Demba Ba put Chelsea ahead in first-half stoppage-time when a slip by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard allowed the Senegal striker to beat Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in a one-on-one.

And with Liverpool in desperate search of an equaliser, Willian scored on the counter-attack in added on time to keep Chelsea, who face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, still in the hunt for an English and European double.

Third-placed Manchester City will close to within three points of the summit, with a game in hand on both the top two, if they win away to Crystal Palace later Sunday.