Full-time - 90'
2 - 0
Capital One Cup
19:45 +00:00, December 19, 2007
Stamford Bridge, England
Referee: M Atkinson
There we are! The holders are through and relatively easily after the minute in which they scored and saw Peter Crouch sent off for a very nasty tackle. Thanks for your company. Until next time....
Does anyone know why Steve Sidwell wears the number nine shirt for Chelsea?! Hardly prolific is he?!
With his work done, Shevchenko is off to be replaced by Steve Sidwell.
Goal! The decider! Bridge crosses from the left, Ballack leaps to flick on and Sheva hammers the ball through the keepers legs and Chelsea are through. Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool.
Yet another shooting opportunity for Essien but he screws it well wide. Where's the Essien who fired in that goal of the season contender against Arsenal last season?!
Oh dear. All Liverpool can muster in that attack was an off-balance half-volley from Voronin who appears to believe he can score from anywhere. He can't. Not today anyway.
Shevchenko strikes the free-kick with venom but it curls narrowly wide.
Sissoko now shows his frustration, kicking the ball away after a free-kick was awarded against him. Yellow card.
Again Cole wastes a great opportunity to cross towards the back post where his team-mates were queuing up to nod home.
Liverpool look ragged now, and Chelsea could push for a clincher if they had the urgency. Joe Cole should have done much better there.
Kalou has been excellent this half and he befuddled Carragher there. After skipping past the Liverpool skipper Kalou picked out Shevchenko and his fierce shot was only interrupted by 'fat' Frank Lampard, who was lurking in an awkward position.
Chelsea have switched off a bit here, Shevchenko now carelessly gives the ball away.
Now Voronin has a pop! An awful ball by Bridge set the Ukranian away but he shot ambitiously from a narrow angle and it dribbles wide.
Ooh, perhaps I spoke too soon! Nabil El Zhar, on for Xavi Alonso is slipped in by Voronin and shoots tamely wide. A poor end to a promising move.
Its all long ball stuff from Liverpool now, and poor long ball stuff at that.
Poor ball from Benayoun and Liverpool have the rancid stench of defeat firmly lodged in their nostrils.
Another decent effort from Essien, but again Itandje can watch it sail marginally over.
Perhaps Rafa has just admitted defeat and prefers to save babel for the weekend?
Looks like Voronin is up top on his own for Babel-less Liverpool now.
Another crazy Benitez substitution, Babel being the most lively player on display for the visitors tonight.
Now, the change ofor Liverpool, Benayoun is on for Babel.
Jamie Carragher is keeping Liverpool in it at the moment, clearing twice from crosses then piling into Joe Cole as he looked threatening.
Liverpool are all over the place at present. Unless Rafa makes a positive change, they are sliding out of the Carling Cup.
Neat work by Wayne Bridge, who affords Kalou a decent crossing opportunity. Kalou can only pick out goalkeeper Itandje though.
This is the German's first appearance for eight months, since he badly damaged his ankle against Newcastle in April.
Now, who's this? Michael Ballack is on for Mikel.
Lampard hasn't played at all well tonight, but he has stuck at it and got his reward. On the other hand Crouch threw in the towel after a wretched 60 minutes and needlessly got himself removed from the pitch.
Lampard goes close again! Essien slides it sideways and the onrushing Lamps fizzes one at Charles Itandje, who is equal to it.
Chelsea are well on top after that match-changing minute. Essien is pulling the srings as they look to stretch Liverpool.
Free-kick for Liverpool and Babel lines it up. He shoots well wide however.
A reshuffle needed now for the Reds. They are down to ten but are in desprate need of a goal to get back in the game.
Crouch's challenge stemmed purely from his frustration at missing his earlier chance, then watching as Chelsea took the lead. He can have no complaints with the red card though.
That really was a disgusting tackle from the beanpole. He launched himself two footed at Mikel and deserved two red cards, let alone one.
Now a red card! Crouch's miserable evening continues as his horrible lunge on Mikel earns him a straight red card.
