Craig Bellamy steered Liverpool into the Carling Cup semi-finals as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Chelsea to heap further pressure on under-fire Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Bellamy's pinpoint delivery set up second-half goals for Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly as the Reds took a step closer to winning their first silverware since 2006.
Earlier, Andy Carroll missed the chance to give Liverpool a half-time lead as referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty after Alex handled the ball, but he drilled his effort straight at keeper Ross Turnbull.
It completed an emotional return for Bellamy, who had been omitted from the squad for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City on compassionate grounds following the death of close friend Gary Speed. The 32-year-old Wales winger provided the spark of creativity Liverpool needed to defeat toothless opposition who were prone to erratic defending.
Dowd pointed to the penalty spot in the 21st minute and it was Liverpool who were the beneficiaries. Alex blatantly handled the ball while under pressure from Carroll and Dowd hesitated before awarding the kick and booking the Chelsea defender.
Carroll, who had protested fiercely to Dowd, stepped up only to drill his effort straight at Turnbull, allowing the Blues to wriggle off the hook.
David Luiz stopped Rodriguez in his tracks with a wonderful tackle as the former Argentina international charged into the area. But Liverpool and Rodriguez could not be denied in the 58th minute when Liverpool surged into the lead.
Bellamy did the initial damage with a killer ball across goal - perhaps Luiz should have done more to prevent the pass - for Rodriguez to complete a simple tap-in.
Liverpool's large and noisy travelling contingent were back on their feet five minutes later as Liverpool grabbed a second.
Once more Bellamy supplied the ammunition - this time from a free-kick - and Kelly was given all the time in the world to nod home his first goal for the club.