Liverpool ended a winless run of five games in impressive fashion on Sunday as it whipped an under-strength Swansea 5-0 in their Premier League clash.
Victory saw Liverpool leapfrogs Swansea into seventh spot and give former Swans manager Brendan Rodgers something to smile about at the end of a week that saw defeats by West Brom and then Zenit St. Petersburg in the Europa League.
A penalty from Steven Gerrard and three goals early in the second-half from impressive debutant Philippe Coutinho, Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez wrapped up the points against a side seemingly distracted by the League Cup final with Bradford next Sunday.
Daniel Sturridge, who like Coutinho missed the Europa League match, added a fifth from the penalty spot.
Michu on the bench
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup was made to regret sending out a starting line-up shorn of several first choice players, including leading scorer Michu, preferring to give the 15-goal Spaniard time on the bench.
Liverpool made all the running from the kick-off with Suarez looking particularly sharp, going close first with a freekick and then another good effort, which crept over the bar.
Suarez, though, should have done better after Sturridge had done all the work in beating two defenders and then goalkeeper Michel Vorm before going to ground, but with the goal at his mercy the Uruguayan put the ball wide.
Liverpool’s appeals for a penalty for a foul on Sturridge fell on deaf ears.
However, the host did get a penalty in the 34th minute as Suarez was needlessly pushed by Kemy Agustien and Gerrard, who had missed a penalty in the defeat by West Brom last Monday, made no mistake from the spot.
Sturridge went close to doubling the lead shortly before half-time as his shot went over Vorm, but the visitors defence got back to clear the ball.
The hosts did double their lead almost immediately from the kick-off as Coutinho, taking advantage of the Swansea defence not going in for the tackle, saw his shot go under Vorm and into the net.
The hosts added a glorious third in the 50th minute as Jose Enrique finished off a beautiful passing move involving Coutinho, Suarez and Sturridge.
Swansea had completely capitulated and Suarez added a fourth six minutes later with a brilliant individual effort and soon after Rodgers decided Coutinho had done more than enough on his debut and took him off.
Sturridge was also a vibrant presence and Vorm had to be at his best to keep out a stinging effort but he deservedly did get his name on the scoresheet with a penalty in the 71st minute awarded for a handball by Wayne Routledge.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men for the last 10 minutes of the match, not that it mattered much to the outcome, after Fabio Borini, who had just come on as a substitute, was taken off in agony with what looked like a dislocated shoulder.
Easy for Chelsea
In the FA Cup fourth round replay, Chelsea thrashed League One minnow Brentford a 4-0 win over on Sunday.
Chelsea will travel to Championship side Middlesbrough for its delayed fifth round tie on February 27.
For all Chelsea’s desire to play a move expansive style this season, this was a route one goal more reminiscent of Stoke than Barcelona.
Cech lumped a clearance towards Demba Ba and the Senegal striker’s flick fell for Mata, who advanced to the edge of the penalty area before driving a fine strike past Moore.
With the pressure lifted at last, Chelsea was able to play with more freedom and it killed off Brentford in the 68th minute.
Substitute Eden Hazard worked his way into the penalty area and slipped a pass to Ivanovic, whose low cross was met with a backflick from Oscar that deflected into the net off a Brentford defender.
Lampard made it three when he volleyed home from Mata’s cross in the 72nd minute. There was still time for Terry, heading home Oscar’s cross, to complete the rout in the 81st minute.
The results: Fourth round: Chelsea 4 (Mata 54, Oscar 68, Lampard 71, Terry 81) bt Brentford 0.
Fifth round: Manchester City 4 (Y. Toure 5, Aguero 15-pen, 74, Tevez 52) bt Leeds 0
On Saturday: Fifth round: Arsenal 0 lost to Blackburn 1 (Kazim-Richards 72); Luton 0 lost to Millwall 3 (Henry 12, Hulse 36, N’Guessan 86); Milton Keynes Dons 1 (Bowditch 61) lost to Barnsley 3 (Dagnall 3, 90+1, Harewood 19); Oldham 2 (Obita 13, Smith 90+5) drew with Everton 2 (Anichebe 24, Jagielka 48).