Liverpool gained some retribution for their FA Cup final defeat by beating Chelsea 4-1 in an eventful Premier League encounter at Anfield.
The result means that the Reds are still capable of overhauling seventh-placed rivals Everton on the final day while Roberto Di Matteo’s side will finish sixth.
Luis Suarez conjured the opener with a mazy run before playing it off Michael Essien for an own goal, but it was John Terry at fault shortly after when his slip allowed Jordan Henderson through for a second.
Daniel Agger then headed home from a corner and only Stewart Downing’s limp penalty miss just before the break prevented a 4-0 half-time advantage for the hosts.
A sloppy Ramires goal after the break restored some Chelsea hope but Jonjo Shelvey ruthlessly punished Ross Turnbull’s error on the hour with a strike that broke the visitors’ resistance.
Liverpool forged the first chance; Suarez outfoxing Terry and running into space, but the Uruguayan’s shot was well wide.
Andy Carroll took his turn next, looking to produce the spectacular when he attempted a delicate chip from outside the area that drifted slightly off target.
Chelsea came back moments later, with poor marking from a corner allowing Branislav Ivanovic an opportunity to head at goal, with the Serb nodding Florent Malouda’s delivery against the bar.
The Reds, however, were the ones to break the deadlock, as Suarez glided down the right before playing it off Essien and into the net.
Terry’s evening got worse five minutes later when he slipped comically at a crucial moment, allowing Henderson to seize a through-ball, advance into space and slot calmly home.
With the Blues looking totally absent, the misery kept coming. Liverpool earned a corner and Carroll evaded Terry, nodding across the box to the waiting Agger, who made no mistake as a rout loomed.
The Blues captain continued his malaise and was lucky not to be further punished when he unwittingly passed to Carroll in space, but the striker’s shot was saved by Turnbull.
Chelsea had a rare chance to break and hit the bar when Torres darted into the area before unleashing a heavy effort that clanged against the woodwork.
Liverpool, though, continued to dominate, with Downing encouraged to try for his first league goal in some style, only for his spectacular strike to come back off the bar.
Chelsea’s horror show continued as Ivanovic inexplicably dug into Carroll with an elbow in the area, costing a booking and a penalty, but Downing limply rolled the spot-kick against the post as half-time arrived.
Despite their submissive display, Chelsea got one back within five minutes of the restart as Ramires’ touch put Malouda’s delivery past a flailing Pepe Reina.
But the visitors’ 15-minute revival was quashed when Turnbull mishit a clearance into Shelvey’s path and the young Liverpool midfielder blasted home from range to restore a three-goal cushion.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku spurned a chance for a Chelsea consolation, the youngster failing to score a header from point-blank range after a good save from Reina.
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