Chelsea end Liverpool treble hopes with FA Cup fifth round victory

Chelsea end Liverpool treble hopes with FA Cup fifth round victory

Recalled Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalga pulled off a stunning triple save as Willian and Ross Barkley’s strikes condemned Liverpool to a third defeat in four matches.

Under-fire stopper Kepa seized the chance to reassert his worth to boss Frank Lampard as Chelsea battled to a fine 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Stamford Bridge.

Only two weeks ago runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool had lost just twice in 41 matches in all competitions this season.

Fast forward 14 days and Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have surrendered their rampant form, with defeat at Atletico Madrid, a 3-0 humbling at Watford and now this hefty blow in west London.

Liverpool still boast a 22-point Premier League lead over second-placed Manchester City, with a first top-flight title in 30 years no doubt a mere formality.

But there can be no doubt either that the exacting Klopp will be fuming with this faltering form.

Chelsea emerged worthy winners to storm into the quarter-finals but were left to count an ever-increasing injury toll, with Mateo Kovacic and Willian the latest Stamford Bridge stars to pull up with problems.

Manager Lampard will be boosted enormously, though, by a virtuoso turn from 18-year-old Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour.

The teen sensation more than merited his inclusion in a performance of poise and maturity, digging out his defence as often as threading killer passes.

Chelsea could now face Everton in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge missing as many as nine frontline stars.

The Blues’ midfield could be stretched to the limit, with N’Golo Kante nursing an adductor problem and Ruben Loftus-Cheek a long shot to start as he seeks match fitness after Achilles surgery back in May, while Jorginho is suspended.

Throw in continued doubts over Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Andreas Christensen and Chelsea’s personnel problems are mounting.