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BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
reports from Stamford Bridge
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Liverpool boss Gerrard Houllier
"We deserved what we got. We gifted them two goals"
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Chelsea's Eidur Gudjohnsen
"The game came at the perfect moment for us"
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Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Chelsea crush poor 'Pool
Chelsea celebrate after Westerveld's own goal
Chelsea celebrate after Westerveld's own goal
Chelsea 3-0 Liverpool

Chelsea averted talk of a Stamford Bridge crisis as they comprehensively defeated Liverpool to move out of the relegation zone in the Premiership table.

While Chelsea started the game in the bottom three, a win for Liverpool could conceivably have elevated them to second place, but the falsity of those positions was exposed as the Blues exploited another impotent and error-ridden Liverpool display.

Gerard Houllier's side are now six points of the Premiership pace having only won three of their last 13 league games, and they never looked remotely like ending their record of failing to win at Chelsea since 1989.

In his first home game in charge, Claudio Ranieri made five changes from the side that crashed out of the Uefa Cup on Thursday. Ed de Goey, Dennis Wise and Marcel Desailly returned from injury, while Samuele Dalla Bona, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Albert Ferrer made their first Premiership starts.

Michael Owen had a difficult afternoon
Tore Andre Flo, Christian Panucci, Winston Bogarde, Jody Morris and Carlo Cudicini were all dropped and leg-break victim Roberto di Matteo won't play again this season.

Liverpool welcomed back Nicky Barmby, Jamie Carragher, Christian Ziege and Emile Heskey, who replaced Robbie Fowler. Patrik Berger and Bernard Diomede, who both played against Rapid Bucharest midweek, were not included in the squad.

After initially uninspiring exchanges, Chelsea were gifted the lead after 10 minutes, as Sander Westerveld continued his poor start to the season.

Gianfranco Zola put over an inswinging corner and under pressure from Dennis Wise, the Dutch 'keeper sliced his attempted punch into his own net.

Lead doubled

Within a minute, Chelsea had doubled their advantage. Gudjohnson broke on the right of the area, slipped a pass just inside Stephane Henchoz and Jimmy Floyd Hallelbaink was on hand to stroke a side-footed effort into the roof of the net.

Liverpool finally sprung to life after 19 minutes when Michael Owen opted to go it alone, but his shot was beaten out by De Goey.

However, within seconds, they almost presented Chelsea with another goal as Steven Gerrard cut out Gudjohnsen's errant shot and sent it inches wide of his own goal.

Gudjonsen's movement continued to cause Liverpool problems, and Graeme Le Saux should have done better from his astute pass after 38 minutes.

Liverpool seemed shell-shocked by their nightmare start and looked even more ragged than against Rapid. A Dietmar Hamann shot that flew well wide after 41 minutes was the best they could muster.
Dennis Wise and Michael Owen
Dennis Wise made a happy return

Wise and Gerrard were both lucky to escape with cautions after they clashed angrily at the start of the second half, as Liverpool struggled to find any rhythm.

A Nicky Barmby effort that screwed just wide after a dreadful Dalla Bona clearance was the best they could manage, however.

Chelsea were happy to sit back and hit on the break, and they did so after 71 minutes. Gerrard's pass to Henchoz fell short lost and Gudjohnson was alert enough to capitalise; rounding Westerveld and rolling the ball into the empty net.

Robbie Fowler had been introduced minutes previously, and he might have pulled a goal back after 73 minutes, but he dragged his shot wide when through.

However, Liverpool were down and out by then, as Ranieri celebrated a winning start in his first home match as Chelsea boss.

Chelsea: de Goey, Leboeuf, Desailly, Hasselbaink, Wise, Le Saux, Melchiot, Ferrer, Gudjohnsen, Dalla Bona, Zola. Subs: Babayaro, Flo, Morris, Cudicini, Aleksidze.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Ziege, Babbel, Heskey, Owen, Hyypia, Hamann, Gerrard, Barmby, Carragher. Subs: Fowler, Murphy, Heggem, Arphexad, Traore.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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