Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Four Things We Learned

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Liverpool's chances of finishing in the top-four of the Premier League this season are all but over as they drew 1-1 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Three points were the minimum needed for the Reds to keep track on fourth place Manchester United following their 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Things didn't go to plan when Chelsea captain John Terry gave his side the opener from a corner in the sixth minute.

Steven Gerrard had been at the centre of high praise from Blues boss Joe Mourinho in the lead up to the game and the Liverpool captain's header on the stroke of half-time made things level going into the break.

The away side had plenty of chances in the second half, with Philippe Coutinho just firing wide shortly into the second half, however, Liverpool could not find a way into Thibaut Courtois' goal.

The Merseyside club sit six points behind Manchester United in fifth with just two games to play and have to hope the Red Devils lose to Arsenal and Hull City as well as overturn a monumental goal deficit.

It was Gerrard's last appearance against a club that has provided him with plenty of highs and lows and there were several things learned about his side's performance.

Guard Should Fuel Motivation

It must have been tough for the Liverpool players to watch Chelsea walk out as champions.

It could have been the Reds last term and for the likes of Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel, who were monumental throughout the 2013/14 campaign, they had to watch the side who they finished above last year walk boldly onto the Stamford Bridge turf filled with pride.

Liverpool's league title drought has now extended to a quarter of a century, far too long for a club enriched with history beyond riches.

Stamford Bridge isn't renowned for crowd noise, however, it was rocking at 15.55 with Chelsea supporters cheering on their side's success.

Both Liverpool players and fans would have been jelous of their rivals' triumph, especially after being so close to achieving greatness a year ago.

However, it should give the Reds motivation for next season. To imagine the atmosphere of the Kop if Liverpool could win the title would be something else and would fill the side with pride that is almost near unimaginable.

Nice Gets You Nowhere

In the early stages of the game, Liverpool made a rapid start and hit Chelsea with fast attacks and moved the ball quickly.

Following their week off, the Blues were not accustomed to the pace of the game and saw the away side dominate possession.

In reaction, Chelsea levelled the playing field and began an aggressive tactic towards Liverpool - they were not kosher but did the trick.

Within two minutes, Cesc Fabregas lunged into Sterling with a bad challenge and was lucky to escape with just a yellow card. Following that, Branislav Ivanovic also hit Coutinho with a late tackle.

I'm not agreeing with bad tackles by no means, however, there's a reason why Chelsea have run away with the Premier League title. When things went against them, they reacted unfairly, and soon had things back on their side.

Minutes later, Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Willian were all running at the Liverpool defence at will and flipped the game on its head.

When Chelsea began dominating, Liverpool did not react. Instead, they played by the same book that had seen them go 1-0 down.

The Reds top the Premier League Fair Play league this term for the least number of fouls and bookings. Chelsea sit 14th and that's before it's updated following their four yellow cards on Sunday.

There's no coincidence why Chelsea have already sealed the title; they're not afraid to get dirty when things aren't going their way, unlike Liverpool.

Mario Balotelli's Number Is Up

When playing the league champions away from home in a game you must win, you really want your best players available.

Daniel Sturridge's absence this season has been difficult to replace and Rodgers has chopped and changed his number nine all campaign.

Rickie Lambert was given back-to-back starts following his effort against Queens Park Rangers last game and, although he tried desperately hard at Stamford Bridge, he did not quite have the class.

Lambert has been treated unfairly at Anfield and I don't think he's been match-fit all season due to his inactivity for large periods. However, his effort against Chelsea was sub-par and did not give his side a killer instinct in the final third.

Mario Balotelli's time at the Reds has been abysmal - even by his standards. The Italian has netted just four goals all term and his lacklustre performances have frustrated his manager, his team-mates and the fans.

Balotelli has at least been amongst the seven men sitting on the Reds bench throughout the season, but, he was not even picked to travel to west London.

For a £16 million signing, his efforts have been well below standard and he must be one to face the axe in the summer. When asked if Balotelli's Liverpool career was over at the end of the game, Rodgers replied it was about the team and not about the striker.

However, you could see "yes" written all over the Northern Irishman's face.

Standing Ovation Not Needed

Ten minutes from the final whistle, as Liverpool surged for a winner, Rodgers made one of his most baffling changes to date.

Off came Gerrad, the man who had given his side an equaliser, the man who is the club's top scorer this term, and on comes Lucas. As much as Lucas is favoured at Anfield, he is defensively minded and has netted just one Premier League goal throughout his career.

Rodgers claimed that he done it to give Gerrard a standing ovation. However, why would the 34-year-old want a standing ovation off the Stamford Bridge crowd? They mocked him all game and a couple of claps did not make up for the previous acts.

To get even, it would have been ideal for him to create or bag a second goal to hand his side a win and give Chelsea a first league loss at home this term.

As for the travelling Kopites, they did not want to see him go.

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Premier League
Jose Mourinho
Steven Gerrard
Eden Hazard

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