LONDON, (Reuters) – Chelsea returned to form with a powerful 2-0 win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge to move two points clear at the top of the Premier League yesterday.
Second-half goals from French duo Nicolas Anelka and substitute Florent Malouda settled an absorbing contest high on commitment but lacking in clearcut chances.
Chelsea, who suffered its first defeat of the season at Wigan last weekend before an unconvincing Champions League victory in Cyprus, moved to 21 points, two clear of champions Manchester United who drew 2-2 with Sunderland on Saturday.
“After this match I think we have resolved our problem, it was not a big problem,” Chelsea manager Carlo Ancellotti, who had harsh words for his players in the past week, told reporters.
“We carried out what we had prepared before the game and for that I’m happy.”
Liverpool, who have now lost three league games compared with only two defeats last season, slipped out of the top four behind Arsenal who enjoyed a scintillating 6-2 home victory over Blackburn Rovers.
West Ham United needed a late equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at home to 10-man Fulham but they remained in the relegation zone while Everton drew 1-1 at home with Stoke City.
Ancellotti demanded an improvement and he got it, although the Italian would have been concerned when Liverpool dominated the opening 10 minutes with crisp passing.
Liverpool, also needing a quick response after a shabby midweek Champions League defeat by Fiorentina, failed to test Chelsea’s second-choice keeper Hilario until six minutes from halftime when Fernando Torres headed straight at the Portuguese.
Chelsea had taken a grip on proceedings by then with Michael Essien stamping his authority in midfield.