Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are all but over after failing to get the victory they needed against newly crowned Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
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Steven Gerrard’s goal late in the first half rescued a point for the visitors after John Terry had broken the deadlock in the fourth minute but the Reds are now six points behind Manchester United with just two games remaining and have an inferior goal difference.
As expected Liverpool gave the Blues a guard of honour prior to kick-off in acknowledgement of Jose Mourinho’s side clinching the title with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace last weekend.
The big team news from the hosts was the inclusion of youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was handed a full senior debut in midfield alongside John Obi Mikel, while Filipe Luis came in for Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back.
John Terry headed home from a Cesc Fabregas corner to become the highest scoring defender in Premier League history and gave the champions a dream start to the game after just four minutes.
The Spaniard, who is closing in on Thierry Henry’s assist record, was slightly fortunate not to be sent-off after pulling down Raheem Sterling as he was already on a booking for scything down the same player in the first minute.
The Reds gradually improved as the first half wore on and inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, whose slip cost his side the league title last season, silenced the home fans as he nodded in the equaliser a minute before the break for a deserved equaliser for the visitors.
With the away side needing the victory to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish, it made for an exciting start to the second half as Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana both went close to giving Liverpool the lead.
In a nice touch from Mourinho and the majority of the home fans towards the end of the game, as they joined in the applause for Gerrard as he left the pitch as a sign of respect for the veteran midfielder, who has played his last ever game at the Bridge.
Liverpool pressed for the winner late on but were unable to find a way past a stubborn Blues defence and had to settle for a point that doesn’t really help their push for a top-four finish.