Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 2:0 Chelsea
Liverpool couldn't have wished for a better start when Fernando Torres pounced on a poor Chelsea side, scoring two goals and wiping out any thoughts on his recent lack of form and goal-drought.
The Spaniard wasn't at his best by far, but there was obviously no need because when a fine pass from the left by Dirk Kuyt found him, he got in from a tight angle, tormenting and beating John Terry as he is used to do, to give the Reds the lead in the 11th minute.
Apart from that goal through, both sides looked sloppy, slow-paced, feeling each other out and giving the ball away too easily and too often.
Chelsea enjoyed much more possession but were not able to break into the hosts' box, giving Pepe Reina little to do and drawing a poor picture of themselves, not able to capitalise.
End of the first half, things turned from bad to worse for the Blues (and from good to sweet for the Reds), Torres there to pounce on and beat Petr Cech once again when he twirled and curled one in from the left into the right side of the netting after Ashley Cole had lost the ball in sorry fashion between Kuyt and Raul Meireles, the latter producing a fine pass to the Red star-striker.
But the second half turned out everything else but comfortable for Liverpool, two goals to the good. Carlo Ancelotti's half-time talk seemed to have ignited something in the Blues because they came back hard, putting pressure on Liverpool.
Much missed in the first half, Didier Drogba came on for Salomon Kalou but looked to have made little impact at the start of the second half - Chelsea wasting and losing the ball again and again.
Reina didn't have to make a single save until the last half-hour when he tapped out a fine strike by Yuri Zhirkov - who had a woeful showing.
Minutes later, Pepe stopped Florent Malouda's right-footed strike off a Drogba cross, without knowing much about it it seemed, but still producing a great, crucial block-save.
It was just not meant to be for the London side, Liverpool covering well, at least two or three men around every blue player who had the ball, giving Chelsea little room so they couldn't do much with their dominance of possession.
The win is crucial for Roy Hodgson and his men, taking them to the top half of the Premier League for the first time since the opening day, with three wins on the trot and confidence growing.
Chelsea meanwhile still sit at the top of the table, the gap to United however reduced to just two points. This season's title race could end up being much more juicy than many thought it would be just a couple of weeks back...
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky; Meireles (Spearing 92), Lucas, Kuyt (Shelvey 84), Gerrard, Maxi; Torres (Ngog 88).
Subs not used: Hansen, Jovanovic, Wilson, Poulsen.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic (Bosingwa 70), Terry, Alex (booked 91), Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Zhirkov (booked 20, Sturridge 76); Kalou (Drogba 46), Anelka, Malouda.
Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Kakuta; McEachran.
1st half stats:
On target: 3-0
Possession: 40%-60% (after 18min)
2nd half stats:
On target: 2-3
Possession: 31%-69% (after 64min)
Sky Sports Stats:
Passing Success: 71%-82.4%
Territorial Advantage: 51.5%-48.5%
Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the match: Fernando Torres