Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre was criticised recently for proposing a redistribution of Premier League TV revenues that would ensure that the rich clubs get richer and the poor get poorer. This match illustrated the consequences of such a move.
The previous five league meetings between these two clubs at Stamford Bridge had ended in draws, but since last season Chelsea have been reinforced again, Everton weakened. This was no contest of equals as a stretched Everton squad struggled to hold out against a home team that absorbed the suspension of Fernando Torres and the resting of David Luiz with ease.
Juan Mata, who had a foot in two of Chelsea's goals, cost £23.5m while Mikel Arteta and Darren Beckford have left Merseyside as Everton search in vain for new investors. So while Andres Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, can aim at the summits of the Premier League and Europe, David Moyes operates in the football lowlands at Goodison Park. Villas-Boas, for example, could afford to ponder the ramifications of the draw at Anfield for his club's title ambitions as well as his own team's performance.
"It was a good point for Man United so it was important for us to win to get a more comfortable distance from Liverpool. The Premiership [sic] has become more competitive and more teams are challenging for the title." Everton are not one of those teams, nor can they even contemplate the Champions League place that Moyes once delivered. "Every other year we've tried to find a way but I can't hide the fact that it's getting tougher," he said. "I think [the top six] is probably unrealistic for Everton, but I don't like saying that because I'm one of those who says: 'Come on, I'll try to win the League, I'll take you on, I'll challenge you'."
At the moment, finding a goalscorer looks enough of a challenge. Villas-Boas inherited a promising one in Daniel Sturridge, who scored his fourth league goal of the season from a position on the right of Chelsea's attacking trio and has a chance to force himself into a now-fluid England reckoning with Wayne Rooney suspended for the group games of the European Championships. "It can happen for him," Villas-Boas agreed. "The most important thing is to continue to find the back of the net because it gives him extra stimulus and motivation." Everton can only look on in envy.
Scorers: Chelsea Sturridge 31, Terry 45, Ramires 61. Everton Vellios 81.
Substitutes: Chelsea Malouda 5 (Ramires, 65), Romeu (Mikel, 76), Anelka (Mata, 76). Everton Drenthe 5 (Coleman, 61), Neville (Cahill, 72), Vellios (Saha, 80).
Booked: Chelsea Cole, Sturridge. Everton Fellaini, Baines.
Man of the match Mata .
Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Chelsea 61% Everton 39%.
Attempts on target: Chelsea 5 Everton 4.
Referee M Jones (Cheshire). Attendance 41,789.