The game badly needed a goal, and on 32 minutes it got one. Liverpool had possession deep in their own half and under pressure, Steven Gerrard opted to play the ball back to his goalkeeper but seemed to miss the presence of Drogba, who stole in, rounded Reina and slotted home the easiest of his 33 goals this season, one to equal the record he set in 2006/07.
It was an outstretched right arm, John Terry's, that gave Liverpool a chance to get back in, but an over-elaborate free-kick routine just outside the Chelsea box saw Daniel Agger's route to goal blocked by the away defence.
Into the final 15 minutes three sides of Anfield were very quiet, the only noise coming from the travelling section, who had been loud throughout.
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Mascherano, Carragher (Ayala 56), Kyrgiakos, Agger; Lucas, Gerrard (c); Maxi Rodriguez (Babel 42), Aquilani (Ngog 76), Benayoun; Kuyt.
Booked Mascherano 86
Chelsea (4-3-3):Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry (c), A Cole; Lampard, Ballack, Malouda; Anelka (J Cole 90+1), Drogba, Kalou (Zhirkov 87).
Scorers Drogba 32, Lampard 53
Booked Malouda 25, Ballack 39