Chelsea v Liverpool: Craig Bellamy keeps emotions in check to help Kenny ... -

He made the first goal, seizing on the space left by Chelsea's broken defensive line to sprint down the right. His cross made it easy for Maxi Rodríguez to score. He made the second, too, curving in a free-kick for Martin Kelly to head home.

Liverpool players celebrated with the goalscorer in front of their jubilant fans in the away end. It was the goal that effectively took them through to the semi-finals. Yet Bellamy simply walked back to his own half quietly. Kenny Dalglish, who knows about the difficulties of doing such a public job in emotional circumstances, praised his player's contribution.

"We know he's a fantastic footballer and he had a hugely disappointing day on Sunday, when Speedy, who he regarded as a mentor, passed away," Dalglish said. "For someone to come back and play like that ... it speaks volumes for him."

Bellamy (right) was particularly close to Speed. When he was out of favour at Manchester City, international breaks were an escape, a chance to play football.

That he was even doing so was largely down to Speed, who had persuaded Bellamy to continue playing for Wales. He convinced his compatriot that he was forging an exciting young team and that they were finally heading in the right direction.

Bellamy can be a prickly character, but Speed knew how to get the best out of him. With players like Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale coming through, Speed convinced Bellamy there was a bright future for the principality.

After the 4-1 win over Norway earlier this month, in which Bellamy scored, Speed said: "I know Craig better than anyone and I don't think he would be here now if he did not want to be involved in the World Cup."

Bellamy's presence in Liverpool's team makes them more dangerous. Andy Carroll was given 90 minutes yesterday and while there were signs that he might finally be ready to show why the club spent £35 million on him, Liverpool's strategy is all about pressing then striking fast.

That is where Bellamy is such a valuable asset. Carroll missed a penalty but had been instrumental in winning it, panicking Alex into a handball.

Liverpool pulled Chelsea apart in a second half in which Bellamy was key. He played in the space between Chelsea's two lines of four and looked to break fast.

For Chelsea, Fernando Torres struggled again, a £50 million signing reduced to getting a game in the Carling Cup. He has started the previous six games on the bench and is now seven hours and 26 minutes without a goal.

December will be a defining month for him and his club.

Bellamy, who as a free transfer must be one of the most astute signings of the summer, will likely resume his partnership with Luis Suárez against Fulham on Monday. He is threatening an impressive autumn to his career.

He will no doubt always value the role Speed played in making that possible.

30 Nov, 2011

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