Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool: Jose Mourinho on the brink as Coutinho magic seals win for Reds
Jose Mourinho's position as Chelsea boss appears ever more precarious after Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool inflicted Chelsea's sixth defeat in 11 Barclays Premier League games.
Philippe Coutinho scored two fine goals after Ramires had given Chelsea a fourth-minute lead to pile more pressure on Mourinho, who only in May won his third Premier League title.
And Christian Benteke's third allowed Jurgen Klopp to celebrate a second victory in his fifth game as Liverpool boss since replacing Brendan Rodgers.
It left Mourinho pondering his future and further perceived injustices at Stamford Bridge.
Klopp and Mourinho each berated the officials from their technical areas, the Chelsea boss treading carefully given his recent disciplinary run-ins with the Football Association.
Mourinho had the most legitimate complaint, though, when Lucas avoided a second yellow card for a challenge on Ramires with more than 20 minutes to go and the score 1-1.
Coutinho's second followed and Mourinho tried to lift his team amid chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning" from the vocal visiting support, who were able to enjoy Benteke's strike.
Chelsea now have one win in eight games and Mourinho, who was subject to the first managerial vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich's 12-year ownership on October 5, will be wary of what the future holds.
Abramovich was absent from Stamford Bridge so did not hear the defiant and supportive chants from the home faithful as Chelsea's season slipped deeper into crisis.
Diego Costa passed a late fitness test on a rib injury to start for Chelsea, who made a fine start when Ramires headed in Cesar Azpilicueta's cross.
Ramires this week extended his Chelsea contract until June 2019 - in line with his manager's.
Liverpool were coming more and more into the game, but the transition from defence into attack was not swift enough for Klopp's liking.
Adam Lallana stretched to reach a James Milner cross but could only shoot straight at Asmir Begovic and Klopp was frustrated John Terry was not penalised for handball. It would have been harsh.
Referee Mark Clattenburg also gave Emre Can only a ticking off, rather than a caution, for a reckless lunge on Willian.
Chelsea were playing on the break, with Liverpool the more inventive.
Lucas had a header saved from Milner's cross before, in added time, Coutinho's body swerve wrong footed Ramires and his left-footed curling shot soared in.
Chelsea heads dropped and Mourinho had to lift them at the interval, but Liverpool resumed where they had left off.
Gary Cahill was subject of a muted handball appeal and shakily conceded a corner.
Klopp complained repeatedly about decisions to fourth official Lee Mason and Mourinho pointed out his recent disciplinary run-ins.
Kenedy replaced the ineffective Eden Hazard and immediately tore through and shot narrowly wide.
Klopp turned to Benteke, but might have been down to 10 men only for Lucas, who had been booked earlier in the half for persistent fouling, to avoid a second caution for a challenge on Ramires.
Mourinho sarcastically applauded the decision which brought Chelsea's entire bench to their feet.
Mignolet back-pedalled to save Oscar's effort from near halfway, but it was Coutinho who struck once more as his shot from the edge of the area found the corner.
Begovic saved with his feet to deny Alberto Moreno as Liverpool came close to a third, which came when Benteke struck as Cahill and Terry backed off.
Mourinho v Klopp
Jose Mourinho failed to get the victory he needed to ease the mounting pressure on him at Chelsea as the Blues were beaten 3-1 at home by Liverpool.
The victory was Jurgen Klopp's first in the league since becoming Liverpool boss and the German will hope the win can spark of revival of confidence amongst his own struggling squad.
We look at how the two managers fared at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa was passed fit to start up front but Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic were both dropped, with Ramires and John Obi Mikel starting in central midfield. Christian Benteke was left on the bench for Liverpool, meaning Roberto Firmino was handed the role of lone striker in a 4-2-3-1.
After scoring early, Chelsea dropped off in the first half, happy to concede possession to Liverpool and hit them on the break. It was a cautious approach, particularly at home, and they paid the price when Philippe Coutinho equalised just before the interval. Liverpool seemed determined to attack down the flanks early on where they overloaded Chelsea's full-backs and fired crosses into the box but without Benteke, there was nobody to attack the ball. Coutinho's goal on the stroke of half-time came when James Milner turned down the opportunity to cross and instead worked the ball inside and their more direct style worked much better in the second half.
