Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea: Champions League race heads to the final day of the season as Frank Lampard's side edged out in thrilling Anfield affair

Matt Debono

Chelsea will have to wait until the final day of the season to secure Champions League football after they were beaten 5-3 in an enthralling encounter against Liverpool at Anfield. 

Frank Lampard's side needed just one point to claim a top-four spot but they fell just short against Jurgen Klopp's side in an entertaining, high-scoring affair on Merseyside.

Goals from Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum put the Premier League champions in the ascendency in the first-half.

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Olivier Giroud pulled one back in added time in the first-half to give Frank Lampard's side hope. 

Roberto Firmino extended the lead back to 4-1 but the introduction of Christian Pulisic saw the American bag an assist for Tammy Abraham and get a goal for himself as Chelsea looked to produce a stunning comeback at Anfield.

But Alex Oxlade Chamberlain made sure there was no comeback as he finished off a counter-attack with six minutes to go.

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Despite a bright opening 15 minutes from Chelsea, who should've taken the lead through Mason Mount inside eight minutes after he headed over from close range, Liverpool took the lead two minutes before the half hour mark through Naby Keita.

Willian lost the ball facing his own goal and the Reds midfielder struck a superb effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga into the top right-hand corner to put the hosts ahead.

Four minutes later, Mount had the ball in the back of the net as he was slipped through in behind the Liverpool defence and cooly slotted past Alisson, but VAR ruled his goal out for offside.

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It controversial fashion, Klopp's side doubled their lead in the 38th minute as Trent Alexander-Arnold scored directly from a free-kick on the edge of the area, leaving Arrizabalaga unmoved. But the 'foul' leading up to the free-kick shouldn't have been given as Mateo Kovacic clearly won the ball but Andre Marriner blew up for a foul on Sadio Mane. 

Defensively Chelsea have been shambolic this season and Wijnaldum extended the lead to three nil from a corner as he volleyed into the roof of the net from close range.

Olivier Giroud pulled one back in first-half stoppage time as he stabbed in on the line after Alisson made a fine initial save to deny Willian. 

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Salah had a chance to restore Liverpool's three goal advantage five minutes into the second-half as he found himself in on goal but he fluffed his effort and struck it wide. 

But in the 55th minute the Reds made it 4-1 through Roberto Firmino, who netted his first league goal at Anfield this season as he headed home from Alexander-Arnold's pin-point cross.

Lampard made a triple change which saw Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi enter and within minutes Chelsea reduced the deficit back to two. 

Pulisic produced a fine run, slaloming his way through the hosts' defence and he passed it across to Abraham who tapped home.

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Pulisic had a glorious chance to make it 4-3 minutes later as Reece James found him in behind the Liverpool backline, but the American could only fire his effort wide of the far post.

The 21-year-old did though in the 73rd minute as he continued to proved to be Chelsea's star man. Hudson-Odoi found him in the box and the American controlled it and fired into the top-right to put the Blues within one goal of the hosts having been 4-1 down.

However Oxlade Chamberlain sealed the win for Liverpool in the 84th minute as he finished off a counter-attack to fire past Kepa at the back post.

It means Chelsea will head into the final day of the season needing a point against Wolves at Stamford Bridge to ensure they secure top-four without relying on results elsewhere.

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