Steven Gerrard returned to action in Liverpool's victory at Brighton in the third round of the Carling Cup on a night when 10-man Chelsea knocked out West London derby rivals Fulham on penalties.
Owen Hargreaves marked his Manchester City debut in style by helping to eliminate holders Birmingham, while Everton will also be in the hat for Saturday's fourth-round draw after defeating Premier League rivals West Brom in extra-time.
There was also spot-kick drama in Cardiff's penalty shoot-out win over Leicester, but Southampton made easier work of their tie by maintaining an excellent home record with a win over Preston.
Craig Bellamy's first goal since his return to Liverpool set Kenny Dalglish's men on their way to a 2-1 win at Brighton, while Gerrard made his comeback from a six-month injury absence as a second-half substitute.
Ten-man Chelsea were forced to battle to a penalties against Fulham after Brazilian defender Alex's debatable second-half red card in a 0-0 draw and Andre Villas-Boas' men then dramatically won 4-3 in the shoot-out.
Injury-plagued Hargreaves played his first competitive action since last November and his opening goal on his Manchester City debut helped earn an impressive 2-0 win over Chris Hughton's Birmingham.
Everton staged a dramatic, late comeback to knockout West Brom, as Marouane Fellaini's 89th minute equaliser forced extra-time at Goodison Park before Phil Neville won the match in the 103rd minute.
Sven Goran Eriksson's Leicester drew 2-2 with Cardiff after extra-time in Wales, but the home side then won a tense penalty shoot-out with a 7-6 sudden-death victory.
Southampton's excellent start to the season continued, as Adam Lallana's second-half goal earned Nigel Adkins' Championship table-toppers a 2-1 victory over League One Preston and a 15th successive win at St Mary's.