Liverpool 5 Chelsea 3
Chelsea were thumped 5-3 at Anfield and now need to just a point on Sunday at Stamford Bridge against Wolves to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
While the eight-goals might signal a game of attacking flare by both sides, it really was a game of silly, avoidable errors that resulted in the ball crossing the line.
The Londoners were 3-0 down at one point and looking at a humiliation.
The introduction of Christian Pulisic salvaged pride for the boys from SW6 as the US winger inspired a mini revival before a sucker punch knocked the stuffing out of them.
After an even opening period of possession the first effort fell to the visitors, on eight minutes, when Mason Mount saw a glancing header inch over Alisson’s crossbar from close range.
But when Chelsea concede. Goal, inevitably it’s due to a defensive error. In this case on 24 minutes, Willian was careless with the ball allowing Naby Keita to nick the ball off the wide man, and thump a venomous 20-yarder that arrowed passed Kepa to give the champions the lead.
Mount thought he had scored on 32 minutes but VAR adjudged he was offside.
Liverpool were rewarded with a free- kick despite Mateo Kovacic winning the ball. But up stepped Trent Alexander-Arnold, on 38 minutes who bent the right-footed free kick around the wall and crashed it past Kepa who failed to move.
Defensive frailties from a corner allowed Liverpool to take advantage and with three minutes on the clock Gorginho Wijnaldum smashed home from close range.
But Olivier Giroud can be relied upon to keep going and when Allison punched a Willian effort into the air, the France striker lurched his long left leg to tuck the ball home to reduce the deficit to two goals.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Ex-Chelsea winger cut through the Chelsea rearguard five minutes after the restart, but he produced a hopeless left-footer that went well wide of Kepa’s goal.
The humiliation was compounded on 55 minutes when a regulation, unchallenged cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold was met firmly on the head by Roberto Firmino who directed the ball high and wide of Kepa.
Giroud was replaced by Tammy Abraham, with Willian and Mount replaced by Callum-Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic on 59 minutes.
Chelsea were instantly rewarded when The Us winger zipped through the Liverpool defence before setting up Abraham to easily tuck home to score their second.
It was Abraham’s 15th league goal of the season.
Pulisic had a golden chance to,score two minutes, late - beating the offside trap, he cheated the ball down, but screwed the ball past Allison’s right post.
However with 18 minutes to go, Hudson-Odoi raced clear on the right, crossed to Pulisic who swivelled 180 degrees before thumping the ball past Allison to make it 4-3.
But with the Blues failing to take advantage of a free-kick, Liverpool broke free allowing substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain to powerfully side foot home to make it 5-3.
Chelsea, Kepa, James, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Alonso, Zouma, Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Giroud
Subs: Christensen, Abraham, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Caballero, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Tomori, Emerson
Liverpool, Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salam, Firmino, Mane,
Subs, Lovren, Milner, Adrian, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Lallana, Shaqiri, Origi, Jones
Referee: Andre Marriner