Liverpool first-team coach Steve Clarke has hailed the professionalism of Chelsea goalscoring hero Maxi Rodriguez.
The Argentine midfielder had made just one fleeting Premier League substitute appearance this season before being thrust into Kenny Dalglish's starting XI for Sunday's important clash at Stamford Bridge.
His well-taken 33rd-minute strike set the Reds on their way to a 2-1 win and capped an energetic display from the 30-year-old.
But Clarke insists his impressive performance came as a surprise to no-one at Anfield.
He said: "Everybody here knows the qualities of Maxi.
"He's been unfortunate this year that he's not had an extended run in the team, but what it does say about him is that he is a complete professional.
"When you're not in the team, it's difficult to come in every day, work hard and be prepared for your chance. Maxi has worked hard every day in training.
"When Maxi went in, he did a fantastic job for us."
Rodriguez, a free transfer signing from Atletico Madrid in January 2010, was not the only standout performer as Liverpool earned their second straight win in West London.
Clarke believes the Reds' overall team display emphasised the strength in depth which Dalglish has at his disposal.
"Everybody has spoken about the squad we've got this year. We feel it's an improvement on what we inherited when Kenny and I came to the club," Clarke told the club's official website.
"The squad is stronger this year and I think the weekend proved that. If you look at the bench, it was very strong.
"What you try to create at a club like Liverpool is competition for places. Everybody has that competition for their place now and it can only be helpful for the group going forward."