Chelsea could only draw 1-1 against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this afternoon as goal hero John Terry was stretchered off just before half-time.
To add insult to injury (literally), skipper John Terry, just back from his much-talked about four-game suspension was carried off the pitch on 39 minutes after a clash with Luis Suarez. The Blues are now third behind the two Manchester clubs after leading the table for the best part of 10 weeks.
The Blues captain had put Chelsea into the lead with a powerful header on 20 minutes.
But Liverpool, hit back with 17 minutes of the game to go through Suarez, who was on hand to head home from a Suso corner.
Oscar had the first chance of the game for the Blues, on five minutes, when a fine piece of interplay just outside the Liverpool pool area with Eden Hazard area saw The Brazil midfielder strike a sweet left-footer, but the ball inched over Brad Jones's crossbar.
For the next 13 minutes or so, the passage of play was fairly miserable, with only a 25-yard free-kick by Branislav Ivanovic which sailed over the goal.
But a minute later and the Chelsea faithful erupted as one as John Terry powered home from six-yards out, with a trademark header direct from a Mata corner.
The Chelsea skipper, back in the side after his four-league game suspension hit his 50th goal for the west Londoners.
The blues could have extended their lead on 27 minutes, when first Torres had a shot saved by Jones and then Hazard attempted a snap shot which went just wide of goal.
Torres got his head to a forcefully driven free-kick, on the left by Hazard, but the former Liverpool star could only direct his header over the goal.
Liverpool's Nuri Sahin tried his luck from range with 15 minutes of the first half remaining.
But his left-footed drive failed to trouble Petr Cech and the ball went wide of his left upright
Skipper Terry was carried off the pitch on 40 minutes to be replaced by Gary Cahill.
Terry came off the worse after a challenge with Luis Suarez.
The ex-England captain was on the ground for five minutes receiving treatment on his right left.
Mata should have put the Blues Use two up on the stoke of the half-time whistle.
After running straight through the Liverpool rearguard, he conspired to fluff his lines by slinging the ball over Jones's goal from just inside the visitors' penalty area
The second half started off much as the first with little cohesive play from either side.
However Mata enlivened the 41, 629 crowd on 53 minutes when he drove a sweet left-footer towards goal, but he effort, from 20 yards narrowly went the wrong side, for him, of Jones's right post.
Jones was soon in action again, somehow getting his body to block Torres near-post header.
For all of the attacking flair talent on show for the home side, it was still the set-pieces that proved to be the off their best chance of scoring.
A Mata curler of a free-kick on 66 minutes being a case in point.
The midfielder arrowed the perfect centre from the right, into Liverpool's penalty area,
Jones flapped at it with a mid-air dive touching the ball onto Mikel who could not direct the ball into the net.
That proved to be Chelsea's undoing as on 73 minutes the Reds were level.
A straightforward corner by Suso on the right, was headed on by veteran Jamie Carragher.
The ball looped to the far post where Suarez was on hand to nod home, unmarked from close range.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo decided a change needed and hero of midweek
Victor Moses replaces Oscar with 15 minutes of the match remaining.
The hapless ex-Livepool striker Fernando Torres was eventually put out of his miserable game with nine minutes to go, Daniel Sturridge given the chance to be a Chelsea hero.
An audacious shot from the half-way line by Suarez, on the right, never had a hope of troubling Cech, but it did give the travelling fans a the chance to chant his name.
Ivanovic was unlucky to see a header inch over Jones's cross bar with three minutes to go, while a minute later Suarez broke the Chelsea offside trap but he failed to control the ball as perfectly as required and it rebounded off Cech and then him to go for a goal kick.
Hazard zipped in a shot from 20 yards which went inches over the crossbar on 90 minutes as both sides sought an undeserved winner.
Cech handed to be at his best forward Jose Enrique deep into added time. In truth neigh side deserved to be an outright winner.
Chelsea - Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry (c), Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard, Oscar, Mata; Torres
Subs - Turnbull, Ferreira , Cahill, Romeu, Marin, Moses, Sturridge
Liverpool - Jones, Johnson, Enrique, Sahin, Agger, Garragher, Suarez, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Wisdom
Subs - Joe Cole, Assaidi, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Suso, Gulacsi
Referee - Howard Webb