Chelsea 0 Liverpool 2: RodrÃguez stars again at Stamford Bridge
Maxi RodrÃguez and Martin Kelly both scored as Liverpool sealed victory at Stamford Bridge for the second time in a fortnight
Maxi RodrÃguez and Martin Kelly both scored second-half goals to secure Liverpool’s passage into Carling Cup semi-finals and inflict further misery on AndrÃ© Villas-Boas’s Chelsea.
RodrÃguez scored his second goal in a fortnight at Stamford Bridge after combining with Craig Bellamy to put Liverpool ahead after 58 minutes.
And Bellamy was central to the visitors’ second as his free-kick was headed home by Kelly to maintain Kenny Dalglish’s perfect record over Chelsea as Liverpool manager.
The cup tie contrasted sharply with the open encounter between these two sides in the Premier League just 10 days ago as referring decisions dominated a cagey first half in west London.
Within three minutes, Chelsea appealed for a penalty after Liverpool’s SebastiÃ¡n Coates appeared to trip David Luiz in the area.
But referee Phil Dowd was unmoved by the home side’s protestations and instead cautioned Luiz for simulation.
Lucas Leiva impressed once again in the Liverpool midfield as he closely marshalled Fernando Torres, with the Spanish striker struggling to make an impact against his former employers.
The visitors enjoyed large periods of possession early on and their dominance was rewarded after 20 minutes.
Carroll’s pass dissected the Chelsea defence, allowing Craig Bellamy to burst forward and deliver a cross into the box which was cleared.
However, JosÃ© Enrique collected possession and whipped in a ball for Carroll whose header was deflected wide by Alex.
After deliberating with his assistant, referee Dowd indicated that Alex had handled the ball and pointed to the spot.
In the absence of Charlie Adam and Dirk Kuyt, Carroll assumed spot-kick duties – but his tame attempt down the middle was saved by Ross Turnbull’s legs.
The slice of good fortune spurred Chelsea into a reaction and the home side looked more purposeful going forward as half-time approached.
And in the 45th minute, JosÃ© Boswinga’s cross found Romelu Lukaku, who rose above Jamie Carragher to glance his header narrowly wide of Pepe Reina’s goal.
Liverpool continued to press after the interval and their adventure paid dividends after 58 minutes.
Jordan Henderson’s pass into space allowed Bellamy to race clear of Luiz and square a simple pass to RodrÃguez – and the Argentinian midfielder tapped the ball into the empty net with Turnbull dragged out of position.
And matters soon worsened for Chelsea as Liverpool doubled their lead five minutes later.
Bellamy’s curling free-kick found Kelly, who thundered a header past Turnbull after escaping the attentions of his marker Lukaku.
Desperate to disrupt the visitor’s rhythm, Villas-Boas brought on Nicolas Anelka and Juan Mata.
And the French striker could have narrowed the Reds’ lead when he raced onto a through ball with just Reina to beat.
But despite rounding the Spanish goalkeeper, Anelka was denied by Carragher as the Liverpool captain cleared off the line.
The chance spurred Chelsea forward and Torres was finally presented his first chance to test his former team-mate Reina – but his header from Mata’s corner was saved.
By the time the final whistle sounded, Stamford Bridge had emptied but for a small pocket of visiting supporters, who celebrated as the Reds confirmed their place in the last four.
Chelsea: Ross Turnbull, JosÃ© Bosingwa, David Luiz, Alex, Ryan Bertrand, Frank Lampard, Joshua McEachran (Ramires, 41), Oriol Romeu, Florent Malouda (Nicolas Anelka, 64), Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku (Juan Mata, 64).
Liverpool: Pepe Reina, JosÃ© Enrique, SebastiÃ¡n Coates, Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Maxi RodrÃguez (Martin Skrtel, 89), Jordan Henderson, Jay Spearing, Lucas Leiva (Charlie Adam, 70), Craig Bellamy (Dirk Kuyt, 79), Andy Carroll.