Liverpool heaped more pressure on Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas by claiming a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge to progress to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.
Villas-Boas is under real pressure just six months into his Chelsea tenure following a stuttering run and they lurched further into crisis when crashing out of the cup on home soil. Liverpool could afford the luxury of missing a penalty yet still ease through courtesy of second-half goals from Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly.
Chelsea made a bright start and had claims for a penalty waved away, with referee Phil Dowd deeming David Luiz to have dived.
Liverpool had the chance to edge ahead on 20 minutes, with Alex penalised for handling Jose Enrique's cross, but Andy Carroll slammed his shot straight at Ross Turnbull.
The Blues failed to take any confidence from the penalty save and shortly after striking the bar in a goal-mouth scramble, they fell behind on 58 minutes. Jordan Henderson slipped Craig Bellamy in, he skipped away before whipping the ball across for Maxi score.
Bellamy was in tears during the tribute to his great friend Gary Speed prior to kick-off and he paid his own tribute with a passionate display. And it was the Welshman who crafted the second as well, winning a free-kick and delivering the ball on a plate for Kelly to nod home unmarked.
Manchester City's unbeaten start to the domestic season continued as they claimed a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger sent out a much-changed Arsenal, but they were not overawed and it took a couple of brilliant saves from Joe Hart's understudy Costel Pantilimon to deny Park Chu- young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
City boss Roberto Mancini served notice of his intent by whipping off Alexander Kolarov on 30 minutes, replacing him with Sergio Aguero, and it was the substitute who clinched the win.
The visitors sprang forward from an Arsenal corner, Edin Dzeko dashing away and feeding Adam Johnson. The England man flicked the ball into the path of Aguero who did not break stride to slot past Lukasz Fabianski.
Another Premier League manager under huge pressure is Steve Kean and his woes were increased as Cardiff ensured the Championship flag would be flying in the semi-finals thanks to a 2-0 win over Blackburn.
Kenny Miller opened the scoring on 19 minutes, skipping clear and shooting below Mark Bunn. Blackburn failed to fashion a response and Anthony Gerrard headed home Peter Whittingham's corner on 50 minutes to seal the win.