And it hasn't! Goal for Lampard! He ran on to the ball after Shevchenko challenged Hobbs, Carragher got a block on the midfielder's shot but it bounced down and over Itandje and into the net. Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool.
Well, somehow, we are still at nil nil. It can't stay goalless for long at this rate however....
Joe Cole is on for Scott Sinclair.
Now Kalou goes close! He cut in from the left and tried to curl one in the top corner. Itandje was stranded but the ball just went wide. We have new life in the game....
It just isn't Crouch's evening! Carvalho nods back to Cech but it is short and right into the beanpole's path. He can't lift it over the keeper and he should have done better.
Liverpool hit back with Voronin, whose half-volley from an angle just rises over the bar. Game on. Again.
Another good save from Intandje. Essien strikes one that was creeping into the far corner before the young lad flung himself across to palm away.
Chelsea are looking adangerous now, Kalou running the show.
If Crouch is having a shocker for Liverpool, then Lampard is having a mare for Chelsea. He missed a straight forward chance in the first half now he blazes over from the edge of the area when free. Poor.
I think the best word to sum up the second half so far is sloppy. Very sloppy.
Poor old Peter Crouch is looking very poor tonight. There he had a great chance to release Voronin on the counter attack but his ball lacked sufficient weight for the Ukranian to charge into Chelsea's half.
Alonso clears Liverpool's lines.
Just like the first half, it is Chelsea who start the brighter. They win a corner after Belletti's shot flicked behind off Jamie Carragher.
We're off again....
Well, that's that. Not a great half but don't forget there has to be a winner tonight so maybe we will see a bit more attacking intent in the second period to stave off an unwanted half hour of extra time.
One minute of time to add on to a patchy first half.
Poor old Sissoko - he's not in form at all. Again Babel puts the wind up Belletti and his ball to Sissoko was precise but the Frech midfielder stood on the ball and fell over. Priceless.
An ironic cheer goes up from the away fans as the referee finally awards them a free-kick. He has been a bit of a 'homer' so far in truth.
That passage of play could easily have been from the Blue Square Premier League. Misplaced passes and poor control reign supreme.
Now Lucas is booked after a late challenge on Mikel. Its been coming in fairness - he's piled into a few tackles wrecklessly so far.
No sign of it I'm afraid.
Come on teams, let's have a goal.
Too fancy from Liverpool there, Lucas playing in Sissoko who tried an elaborate flick way beyond his capability and it dribbles into the arms of Cech.
Carragher tries to release Liverpool's man of the half, Babel, but his ball zips off the turf and out for a throw.
Can we find a goal before half time?
By the way, some time ago in the midst of those two good chances, Xavi Alonso was booked.
The corner was cleared to Essien and he's busted a sweet volley just past the post.
Whatever Babel can do for Liverpool, Scott Sinclair can do for Chelsea it seems. He sold Aurelio a big dummy there before Carragher again came to rescue his left back.
Oh dear, Mikel's shot from distance goes even wider than Alonso's effort. The game has downshifted into mediocrity.
Xavi Alonso is at it again, trying to blast a volley into the net from 35 yards. He didn't manage it.
Ryan Babel looks some player on this evidence and Chelsea look petrified every time he has a run at them. He just couldn't manage to pop his shot off after another mazy dribble.
Alonso clears the corner.
This time it is Sinclair who races down the right, beating Aurelio and winning a corner off Carragher. Neat work.
Well, ten minutes ago I was wondering if I'd even get a chance to wax lyrical about some meaningful action this evening and then two big opportunities come along right next to each other! Funny old game la la la.....
Now Crouch works himself a chance but he can't dribble past Ben Haim to fashion another shooting chance.
Now Liverpool have a golden opportunity! Lucas is slipped through by Crouch but just like Lampard, he can't get past the keeper.
Crouch rises well to clear the corner. Lampard should have out his side one nil up and he knows it.
First clear cut chance of the game, Arbeloa's tackle on Kalou broke for Lampard, clean through, and Itandje manages to get a hand to the midfielder's attempted chip.
