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Cahill and Costa ensure Chelsea march on


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Goals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa gave Chelsea a thoroughly deserved victory over Anfield to pile the pressure on the chasing pack in the title race.

With Southampton and Manchester City kicking off later on Saturday, the Blues move temporarily seven points ahead of Ronald Koeman's side, whilst City could be as nine points behind Chelsea should they lose to Queens Park Rangers in the day's evening kick-off.

Liverpool took an early lead when Emre Can saw his strike take a massive deflection off of Cahill to leave Thibaut Courtois wrong-footed, but the Blues instantly hit back when Cahill made amends by firing home from close range.

After a series of half chances, mainly falling the way of Eden Hazard, Chelsea were finally able to score the goal their dominance warranted when Cesar Azpilicueta crossed for Costa to rifle home his tenth league goal of the season.

The hosts, looking a shadow of the side that slipped up en route to potential Premier League glory in this fixture at the tail end of last season, rarely troubled Courtois, and Chelsea were, ultimately, relatively comfortable in playing out the game's final throes.

To a man, José Mourinho's men were better than their Liverpool counterparts in every department, with Mario Balotelli his own trademark style of anonymous.

A three-point haul for the Blues means Liverpool are a massive fifteen behind Mourinho's charges, and even at this stage of the season their title tilt appears to be over following a masterclass of a Chelsea performance at Anfield for the second time this calendar year.

Cahill, subject to criticism from some sections of the Chelsea crowd for his habit of backing off when one-on-one, did little to appease said frustrations when his half-hearted attempt at a block allowed Can's strike to deflect past the stranded Courtois, though his contribution at the other end certainly went some way to restoring confidence in the England vice-captain.

B17DjQICEAAlQmr.jpgJust five minutes after that goal, from Cesc Fabregas' corner, John Terry rose highest to direct a header towards goal - Simon Mignolet did well to react, but the Belgian could only parry the ball towards Cahill who duly smashed home, albeit with the help of the Goalline Decision System.

Both teams had opportunities from that point onwards, though it was mainly Chelsea who looked the more threatening side as Hazard was foiled twice when well-placed by his own wayward finishing.

Courtois had to make a smart low save from Raheem Sterling's fizzing effort as Liverpool threatened shortly after the break but that was the last serious involvement involving the big Belgian as Chelsea tightened the noose.

Azpilicueta showed great composure to burst forward down the left and cross with the outside of his foot. Mignolet managed to half-parry the ball beyond the arriving Oscar, but the ball fell kindly for Costa to rifle home his first goal since returning from injury and hand the Blues both the initiative and eventually the spoils.

Liverpool had a shout for a penalty when Cahill appeared to handle a Steven Gerrard shot - though the defender's arms were arguably by his side, there was certainly contact and it was the sort of decision that is a tough call for referees.

But following the Blues' own horrendous luck when it comes to being awarded spot-kicks in recent weeks, there was certainly an element of karma involved as the Mourinho juggernaut goes marching on.

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