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Late Ivanovic header sinks Liverpool

Late Ivanovic header sinks Liverpool
The Serbian’s goal gave Jose Mourinho’s side a 2-1 aggregate win, taking them into a March 1 final against either Tottenham Hotspur or Sheffield United and cutting off one of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s paths to a golden send-off before his departure for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 34-year-old now has only the FA Cup and Europa League to aim for, while Chelsea remain on course for three trophies after bouncing back from their humiliating 4-2 loss to third-tier Bradford City in the FA Cup. Tuesday’s gruelling encounter at an electrified Stamford Bridge will have taken its toll on Mourinho’s squad, however, ahead of Saturday’s crucial home game with title rivals Manchester City in the Premier League, with Cesc Fabregas notably forced off by injury.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is also at risk of respective punishment after twice appearing to stamp on Liverpool players, Emre Can in the first half and Martin Skrtel, with whom he fought a running battle, in the second.

Last week’s first leg was also a spiky affair and a number of contentious incidents made referee Michael Oliver the centre of attention during a break-neck first half in west London. Chelsea had two penalty appeals turned down, firstly when a shot from Willian struck Lucas Leiva on the hand and then when Skrtel appeared to catch Costa with his foot as the burly Spain striker looked to wriggle down the byline. The second appeal was particularly compelling, but Liverpool felt that Costa should have already been sent off by then after he trod on Can’s ankle right in front of the two dug-outs.

Both teams lost players to injury early in the second period, with Fabregas hobbling off after being caught by his own captain John Terry before Mamadou Sakho ceded his place to Glen Johnson.
Round two of the Costa-Skrtel clash, meanwhile, saw the Slovakian defender left in a heap after the Chelsea striker landed on his foot. 
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