Pcik up the nearest dictionary, look up the word 'ambitious' and you may see a picture of Xavi Alonso. He's just tried to score from the half-way line. And failed miserably.
Crouch wins the header from Liverpool's free kick but no-one else had gambled on the flick-on.
Babel has gone down after a merciless hack from Belletti. That's the closest the right back has got to him all night and he celebrated with a kick.
Great ball from Lampard which flashes across the face of goal. All it needed was a touch.
Now, chance for Chelsea. Good work from Bridge results in a corner.
That's poor from Lampard - an aimless chip forward for no-one in particular. What's up with him of late?
Babel's bursts forward again offer hope for Liverpool but Chelsea hit back, exploiting the space he has just left. I can sniff a goal is on its way....
Sometimes Peter Crouch looks the business, other times he looks hopeless. Its the latter so far tonight.
Voronin this time tries to thread a hopeful ball behind Ben Haim but the ball runs through to Cech.
That last little tussle in midfield at least show both teams are up for this, a few thunderous challenges flying in.
Chelsea dominating possession so far, 61 per cent so far we are reliably informed. It could, and perhaps should, be 1-1 however.
He looked very sharp during the break Babel. Shame Rafa only sees fit to start him in a wide left berth, rather than up front next to the beanpole.
Now Liverpool break, Ryan Babel speeding past Ben Haim, then inside Carvalho before trying to square it for the onrushing Alonso when it looked for all the world like he should shoot.
More joy down Liverpool's left for Chelsea who can't quite find the right ball for Shevchenko.
Great move by Chelsea. Nice one touch football, Belletti feeds Shevchenko who squares it for Kalou, his shot is turned behind by Liverpool's keeper, Itandje.
As usual away from home, Liverpool are sitting very deep with numbers behind the ball, stifling the game completely.
Oh dear, Peter Crouch is sent tthrough by Alonso after Mikel dwelled on the ball for far too long. Crouch's shot from an angle screwed well wide though. Poor.
A tidy passage of play from Liverpool ends in Aurelio looking for Crouch. No-one told the little lad Lucas though as he nicked the header and fluffed it somewhat.
Into the wall it goes and the Reds clear for a throw in.
First decent chance, a free-kick given away by Liverpool's Lucas. Lampard lining it up.
Both teams are playing with one up top and the combined ten-man midfield is already a tad congested.
The corner is a decent one but Liverpool clear their lines.
First decent break of the evening and it came from Chelsea right-back Beletti who whipped in a dangerous cross that was turned behind for a corner by Aurelio.
Well, we've just about recovered from the evening's first serious injury, now we can sit back and enjoy an eight goal thriller. Please.
And, finally, we're off! It took about five minutes for the stricken official to hobble off!
We're all set at Stamford Bridge. Hang on, looks like one of the assistant referees, Paul Norman is hobbling off already. The fourth official Peter Walton is going to have to run the line! Drama already!
Also, both of these Premier League big wigs are coming off the back of disappointing defeats to those other teams that make up the Big Four. A sweet victory tonight and a semi-final berth would be the ideal tonic.
Shevchenko gets another run out for the Blues and it'll be interesting to keep an eye on young Scott Sinclair, who is looking like a very talented prospect indeed.
So, a few second choice inclusions in both line-ups, but fear not, there are still some formidable players on show. Xavi Alonso returns for Liverpool and Peter Crouch gets a chance to shine up front, probably alongside the lively Ryan Babel.
table Peter Crouch and Ryan Babel
And for Liverpool: Itandje, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hobbs, Aurelio, Sissoko, Lucas, Alonso, Voronin, Crouch, Babel. Subs: Martin, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun, El Zhar.
The team news for tonight's Carling Cup clash between Chelsea and Liverpool is in. Lining up for the Blues at Stamford Bridge: Cech, Bridge, Carvalho, Belletti, Ben-Haim, Essien, Obi, Lampard, Kalou, Shevchenko, Sinclair. Subs: Cudicini, Sidwell, Joe Cole, Ballack, Ferreira.