Booking David Luiz (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

49:00

Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).

49:00

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

47:49

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

46:54

Delay in match Joe Allen (Liverpool) because of an injury.

46:48 Booking

Booking John Terry (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

46:22

Foul by John Terry (Chelsea).

46:22

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel replaces Frank Lampard.

45:00 +3:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1.

45:00 +1:35

Oscar (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00 +1:35

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

45:00 +0:59

Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).

45:00 +0:59

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:26

Attempt saved. Joe Allen (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

40:29

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

40:16

Delay in match Eden Hazard (Chelsea) because of an injury.

40:00 Booking

Booking Glen Johnson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

35:45

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

35:45

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

33:42 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1. Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Oscar.

29:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Ashley Cole replaces Branislav Ivanovic because of an injury.

29:07

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

28:00

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:00

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

27:34

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

26:47

Delay in match Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) because of an injury.

25:35

David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:35

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

24:41

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

23:37

Attempt missed. David Luiz (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Willian.

20:34

Offside, Chelsea. Petr Cech tries a through ball, but Samuel Eto'o is caught offside.

19:19

Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).

19:19

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:05

Hand ball by Willian (Chelsea).

16:57 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 1, Liverpool 1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner.

15:55

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

15:55

Foul by Daniel Agger (Liverpool).

14:09

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

14:09

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

13:05

David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:05

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

12:17

Offside, Liverpool. Joe Allen tries a through ball, but Philippe Coutinho is caught offside.

11:28

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.

11:21

Attempt saved. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Willian.

11:09

Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:09

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

10:28

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

10:28

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

9:19

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

9:19

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

7:49

Attempt missed. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Frank Lampard with a cross following a set piece situation.

7:20

Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

7:20

Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

5:38

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

5:38

Foul by Daniel Agger (Liverpool).

4:54

Foul by Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea).

4:54

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:00 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 0, Liverpool 1. Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner following a set piece situation.

2:59

Attempt blocked. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross.

2:52

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

1:50

Delay in match Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) because of an injury.

1:09

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

1:09

Foul by Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers