Chelsea Win Throws Open Battle For Top-Four And Champions League Football Next Season
The Blues are right back in contention for a Champions League spot for next season after an Olivier Giroud headed goal secured a vital 1-0 win against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The French striker scored his fifth goal in all competitions in the 32nd minute to throw wide open the race for a top-four spot, a point in the match would have guaranteed Liverpool a place in the top four.
However, all Liverpool need is a victory against Brighton on the final day of the season to guarantee themselves Champions League football next season at the expense of Chelsea.
The match at Stamford bride started with the visitor’s dominating play and creating better goalscoring chances, Thibaut Courtois had to pull off some good saves to keep at bay three efforts on goal from Sadio Mane in the first half, while Mohamed Salah was adjudged to have dived in Chelsea’s vital area in search of cheap penalty kick and he was booked by the referee for his failed acting efforts.
Chelsea gradually came into the game and began to assert themselves as the host looked fresher and the team more likely to score. The pressure from Chelsea finaaly yielded dividend in the 31st minute when a sumptuous cross by Victor Moses from the right was headed into the net by French striker Olivier Giroud, who started up front in the absence of the injured Alvaro Morata.
On resumption of the second period, Chelsea almost doubled their lead in the second period, but Antonio Rudiger was rightly adjudged to have been offside in the 56th minute, Chelsea continued to dominate play and create better goal scoring chances with Marcos Alonso volleying wide late on.
Jurgen Klopp threw caution to the wind in an effort to at least pick a point from the match by introducing Dominic Solanke for Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson for Nathaniel Clyne, but their best effort could not stop the Blues from bagging an all-important win in the battle for a top-four finish.
There were no more goals scored as Conte’s men kept alive their hopes of finishing in the top four while Liverpool must defeat Brighton next Sunday to secure a top-four spot for Champions League football next season.