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Steven Gerrard salvages Liverpool's slim Champions League hopes

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It seems that a fairytale end to a fairytale career just won't come for Steven Gerrard. Failure to qualify for the Champions League and a shortage of playing time means that he may not have enjoyed his Liverpool swansong. Despite this, he is still going out with a bang.

Two goals in his last two have set up the veteran captain for an emotional send-off. It was never going to be an ordinary game between the two recent rivals. Liverpool, chasing a Champions League spot, gave respect to their opponents, lining up in a guard of honour for the new title holders. This time last year, they were close to earning the same hospitality.

That was where there love-in stopped. Cue more reminders of last year's failings, especially the modified 'Steven Gerrard, Gerrard' chant based on his infamous slip last year. He later admitted it was "not nice doing it".

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Maybe they were still asleep in the sixth minute, when John Terry found some free space in the box and nodded a Cesc Fabregas corner underneath Simon Mignolet.

It was unimpressive defending, with Rickie Lambert not knowing where his man was. I was reflective of the start, with Chelsea looking solid and keeping the ball. Liverpool began to grow into the game as the half went on.

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Liverpool started to get into the Chelsea half and box, with Glen Johnson over running and having to stab a shot which hit the side-netting. This was quickly followed up by Philippe Coutinho shooting straight at Thibaut Courtois and Raheem Sterling hitting wide. As time went on, Liverpool stayed in the game. Soon, their breakthrough game.

More bad defending, this time John Obi Mikel, on a rare start, losing Gerrard at the far post, leaving the Scouser to head home. His second header in two weeks, Gerrard was showing the Reds what they would be missing.

After the break, Liverpool flew out of the blocks. Coutinho again hit the side-netting. But soon, Willian showed why the Blues became champions through smash and grab when he flashed past the post. It would have been a good example of 'against the run of play'.

Soon after, the game became end-to-end. Both sides went up each other's ends. Fabregas went close twice and Skrtel put a cross well over. But the best moment of the half came when Gerrard was substitued. Both sets of fans rose to their feet to applaud a true legend of the English game. Especially after the amount of stick handed to Gerrard all game. 

Liverpool did not let the game end there. Coutinho's deflected effort left Courtois scrambling back across his line to smother. 18-year-old substitute Jerome Sinclair headed down to Jordan Henderson, but the Liverpool vice-captain's shot was deflected wide. Desperation told in injury time when Emre Can took a pot shot from an angle.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool
Chelsea

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