London: Diego Costa scored his 10th goal of the campaign as unbeaten Premier League leaders Chelsea continued their excellent start to the season by winning 2-1 at Liverpool on Saturday.
Bidding to avenge their costly 2-0 loss in last season`s corresponding fixture in April, scene of captain Steven Gerrard`s infamous slip, Liverpool took an early lead through Emre Can`s deflected shot.
But Gary Cahill equalised almost immediately before Costa slammed home 23 minutes from time to silence Anfield and safeguard Chelsea`s four-point advantage at the summit.
"It was a fantastic performance. The players as individuals all had a great performance and as a team they were in control," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told BT Sport.
"One point at Anfield, most teams would accept that as a great result. This team did not accept that and I am really, really pleased."
Runners-up to Manchester City last season, Liverpool have now lost three successive games in all competitions and trail Chelsea by a huge 15 points.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt that his side should been awarded a late penalty after a shot from Gerrard struck Cahill on the arm in front of the Kop.
"We worked so hard in the game, but we need those decisions that are obvious," he said.
"It was a clear, clear penalty. I was very disappointed because the players gave everything in the game. We deserved at least a point for sure."
Rodgers restored a host of the first-team players controversially rested for the mid-week loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League and saw his team go ahead in the ninth minute.
Can had a shot deflected over by John Terry in the first minute, but Chelsea did not heed the warning and when he took aim from similar range moments later, the ball cannoned off Cahill and into the net.But five minutes later Chelsea levelled from a corner, with goal-line technology required to show that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had narrowly failed to prevent Cahill`s effort from crossing the line.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got down sharply to thwart Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, before Costa rattled in a 67th-minute winner after Cesar Azpilicueta`s cross was pushed out by Mignolet.
Chelsea were on course to move six points clear until substitute Shane Long scored a quick-fire late brace to earn second-place Southampton a 2-0 win over Leicester City at a soggy St Mary`s.
Long curled home from Graziano Pelle`s lay-off in the 75th minute before running clear and beating Kasper Schmeichel five minutes later to keep Ronald Koeman`s side on Chelsea`s tail.
Defending champions Manchester City will attempt to move back to within six points of Chelsea by winning at second-bottom Queens Park Rangers in Saturday`s late game.
Manchester United had substitute Juan Mata to thank after they secured a 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace that lifted Louis van Gaal`s side up to sixth place, 13 points below Chelsea.
United toiled in the first half and saw former player Fraizer Campbell spurn a chance to put Palace ahead when he lobbed over following a mix-up between auxiliary centre-back Danny Blind and 19-year-old Paddy McNair.
But Mata scored just four minutes after coming on in the 63rd minute to give United victory, deceiving visiting goalkeeper Julian Speroni with a deflected 22-yard shot after a one-two with Angel di Maria.
"It was a fantastic goal, but it was important also," said United manager Louis van Gaal, who was again obliged to field a makeshift defence due to injuries and suspensions.
"I am pleased because we have three points and there is an international break so it was important we closed with a victory."
West Ham United inched above Arsenal into fourth place despite drawing 0-0 at home to Aston Villa, while Ashley Barnes`s solitary header earned bottom club Burnley a first win of the campaign at home to Hull City.