Chelsea boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification as Olivier Giroud’s first half header earned a 1-0 win over Liverpool.
Tottenham’s loss at West Brom on Saturday and Giroud’s fourth goal in five games, earning a win over Champions League finalists Liverpool, took Antonio Conte’s Blues two points behind their London rivals with two games to go.
The Reds have work to do to secure their place in Europe’s elite competition as an intense contest in stifling heat proved too much at the end of a week which saw Jurgen Klopp’s men advance to the Champions League final.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: “One month ago it was impossible to imagine to arrive at the end and fight for a place in the Champions League. Now there is hope. We are getting in every game three points. Our opponents are dropping points. But our future is not in our hands.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “I’m not shocked or surprised that happened today. If you asked what I wanted this morning when I woke up: nice and easy, 3-0 win, going home enjoying the sun and don’t care about Brighton and prepare already the (Champions League) final.”
17 - Since 2015/16, 🇫🇷 Olivier Giroud has scored 17 headed goals in the Premier League, more than any other player from the Top 5 European leagues (ahead of 🇵🇹Â Cristiano Ronaldo, 16). Specialist. pic.twitter.com/m6Vrpt7rhS— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 6, 2018
The Frenchman made it four goals in his last five games with a trademark header as he ends the season with a flourish.
Victor Moses turned Andy Robertson inside out before lifting in the sort of cross Giroud gobbles up. And Giroud did just that.
Liverpool were unbeaten in their previous six meetings with Chelsea. Victory for the Blues was their 50th top flight win over the Reds.
Boxing announcer Michael Buffer was at Stamford Bridge to read out the teams before kick-off – and got drenched for his troubles.
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois 7, Cesar Azpilicueta 7, Gary Cahill 7, Antonio Rudiger 7 Victor Moses 7, N’Golo Kante 7, Tiemoue Bakayoko 6, Cesc Fabregas 6, Marcos Alonso 6, Eden Hazard 6, Olivier Giroud 7. Substitutes: Willian (for Hazard, 86) 5, Davide Zappacosta (for Moses, 89) 5.
Liverpool: Loris Karius 6, Nathaniel Clyne 5, Dejan Lovren 5, Virgil van Dijk 6, Andrew Robertson 5, Trent Alexander-Arnold 5, Georginio Wijnaldum 5, James Milner 6, Sadio Mane 6, Mohamed Salah 5, Roberto Firmino 6. Substitutes: Jordan Henderson (for Clyne, 59) 6, Dominic Solanke: (for Robertson, 75) 5.
Chelsea v Huddersfield (Premier League, May 9)
Liverpool v Brighton (Premier League, May 13)