Liverpool went to Stamford Bridge on the back of a well-played first leg draw where they edged Chelsea by most measurements except for the one that mattered. The song remained the same in the second leg, with the team putting in another excellent display that still managed to fall short. It's a bitterly disappointing result, but one that Brendan Rodgers feels came largely due to an incredible performance from Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois.
"I think we were the better side over the two games, but ultimately you've got to get the place in the final," Rodgers said after the match. "I think the goalkeeper for them has won them the tie really. Performance-wise, we were outstanding. Again tonight, some of our play was very good and we created chances.
"There weren't going to be many chances in the game for both sides, but certainly in the first half we created enough to maybe get a couple of goals."
Creating without capitalising on those chances has been a recurring theme for Liverpool this season, and unfortunately — but perhaps not unpredictably — it was their downfall again on Tuesday. Despite the lack of goals, though, Rodgers was pleased overall with his team's performance and thinks the performance is one to build on going forward.
"I sit here with pride," the manager enthused. "There's disappointment we haven't got through, but Chelsea arrived at the top of their game when they came to Anfield last week and we were outstanding and should have won that game.
"Tonight we were very, very good again. The learning for us is to make the next step - you saw a lot of young players out there working, and now we've got to make the next step and try to go on and win a trophy."
The "Get Gerrard to Wembley" campaign may have experienced a temporary hitch, but Liverpool still have an opportunity to advance in the FA Cup and get the captain to one last cup final. If they can reproduce their form against Chelsea when they face Bolton next week for their fourth round replay, they'll easily dispatch their opponents. The team struggled to do just that the first time they played Bolton, though, and with a big match against West Ham sandwiched in between, Liverpool will need to rise to the occasion not once but twice in the next week.