Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool - Morning Star Online

He had just laid on his second assist of the evening to cement Liverpool's place in the semi-finals of the League Cup, but was in sombre mood and his mind was elsewhere. For the Welshman this was a special moment, a moment to pay tribute to his former mentor Gary Speed.

The strength of character shown by Bellamy to pull on the Liverpool jersey just three days after Speed reportedly took his own life warranted a man-of-the-match award alone. To produce a faultless, Speed-like, display that culminated in two assists was simply extraordinary given the circumstances.

His superb creative skills were put away by Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly in a stunning five minutes of football from Liverpool as the game approached the 60th minute.

The visitors could even point to a first-half penalty miss by Andy Carroll such was their dominance over a lacklustre Chelsea.

The game represented the 30th time the two giants of English football have met since 2004. But in contrast to their familiarity with each other the opening stages were reminiscent of a blind date.

It was all rather polite as both sides introduced themselves into the game with some tidy yet unimaginative possession football, and no-one was going in for the kill.

The game did finally threaten to burst into life when Carroll spurned his chance of glory from the penalty spot mid-way through the half.

An excellent Luis Enrique cross was deemed to be handled by Alex as him and Carroll tussled for the high ball. After much deliberation, the England striker stepped up like a man who had only scored two league goals this season and although striking his penalty firmly it was far too close to the diving Ross Turnbull.

The game had a more of a cup-tie feel to it in the second period, triggered by some tireless midfield play by Liverpool's Brazilian workaholic Lucas. Reports that his father is a Duracell bunny and his mother Paula Radcliffe are yet to be confirmed, but should not to be ruled out.

His drive and enthusiasm set the platform for the visitors to bag two quick-fire goals and Bellamy produced the quality.

Apparently the League Cup is seen as worthless to Premier League clubs, but try telling that to the 4,000 Liverpool fans who sent the roof into orbit at the Shed End when Rodriguez latched onto Bellamy's perfect centre to open the scoring.

And just as the roof was returning to earth, it was sent back to whence it came as defender Kelly powered a header into the top corner five minutes later for his first goal for the club. That man again Bellamy provided the assist from a free-kick after he had drawn the foul by Ramires just outside the area.

Kenny Dalglish has never lost to Chelsea in 12 matches as manager of Liverpool and rarely did the hosts look like salvaging anything from this game to buck that trend.

The legendary Reds boss was full of praise for his inspirational Welshman in the aftermath.

"Craig is a fantastic footballer who had a hugely disappointing day on Sunday," he said. "He regarded Gary Speed as a mentor. It was great for the wee man, making the first goal. For the second he took the free-kick. He told Martin to leave it, it was going in!

"I don't know if we took Chelsea apart but we were delighted with the way we played. We've had a good day and we deserved to go through."

Spurred on by the remarkable Bellamy, the visitors showed everything that winning a football match requires — desire, work-rate, professionalism and moments of quality.

The man looking down on his former pupil would have been immensely proud.

30 Nov, 2011

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