Mourinho moved Eden Hazard out to the left at the start of the second half but the change had little effect and the out-of-sorts winger was substituted for the 19-year-old Kenedy in the 59th minute. Klopp brought on Benteke in the second period for Milner and the move paid dividends, as the Belgian laid on Coutinho for his second goal and then put the result beyond doubt with a clinical finish eight minutes from time.
Mourinho kept his emotions in check when Chelsea opened the scoring early on, signalling a modest wave to the home crowd, who had been chanting his name just moments before. Klopp simply held out his hands in bewilderment as Ramires nodded past Simon Mignolet but the German cut an agitated figure during the opening half an hour, complaining to fourth official Lee Mason and regularly berating Milner and Nathaniel Clyne down his right flank. Klopp twice raged at Mason after handball appeals were turned down and after the second outburst Mourinho pointedly asked the fourth official, "If I do the same?" The Blues boss soon had his say, however, as Mark Clattenburg spared Lucas a second yellow card, with Mourinho sarcastically clapping the referee. Klopp wildly celebrated his side's second and third goals while Mourinho stared ahead in stunned disbelief.
This defeat may have significant ramifications for Mourinho, who has now overseen six defeats in the league already this season. Klopp outsmarted the Portugese and will hope this impressive result can kickstart his reign at Anfield.
ASMIR BEGOVIC: Slow to get down to Benteke's third but could do little about the other two Liverpool goals. 5 (out of 10)
KURT ZOUMA: Looked uncomfortable at full-back. 5
GARY CAHILL: Turned too easily for Coutinho's second and backed off Benteke for the third. 5
JOHN TERRY: Struggled with Benteke and still unable to find last season's form. 5
CESAR AZPILICUETA: Solid going forward but could not handle Coutinho. 5
JOHN OBI MIKEL: Gave away a number of fouls and sloppy in possession. 4
RAMIRES: Put Chelsea in front. One of Chelsea's better performers. 7
WILLIAN: Worked hard down the right and looked dangerous going forward. 7
OSCAR: Almost scored a brilliant 45-yard strike but otherwise quiet. 6
EDEN HAZARD: Struggled to make an impact. Chelsea's star man out of sorts again. 5
DIEGO COSTA: Offered a physical presence but never really got the better of Skrtel and Sakho. 6
KENEDY (for Hazard, 59): Struggled to get into the game. 5
CESC FABREGAS (for Mikel, 70): Made little impact and looks short of confidence. 6
RADAMEL FALCAO (for Azpilicueta, 76): Hardly troubled Liverpool's defence. 5
SIMON MIGNOLET: Did well to palm away Oscar's audacious 45-yard strike in the second half. 6
NATHANIEL CLYNE: Dynamic performance down Liverpool's right flank. 6
MAMADOU SAKHO: Growing in confidence under Klopp. An impressive display. 8
MARTIN SKRTEL: Kept Costa quiet with an assured performance. 7
ALBERTO MORENO: Allowed Ramires an easy header for the opening goal.
LUCAS: Sloppy passing and lucky not to be sent off with a second yellow card. 5
EMRE CAN: Ludicrous tackle on Willian in the first half could have cost his side. 5
JAMES MILNER: Not one of his best games. Substituted in the second half. 5
PHILIPPE COUTINHO: Changed the game with two brilliant strikes. Star man. 9
ADAM LALLANA: Creative but struggled to penetrate. 6
FIRMINO: Looked unsuited to the lone striker role and was eventually replaced. 6
CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (for Milner, 64): Laid on Coutinho's second and scored the third. 8
JORDON IBE (for Firmino, 76): Worked hard in the latter stages. 5
DEJAN LOVREN (for Lallana, 91): Came on too late to make an impact. 5
Belfast Telegraph Digital