Iain Macintosh: Hard to see anyone stopping Chelsea
(Emre Can 9)
(Gary Cahill 14, Diego Costa 67)
There are no more tests left to pass.
Chelsea have been to the Etihad, to Old Trafford, to Goodison Park and to Anfield and they remain undefeated.
Manchester's representatives took a share of the points, Merseyside's took nothing at all.
Given Jose Mourinho's record over Arsene Wenger, a trip to the Emirates will hold no fear.
With every passing week, it becomes harder and harder to imagine them falling short.
Liverpool were not as poor last night as they have been on other occasions this season.
Indeed, there were moments when they looked more like last season's title challengers than they have been all campaign and they should have had a late penalty for Gary Cahill's handball.
But you don't get points for pluck and the Reds are now 15 points behind Mourinho's men.
Worse still, the first signs of dissent could be heard from the crowd as the public's patience with Brendan Rodgers began to expire.
Rodgers brought back the big names who had missed out in Madrid in midweek.
Emre Can was one of the few to survive the sweeping changes, but he proved his worth from the opening minute.
Liverpool's lack of goals has cost them this season, but so too has their lack of energy in the middle.
The German midfielder was something of an antidote.
His first-minute shot deflected off John Terry's leg and over the crossbar.
His ninth-minute shot clipped Terry, then Cahill and then went in.
The new boys have let Liverpool down this year, but Can displayed enough here to suggest that he might buck the trend.
It wasn't just his runs from midfield that aided the cause, it was his composure on the ball, especially when Chelsea were pressing.
Mourinho's team were typically excellent. Unlike last season's Liverpool, they do not seek to flood the opposition's half and dominate games.
They sit back and they control games, passing the ball between themselves until space opens up and they feel ready to pounce.
Stung by the goal, they responded quickly.
Liverpool struggled to deal with a corner and, not for the first time, Terry's powerful header was brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet, but Cahill was there to avenge his deflection earlier on and fire the ball just far enough over the line to activate the official's goal line technology devices.
It should have been Steven Gerrard's day for vengeance.
The Liverpool captain had spent the whole week enduring reminders of his fatal slip last season, but this wasn't to be his day.
His late snapshot from the outside the area brought a loud appeal from the Kop, but no penalty.
Cahill was a fortunate man. The ball clearly touched his arm.
Gerrard worked hard, he led by example, but he struggles to influence games the same way that he did as a younger man.
You sense that his time is running out.
Chelsea's time, it seems, is now.
Oscar, the Man of the Match against Queen Park Rangers last week was superb, but so was Cesar Azpilicueta, providing much needed width on the left.
However confident and ambitious Liverpool looked on the ball, Chelsea always looked slightly better.
While Mario Balotelli gave an acceptable performance, Diego Costa gave everything, duelling with Martin Skrtel all the way until his late withdrawal. By that time, he had already done the damage.
The game ebbed and flowed through the second half until the 67th minute when it was comprehensively settled by Costa.
Willian fed the ball to Azpilicueta who just kept the ball in play and then sent a cross into the near post.
Mignolet was alert to the danger and slapped the ball clear, but it found its way to Mourinho's £30-million ($61.5m) man and he is not the sort of striker to turn his nose up at a chance like that.
Rodgers made his changes, bringing Philippe Coutinho and Can off, but the Kop didn't like it one bit.
For the first time, they booed their manager.
Was this the sign of things to come? It depends whether Liverpool dwell on the result or the performance.
There are positives to be taken from this. There was an intensity and a fire that have been there all season.
If they play like this against normal teams, they'll move back up the table quickly.
But they have already lost five games and morale is beginning to sag. They have to turn this around.
As for Chelsea, there seems little hope now that anyone can stop them.
Mourinho, on a match-by-match basis and across the long term, has been exceptional.
How Rodgers would love to challenge him. But the Liverpool manager has more pressing problems right now.
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