Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 to send the Blues to a second straight home loss in the Premier League as Glen Johnson got a late winner against his former team.
Maxi Rodriguez also scored at Stamford Bridge for the Reds, who join Chelsea on 22 points -- 12 behind leader Manchester City. Daniel Sturridge got the goal for Chelsea, which has now lost three of its last four league games, increasing the pressure on first-season coach Andre Villas-Boas.
“It’s not the brightest of starts for Chelsea in the Premier League in the last 10 years, but the belief is there,” Villas-Boas told reporters. “It’s not impossible to turn it around.”
Chelsea remains in fourth spot, ahead of Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal on goal difference. City has 34 points, defending champion Manchester United 29 and Newcastle 25.
The Blues lost consecutive home league games for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and have failed to stop any opposition scoring at Stamford Bridge in the competition this season.
The Daily Express reported yesterday that Abramovich is unhappy at the start of the season under Villas-Boas, who was hired in June after leading Porto to the Europa League and Portuguese league and cup titles in his only campaign in charge.
“There’s no running away from responsibilities, there’s no calling this a transitional period, we’re not calling for time,” Villas-Boas said after the match.
The Blues struggled in the first half, although Didier Drogba almost scored from a free kick which hit the sidenetting, causing some fans to mistakenly celebrate a goal.
Chelsea’s defense struggled to cope with Liverpool’s forwards and the visiting team went ahead in the 33rd minute with a goal from Rodriguez, who was making his first league start of the season.
Chelsea responded at half time by bringing on Sturridge for John Obi Mikel and 10 minutes later was level when he tapped in from close range.
Two minutes later the home team almost took the lead, though Reds goalkeeper Jose Reina denied Branislav Ivanovic from scoring with a low header.
Florent Malouda went close for Chelsea with an overhead kick, then wasted a chance from close range soon after. The Blues brought on further attacking options in Fernando Torres and Raul Meireles as they pushed for a winning goal, but it was Liverpool which took the three points.
With three minutes remaining, Johnson collected a pass from Charlie Adam and slipped past Ashley Cole and Malouda before slotting a low shot into the corner of the net.
‘Hung on in There’
“We played really well in the first half, they got into it a bit in the second, equalized and put us under a bit of pressure, but the players hung on in there and the result matched their ambitions,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told reporters.
Two days ago, Manchester City extended its unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 victory against Newcastle, Manchester United won 1-0 at Swansea, and Arsenal beat Norwich 2-1. Tottenham, which has played two fewer games than the top four teams, hosts Aston Villa today.
Elsewhere, Wigan and Blackburn drew 3-3, West Bromwich Albion defeated Bolton 2-1, and Queens Park Rangers won 3-2 at Stoke City. Everton beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1, while the match between Sunderland and Fulham was scoreless.