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Ross Barkley said it was “a dream” to score against Liverpool as the midfielder helped Chelsea reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The result meant Liverpool suffered their second successive defeat of this stellar season in a highly-competitive encounter at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool made seven changes to the side that lost surpisingly at Watford on Saturday – the first reverse of their league campaign after 18 successive victories left them on the brink of a first title for 30 years.

Chelsea, however, still had to overcome a Liverpool team containing the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez in a hard-fought fifth-round tie.

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian gifted Willian Chelsea’s opener after 13 minutes when he hopelessly fumbled his 20-yard shot, but the European champions had chances of their own only to see recalled keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga present a formidable barrier with a string of saves.

The game was effectively settled after 64 minutes when former Everton midfielder and Toffees fan Barkley surged from inside his own half on a solo run before beating Adrian with an emphatic strike.

“It was brilliant, a massive result for the lads,” Barkley told BBC One. “We needed a top performance tonight at home after two disappointing results.

Scoring against Liverpool is massive for me. As an Everton fan, it’s always a dream to score against them.”

The hosts could have had more but Mason Mount rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard free-kick, before striker Olivier Giroud saw an effort brilliantly tipped on to the woodwork by Adrian.

 

 

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