This was a game that didn’t just defy expectations, it blew them to pieces. Chelsea stunned Liverpool with three away goals in this quarter final first leg to take a massive stride towards the last four of the Champions League.

The smart money was on this being yet another cagey encounter between two sides who have met each other for each of the past five seasons. But what was to follow set hearts racing and emotions fluctuating.

Fernando Torres lit the touch paper with the opening goal after barely five minutes. He found himself free in the box and fired home from an Alvaro Arbeloa cross.

Guus Hiddink had promised that his side would attack Liverpool and stung by that initial set back, they gained a foothold on possession and set about levelling matters.

Didier Drogba - so often Liverpool’s tormentor-in-chief - wasted a brilliant opportunity to do just that. A mistake at the back presented the ball to Salomon Kalou and he sent his compatriot clear. But with Pepe Reina racing out to close the angle down, Drogba fired straight at the Spanish stopper.

Drogba was involved in setting up his side’s next scoring opportunity. Florent Malouda was the beneficiary of some neat interplay between Kalou and Drogba, but the Frenchman fired wide of the post.

Frank Lampard was sloppy in possession on 25 minutes, allowing Torres to nip in and steal the ball from him. To the England midfielder’s visible relief Torres’ shot curled over the bar.

This game was fast turning into a tale of two strikers. Drogba had another guilt-edged chance after getting the wrong side of Jamie Carragher, but again he was wasteful, lashing the ball over the bar when a simple calm finish would have sufficed.

Six minutes before half time, Chelsea gained the precious away goal they so dearly craved. Malouda whipped in a corner and Branislav Ivanovic benefited from some slack marking to nod home his first goal in Chelsea colours.

But within 30 seconds Liverpool could have been back in front. Dirk Kuyt beat John Terry but Petr Cech came to his side’s rescue.

The breakneck pace of the game continued into the second half.

Jamie Carragher got back fantastically to clear a Drogba shot off the line, and Torres had another effort at Petr Cech’s goal.

Terry picked up a costly booking as the game edged towards the hour mark.

Reina claimed a bouncing ball in the box but Terry - intentionally or not - collided with the Liverpool stopper in a rather hopeful attempt at getting the ball. After receiving treatment the England skipper was shown a yellow card, much to the Anfield crowd’s delight.

What followed quickly punctuate that.

Ivanovic added his and Chelsea’s second with another header from another corner, this time a delivery from Lampard. The oft-derided zonal marking system had again proven to be Liverpool’s down fall.

But things were to get much worse for Rafael Benitez’s side.

Drogba finally got his name on the score sheet five minutes later to give the Reds a massive mountain to climb. Malouda was again the provider, breaking free down the left wing from Michael Ballack’s pass, and playing in a cross that Drogba latched on to, firing into the net past Reina.

Neither set of fans could quite believe what they were witnessing. The massed Chelsea hordes celebrated in delirious disbelief, while those in red looked on shell shocked.

Hiddink’s men were then content to sit back and counter sporadically on the break. Liverpool attempted to muster some sort of response, but appeared dazed and confused, trying to digest a sequence of events that seemed nigh on impossible just hours earlier.

Liverpool are noted for their ability to overcome seemingly impossible odds, and that is what they will face at Stamford Bridge in a week’s time.

Blues' Blitzkrieg Stuns Liverpool