Liverpool ended Chelsea's hopes of a domestic Double with victory at Old Trafford in their FA Cup semi-final.
Riise squeezes in his free-kick for Liverpool's opener
Didier Drogba missed two gilt-edged chances for Chelsea before John Arne Riise's free-kick put the Reds ahead.
Luis Garcia brilliantly half-volleyed in from 20 yards to extend Liverpool's lead but Drogba headed in to set up an enthralling end to the game.
Chelsea then put their rivals under siege and Joe Cole blazed a late chance over as Liverpool clung on for the win.
There was some gentle sparring between the two sides at the start of the match before Chelsea seized the early initiative and should have taken the lead.
Drogba had a header after eight minutes when Hernan Crespo flicked on a Frank Lampard corner but the Blues striker put his effort disappointingly wide.
Drogba was again the culprit for the Premiership leaders when, despite a strong suspicion of offside, he was one-on-one with Reds keeper Jose Reina only to shoot wide after chesting down Lampard's lofted ball.
Chelsea were made to pay for their profligacy almost immediately when Liverpool won a dubious free-kick for a high John Terry foot as he went for a bouncing ball with Garcia.
But the Reds made the most of any fortune with Riise curling a 20-yard free-kick through the Chelsea wall and past keeper Carlo Cudicini.
Chelsea struggled to break down the Reds at a packed Old Trafford while Liverpool threatened to add to their lead.
Garcia celebrates his expertly taken goal which put Liverpool 2-0 up
And the Merseysiders were almost helped in their cause by a rare Terry error when he sold Cudicini short with a header back to his keeper.
Cudicini and Reds striker Crouch were injured as they both challenged for the loose ball before picking themselves up to carry on.
Steven Gerrard pulled a ball back from the byline for Garcia on the stroke of half-time and he should have done better than to blaze high.
Chelsea brought on winger Arjen Robben after the break and he almost had an immediate effect when he swung in a free-kick which Terry headed in at the far post.
But the effort was ruled out for Terry holding down Riise and it got worse for the Blues when the Reds added a second.
Garcia seized on a poor header by William Gallas and expertly half-volleyed in from 20 yards.
The Reds were dominant against their off-colour rivals and a Garcia volley forced Cudicini into a scrambling save.
Chelsea upped their game and started to put their opponents under more and more pressure with Joe Cole and Damien Duff coming on.
And they pulled a goal back when Riise mis-timed a headed clearance and Reina failed to punch the ball clear to allow Drogba to nod home.
Robben shot straight at Reina from six yards during an enthralling spell in the game, with Liverpool pinned back in their own half.
Liverpool had to endure some scary moments with Cole's late effort, but some desperate defending helped book their place in the FA Cup final on 13 May.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Paulo Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Del Horno (Robben 45), Essien, Lampard, Makelele, Geremi (Duff 62), Crespo (Joe Cole 62), Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Cech, Ricardo Carvalho.
Goals: Drogba 70.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell (Traore 78), Luis Garcia (Morientes 82), Crouch (Cisse 69).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Hamann.
Booked: Carragher, Reina.
Goals: Riise 21, Luis Garcia 53.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).