After all the talk of a gladiatorial encounter between the world's twofinest strikers here at Stamford Bridge, it turned out to be a case ofcometh the hour, cometh the other bloke.
Nicolas Anelka it was who struck after 60 minutes with a goal to whichLiverpool had no response. But it was still Didier Drogba who emergedas Chelsea's one-man wrecking ball, smashing Liverpool's defence intosubmission in a manner that seemed beyond Fernando Torres on thisoccasion.
Where Torres disappointed for Liverpool, Drogba was simply devastatingfor the new Barclays Premier League leaders, performing the role ofcreator and provider with a magnificent combination of strength, speedand skill.
It was a superb first-time cross that enabled Anelka to break thedeadlock of a fiercely contested game; and a marvellous individualeffort that then saw him escape the clutches of Jamie Carragher beforedelivering the ball to the feet of Florent Malouda, who increased themargin of victory in second-half stoppage time.
Drogba performed the dark arts of deception too, collapsing sofrequently and so easily to the ground even John Terry appeared tosuggest it might be prudent to try staying on his feet a bit more.