Chelsea were again struck down by the curse of Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool increased the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas with a comfortable Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge.
Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly both scored in a five-minute spell after the break to maintain Dalglish's unbeaten record against Chelsea in 13 matches as Liverpool manager.
Liverpool's win was fully deserved, even with the inspirational Luis Suarez rested, as they were able to recover from the setback of Andy Carroll's missed first-half penalty to secure their third straight victory at Stamford Bridge.
It was a fully deserved win, following hard on the heels of the Premier League triumph here 10 days ago and confirming a renaissance that has seen Liverpool go undefeated in their last eleven games.
And as his side closed in on the semi-final, Dalglish showed special appreciation for the contribution of Craig Bellamy when he was substituted late on.
He was withdrawn from Sunday's game against Manchester City at Anfield following the death of his mentor and Wales manager Gary Speed, but returned in style at Stamford Bridge to create both goals.
Liverpool can now contemplate their first semi-final in this competition since 2005, when they reached the final only to be defeated by Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
The only cloud over Liverpool's night was a knee injury that saw midfield man Lucas stretchered off. He will now undergo a scan to determine the extent of the problem.
In contrast to Dalglish's obvious delight, Villas-Boas cut a dejected figure as the momentum built by the victory against Wolves on Saturday was snuffed out by an impressive Liverpool display.
The 34-year-old Portuguese coach insists he has the full backing of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and there is no doubt he is currently presiding over a squad in need of major repair.
PHIL MCNULTY'S BLOG
A defeat for an under-strength Chelsea in a tournament that lies low on their priorities may not have far-reaching consequences for Villas-Boas - but an exit from the Champions League just might.
But this result only makes next Tuesday's defining Champions League meeting with Valencia at Stamford Bridge an even more crucial moment for Villas-Boas, despite his managerial career at Chelsea being in its infancy.
And it was another disappointing night for Chelsea's £50m British record signing Fernando Torres, who cut an almost apologetic figure against his former club as he laboured in vain on the margins.
Carroll and Torres were both given chances to impress as both managers made changes - but it was referee Phil Dowd who was the central figure early on as he ignored two penalty appeals.
He booked David Luiz for diving when he was clearly felled by Sebastian Coates as he raced into the area - but the Chelsea defender was then lucky to escape punishment for a push on Carroll.
Dowd did award a penalty, albeit after a lengthy delay, at the third time of asking in the 22nd minute when Alex handled needlessly. Carroll claimed the penalty with some confidence only to drill it straight at Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull.
The official was not enjoying his finest night, as he proved when he booked Ryan Bertrand for a dangerous tackle on Jordan Henderson - by Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea at least posed a whiff of danger early in the second half when Florent Malouda's downward header looped up on to the bar, but this was only the signal for Liverpool to put the game out of their reach.
Liverpool went ahead just before the hour when Bellamy broke clear down the right and crossed perfectly for Maxi, who also scored in the recent league win at Chelsea, to beat Turnbull comfortably at the far post.
Villas-Boas immediately prepared the introduction of Juan Mata and Nicolas Anelka, but he was not able to make the change before Liverpool extended their lead.
Bellamy's free-kick found Kelly unmarked in the area and the defender took advantage to head past the exposed Turnbull.
Mata and Anelka came on, but Liverpool cruised to victory untroubled to move a step closer to Wembley.
- 22 Turnbull
- 04 David Luiz Booked
- 17 Bosingwa
- 33 Alex Booked
- 34 Bertrand Booked
- 06 Romeu
- 08 Lampard
- 15 Malouda Booked (Anelka - 64' )
- 20 McEachran (Ramires - 41' Booked )
- 09 Torres
- 18 Lukaku (Mata - 64' )
- 40 Hilario
- 02 Ivanovic
- 19 Ferreira
- 07 Ramires
- 10 Mata
- 21 Kalou
- 39 Anelka
- 25 Reina
- 03 Jose Enrique
- 16 Coates Booked
- 23 Carragher
- 34 Kelly
- 11 Maxi (Skrtel - 89' )
- 14 Henderson
- 20 Spearing
- 21 Lucas (Adam - 70' )
- 09 Carroll
- 39 Bellamy (Kuyt - 79' )
- 32 Doni
- 37 Skrtel
- 38 Flanagan
- 19 Downing
- 26 Adam
- 07 Suarez
- 18 Kuyt
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +2:59
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.90:00 +0:08
The ball is sent over by Jose Bosingwa.89:46
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Bertrand by Martin Kelly. Free kick taken by Ryan Bertrand.88:41 Substitution
Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Martin Skrtel coming on for Rodriguez Maxi.88:34
A cross is delivered by Jose Bosingwa, Sebastian Coates manages to make a clearance.88:19
A cross is delivered by Juan Mata, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.87:58
Jose Bosingwa produces a cross, Sebastian Coates makes a clearance.86:56
The offside flag is raised against Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.84:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Bertrand by Andy Carroll. Free kick taken by Ryan Bertrand.82:53
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Carroll on Ramires. Alex has an effort direct from the free kick.82:17
