Cup defeat piles pressure on Chelsea boss

Chelsea 0 Liverpool 2

More woeful Chelsea defending saw them crash out of the Carling Cup and turned up the heat on Andre Villas-Boas.

It was a second victory at Stamford Bridge in nine days for Liverpool, who followed their recent league win there by piling more pressure on the beleaguered Blues manager.

Andy Carroll missed a first-half penalty for the Merseysiders after Alex’s handball, but they were eventually helped into semi-finals by their opponents’ continued problems at the back.

They were once famed for being rock solid, but Chelsea’s defensive shortcomings have blighted their season.

And those were evident again when Maxi Rodriguez tapped in a cross from Craig Bellamy, who then served up a peach of a free-kick for an unmarked Martin Kelly to head home from close range.

In attack, Chelsea offered very little, with Fernando Torres enduring a miserable night against his former club.

Both teams had strong appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Phil Dowd before he eventually pointed to the spot.

Liverpool were fortunate that maverick defender David Luiz was booked for diving despite appearing to be fouled in the area by Sebastian Coates.

Then Luiz himself had a let-off at the other end five minutes later after shoving Carroll over as the striker attempted to meet Jose Enrique’s left-wing cross.

Dowd again saw no infringement, but he did when Alex needlessly handled while trying to stop Carroll snapping up another Enrique cross.

That gifted Carroll a chance to score his fourth goal of the season but his spot-kick, which he belted straight down the middle, was palmed away by Ross Turnbull.

Back-up keeper Turnbull was given a chance to impress along with youngsters Oriel Romeu, Romelu Lukaku, Josh McEachran and Ryan Bertrand.

It was an unhappy night for highly-rated midfielder McEachran, who seemed to pick up a knock early on and struggled badly before being replaced on 41 minutes.

Turnbull though was able to make an impact and should arguably have been called upon to face another penalty shortly before half-time, when Luiz was again at the centre of the action and fortunate to escape after seeming to trip Carroll.

Chelsea almost took the lead soon after the interval when Florent Malouda’s scuffed effort from Frank Lampard’s free-kick bounced off the bar and Luiz’s attempt to head in the rebound was cleared by Coates.

The home side looked to be finally finding some momentum but it was Liverpool who broke the deadlock on 58 minutes.

Jordan Henderson’s pass sliced open Chelsea’s fragile defence and Bellamy took full advantage, scampering down the right and picking out Maxi at the far post for a simple finish

Kelly, totally unopposed inside the six-yard box, helped himself to his first Liverpool goal five minutes later.

Villas-Boas’ men never looked like staging a comeback and have now lost five of their last nine matches.