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Johnson’s late winner sinks Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
England right back Glen Johnson grabbed a late winner with a superb solo effort as Liverpool beat title hopefuls Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to boost their chances of bagging a Champions League spot.
REUTERS - Chelsea’s faltering Premier League title challenge suffered another blow on Sunday when they lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool whose defender Glen Johnson struck the winner three minutes from time.
A second successive home defeat for Chelsea following their 5-3 loss to Arsenal left them 12 points behind leaders Manchester City after 12 matches of the season.
Chelsea fell behind when Maxi Rodriguez scored after 34 minutes but equalised when substitute Daniel Sturridge scored at the far post 10 minutes into the second half.
The game at Stamford Bridge appeared to be heading for a draw until former Chelsea full back Johnson found himself in space on the right and burst into the penalty area before unleashing a low shot into the corner of the net.
Liverpool climbed to sixth in the table, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
The game started with Fernando Torres, who signed for Chelsea from Liverpool for 50 million pounds ($79 million) in January, and Liverpool’s Andy Carroll on the bench.
After an opening half hour of end-to-end action played at a breakneck pace, Liverpool broke the deadlock.
Charlie Adam dispossessed John Obi Mikel on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area to set up an exchange of passes between Craig Bellamy and Luis Suarez and Maxi swept the ball over a diving Petr Cech into the far corner.
Bellamy, making only his second league start since returning to Liverpool, was at the heart of most of Liverpool’s first-half raids and Suarez put the erratic David Luiz under almost continual pressure every time Liverpool broke forward.
Suarez and Chelsea skipper John Terry, both the subject of investigations into allegations of racism, had contrasting halves, with Suarez causing Chelsea problems and Terry looking far from his old assured self.
Chelsea, though, looked livelier after the break when Sturridge, who made his England debut against Sweden on Tuesday, immediately added some pace to their attack and he equalised from close range following a surging run and cross from Florent Malouda.
Moments later Chelsea went close to a second but Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina kept his side level with a brilliant point-blank save from Branislav Ivanovic who flicked on a Didier Drogba free kick.
Malouda twice went close for Chelsea as Liverpool defended in depth but the visiting team suddenly took inspiration from the marauding Johnson who surged into the penalty area and stroked the ball past the despairing Terry into the corner of the net.