Frank Lampard provided a timely reminder of his value to Chelsea by scoring twice as his side reclaimed third place in the Premier League by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Everton on Sunday.
The 34-year-old England midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season, cancelled out Steven Pienaar's opener shortly before half-time and then claimed the winner with 18 minutes remaining at Goodison Park.
Victory moved Rafael Benitez's side above Tottenham Hotspur into third place, four points behind second-place Manchester City and with a game in hand, while Everton remain sixth, three points below the top four.
"It was very hard. This is always one of the most difficult games of the season," said Lampard.
"We got a (2-0) tanking here last year and we had to stand up for ourselves. We went 1-0 down but after half an hour, we started getting into the game.
"Once we got a foothold, we got a goal at a good time. It was always going to be very close and we did ride our luck at times.
"We have to keep believing this season -- there is a long way to go. We can only win our games then rely on other things."
Defeat prevented Everton from asserting their Champions League credentials, but they had started the game in menacing fashion and took the lead after just 63 seconds.
Victor Anichebe met stand-in right-back Phil Jagielka's floated cross with a header that came back off the left-hand post and Pienaar charged in to spear the ball past Petr Cech, who was making his 400th Chelsea appearance.
Nikica Jelavic then hit the same portion of woodwork with a free-kick, before Lampard equalised in the 42nd minute when he met Ramires' cross with a precisely directed downward header.
Chelsea lost Cech to an apparent ankle injury at half-time and his replacement, Ross Turnbull, was beaten by a Jelavic header in the 69th minute, only for the crossbar to come to his rescue.
The winning goal arrived three minutes later, Lampard nudging the ball into the roof of the net after Tim Howard saved from Juan Mata, to give the Blues a fourth consecutive league win.
Everton's best chance of an equaliser fell to Jelavic in injury time, but the Croatian striker got his legs in a tangle and could not make meaningful contact with Leighton Baines' cross.
Liverpool can draw level with ninth-placed Swansea City if they win at bottom club Queens Park Rangers later on Sunday, but they will be without manager Brendan Rodgers at Loftus Road due to illness.
Rodgers, as well as reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones and head of performance Glen Driscoll, was sent home by Liverpool's medical staff after picking up a bug.
QPR returned to the foot of the table after losing 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday and Harry Redknapp's side go into the game eight points adrift of safety.