Sanchez Jose Enrique challenges Nicolas Anelka unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nicolas Anelka.78:17 Substitution
Substitution Dirk Kuyt replaces Craig Bellamy.77:46
Inswinging corner taken by Juan Mata from the right by-line.77:38
The ball is sent over by Ryan Bertrand, clearance by Rodriguez Maxi.76:39
Centre by Jose Bosingwa.75:44
Jordan Henderson delivers the ball, Ross Turnbull makes a save.75:04
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.74:35
Ramires takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastian Coates.74:02
Nicolas Anelka takes a shot.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Juan Mata. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.71:45
Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.69:26 Substitution
Substitution Charlie Adam is brought on as a substitute for Leiva Lucas.68:09
The ball is delivered by Ryan Bertrand, save by Jose Reina.66:23
Leiva Lucas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Frank Lampard. Direct free kick taken by David Luiz.65:08
Strike comes in from Craig Bellamy from the free kick, save made by Ross Turnbull.65:08 Booking
Booking Ramires goes into the referee's book.65:02
Leiva Lucas fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick.63:10 Substitution
Substitution Juan Mata joins the action as a substitute, replacing Romelu Lukaku.63:10 Substitution
Substitution Nicolas Anelka replaces Florent Malouda.62:31
Assist on the goal came from Craig Bellamy.62:31 Goal scored
Goal! - Martin Kelly - Chelsea 0 - 2 Liverpool Martin Kelly grabs a headed goal from close range. Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool.61:47
Craig Bellamy fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick. Craig Bellamy produces a cross,60:04
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sanchez Jose Enrique by Romelu Lukaku. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.59:32
The offside flag is raised against Craig Bellamy. Free kick taken by David Luiz.57:24
The assist for the goal came from Craig Bellamy.57:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Rodriguez Maxi - Chelsea 0 - 1 Liverpool Rodriguez Maxi gets on the score sheet with a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool.54:38
Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.54:31
David Luiz takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastian Coates.53:25
Frank Lampard restarts play with the free kick.53:25 Booking
Booking Sebastian Coates is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.53:16
Free kick awarded for a foul by Sebastian Coates on Fernando Torres.52:16
Effort on goal by Craig Bellamy from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.51:54
Jose Bosingwa delivers the ball, clearance made by Sebastian Coates.48:50
Oriol Romeu has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.47:26
The referee blows for offside against Andy Carroll. Indirect free kick taken by David Luiz.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +3:09 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.45:00 +0:54
Romelu Lukaku has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.45:00 +0:37
Centre by Sanchez Jose Enrique, Alex makes a clearance.43:12
Jamie Carragher takes the direct free kick.43:12 Booking
Booking Ryan Bertrand is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.42:58
Ryan Bertrand challenges Jordan Henderson unfairly and gives away a free kick.40:44 Substitution
Substitution Ramires is brought on as a substitute for Josh McEachran.40:18
Sanchez Jose Enrique takes a shot. Save by Ross Turnbull.38:29
The ball is crossed by Jose Bosingwa.36:28
Oriol Romeu concedes a free kick for a foul on Martin Kelly. Free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.34:15
Jay Spearing gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Oriol Romeu. Direct free kick taken by Alex.33:19
Leiva Lucas takes the direct free kick.33:19 Booking
Booking The referee books Florent Malouda for unsporting behaviour.33:05
Foul by Florent Malouda on Leiva Lucas, free kick awarded.30:54
Centre by Sanchez Jose Enrique.28:33
Inswinging corner taken by Florent Malouda, Andy Carroll manages to make a clearance.28:03
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the left by-line, clearance by Andy Carroll.25:14
Shot from just outside the area by Frank Lampard goes over the bar.22:02
Craig Bellamy is caught offside. Ross Turnbull takes the free kick.21:45 Penalty
Placed penalty taken by Andy Carroll saved by Ross Turnbull. Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool.20:23 Booking
Booking Caution for Alex.20:05
Centre by Sanchez Jose Enrique, Andy Carroll takes a shot. Alex gets a block in. The referee gives a against Alex for handball.19:50
Centre by Craig Bellamy.16:35
The offside flag is raised against Andy Carroll. Alex restarts play with the free kick.15:09
Foul by Jose Bosingwa on Rodriguez Maxi, free kick awarded. Sanchez Jose Enrique takes the free kick.14:44
Josh McEachran takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.11:29
Shot from just outside the box by Leiva Lucas misses to the right of the target.11:01
Corner taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson from the right by-line, clearance made by Oriol Romeu.10:54
The ball is sent over by Martin Kelly, blocked by Ryan Bertrand.8:44
Rodriguez Maxi sends in a cross.6:53
The ball is sent over by Jose Bosingwa, clearance made by Sebastian Coates.6:14
The ball is crossed by Sanchez Jose Enrique.4:26
Foul by Craig Bellamy on Alex, free kick awarded. Alex restarts play with the free kick.3:45
Martin Kelly challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. Florent Malouda takes the direct free kick.2:49
Free kick taken by Jose Reina.2:49 Booking
Booking The referee books David Luiz for unsporting behaviour.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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