While Manchester City continued their winning ways earlier in the day, Liverpool faced the club they have struggled to beat at home in recent years.
During a frenetic first half, the Reds played with the maturity and control that this vintage has established as a norm.
This side shows no panic, no pressure. As the half ended in a 0-0 tense deadlock, Liverpool looked unfazed going in for the break.
Upon returning to the pitch, the Reds rallied to score two goals in little more than two minutes to break Chelsea wide open in front of the Kop. Despite dropping 10 men behind the ball at times, the London side simply could not live with the Reds.
Both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored to send an already ablaze Anfield into absolute elation. Mane’s breakthrough had been coming, but Salah’s second blew the roof off the ground. Anfield erupted in limbs and lyrics.
The result may ultimately be all that matters, but the manner was impressive. Shortly after doubling their advantage, Liverpool could smell the win. They pressed for a third so aggressively that they nearly conceded, giving two gilt-edged chances to Eden Hazard, who failed to convert either.
Everything but the score and that strike will fade, even Andrew Robertson slipping in a strange nod to ghosts of the last title challenge that faltered. Should the Reds win their first title in 29 years, Salah’s goal will be this season’s signature moment.
Here are four findings from the match.
It was a moment. Mo Salah collected a long, driving pass from Virgil van Dijk on the right sideline, glided past the full-back and lashed a laser-guided goal of world-class quality into the top, far-post corner. The finish was nothing short of sensational.
Salah seemed on a mission against his old club, getting more touches than any player in blue. He continued to drive at Chelsea’s defence with a wearing tenacity, eventually creating more chances than any other player with four.
Yet, his Goal of the Season showed, once again, he is a man for the moment. All he was missing was a cape.
While Salah’s strike may have stolen the show, Sadio Mane continues to provide a decisiveness that cannot be denied.
When Salah has suffered this season, Mane has made the difference. It is no surprise that he opened the scoring. His headed goals now arrive with regularity.
Against Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, the Senegalese international attacked relentlessly, wearing him out over the full 90.
Having already headed home the first goal, after drifting in behind the full-back, Mane continued to surge past him repeatedly, causing all kinds of trouble. He nearly added to his second-in-the-league total on multiple occasions.
Despite losing only a single match, Liverpool’s midfield has at times frustrated this campaign. Getting the right balance and tempo has provided a challenge for Jurgen Klopp.
Preparing the proper personnel for particular matches has been complicated by both fitness and readiness. All of a sudden, answers seem more readily available than ever.
The growth of Fabinho to a nearly undroppable deep pivot has opened other possibilities and combinations. Married with Naby Keita’s late surge of sharpness, the Reds’ midfield makes the link between both boxes more dynamic and direct.
It has also allowed Jordan Henderson to flourish in a more familiar box-to-box role in recent matches, as well as Gini Wijnaldum.
Joel Matip arrived on Merseyside with high hopes and began his Reds career with some credit. However, his performances faltered slightly and fighting for fitness did not help.
The Cameroonian centre-half has, though, proven remarkably reliable since starting with regularity during this run-in.
The defender can still divide opinion, but there is no question that he has taken the opportunity to play alongside Virgil van Dijk with both hands. He has produced multiple performances of note.
While he managed his moments with Eden Hazard, for the most part, he has been holding his own and providing more than suitable security as the third option.