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Steven Gerrard gives Chelsea one final reminder before his Liverpool exit

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

Published 11/05/2015

Using his head: Stephen Gerrard equalises for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge
Using his head: Stephen Gerrard equalises for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge

The 185th goal of Steven Gerrard's Liverpool career was not one to put alongside all those last-gasp game-changers of old, but it was another reminder of just how much he will be missed at the club he has served for so long.

As Brendan Rodgers pointed out afterwards, his skipper has scored the important goals in both of Liverpool's last two games and now has just two more matches in the red No 8 shirt before he calls it a day to head to LA Galaxy.

Yesterday was remarkable for the ripple of applause around Stamford Bridge when Gerrard was substituted with 11 minutes left in a stadium that is consumed with baiting the Liverpool captain.

It was led by Jose Mourinho, who tried to sign Gerrard three times - once at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He was not to be persuaded.

The applause was a strange moment given the animosity between the two clubs' supporters which otherwise went on unchecked. It was hard to know what that gesture meant in the grand scheme of things and you got the feeling that there would have been much less of it if Chelsea were still involved in a title race.

It was the last time Gerrard would go head-to-head with John Terry too, another former England captain and a player with whom his career has been entwined. Seven months younger than Gerrard, Terry is readying himself for another season as a Premier League captain and he scored again against Liverpool, making him the highest scoring defender in the league's 23-year history.

Terry's opening goal, a header after five minutes, was one thing but it was a brilliantly-timed penalty-box tackle late in the game on the powerful Jordon Ibe which summarised his great season.

Liverpool have as good as lost that last Champions League place to Manchester United. They need a six-point and 14-goal swing to secure fourth place now and even the ever-optimistic Rodgers was in no mood to apply the power of positive thought.

After the pre-match guard of honour from Liverpool, there was a strange start to the game when Cesc Fabregas kicked Raheem Sterling on the ankle with the kind of tackle that might have been a dismissal. Andre Marriner got himself in a muddle, getting out a red card first for John Obi Mikel, then a yellow before he corrected himself and booked Fabregas.

Later, Rodgers would say that Fabregas should have been dismissed for the tackle in a press conference in which he was scarcely able to conceal his despondency at how the season is finishing for Liverpool.

The Chelsea goal came soon after. Rickie Lambert was badly static and allowed Terry to jump over him and head the ball in direct from a Fabregas corner.

Mourinho made five changes from the team that beat Crystal Palace with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the 19-year-old Lewisham lad from the Chelsea academy, promoted for his first league start.

Later, Mourinho said that he would give a chance to the Under-21s' Nathan Ake and Isaiah Brown in next weekend's game against West Bromwich Albion.

Against Sunderland at home on the last day of the season, Mourinho pledged to play his best side which does not bode well for Dick Advocaat's team if they need points to survive then.

Gerrard did not have the happiest of times in the first half. There was an unfortunate tumble when he tried to tackle Fabregas and the usual frustrations trying to get Liverpool going. Then, from nowhere, he arrived at the back post to head in a Jordan Henderson free-kick having been completely unmarked.

It was not the sort of goal that Chelsea usually concede. There were no exuberant celebrations from Gerrard. It wasn't one of those goals.

After half-time there was a much better performance from Liverpool and they had the best of the second half, although too few chances created to win it.

The best opportunity fell to Philippe Coutinho on 49 minutes, but the Brazilian missed the target.

Latterly, Rodgers brought on teenagers Jerome Sinclair (18) and Ibe (19) the former of whom was Liverpool's youngest player of all time when he made his debut at 16 and six days in 2012.

An indication, perhaps, of where the Reds manager's thoughts are for next season. The Champions League will not be a concern this time.

CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma (Cahill 35), Terry, Filipe Luis, Loftus-Cheek (Matic 60), Mikel, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Remy (Cuadrado 84)

Subs not used: Aké, Drogba, Azpilicueta, Beeney

Goal: Terry 5

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Johnson, Henderson, Gerrard (Lucas 79), Coutinho, Sterling, Lambert (Sinclair 68), Lallana (Ibe 71)

Subs not used: K Touré, Moreno, Allen, Ward

Goal: Gerrard 44

Bookings: Chelsea: Ivanovic, Filipe Luis, Mikel, Fabregas

Liverpool: Skrtel, Lambert, Lallana

Man of match: Steven Gerrard (pictured)

Referee: Andre Marriner (Birmingham)

Belfast Telegraph

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