Craig Bellamy paid tribute to his deceased friend and mentor Gary Speed with a man-of-the-match performance Tuesday. The Welsh winger set-up both goals in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Chelsea, marking an emotional return to the lineup following Speed's tragic death.
The Wales national team manager was found dead at his home Sunday morning in an apparent case of suicide.
Reds' boss Kenny Dalglish withdrew the distraught Bellamy from the Reds' lineup for that evening's contest with Manchester City.
The veteran attacker teased and tormented Chelsea defenders on his return to action 48 hours later. His off-the-ball run and cross in the 58th minute set up Maxi Rodriguez for the game's opening goal. Six minutes later, he delivered an inch-perfect free-kick to the head of Martin Kelly for the second.
Dalglish praised the grieving 32-year-old for his virtuouso display.
"We know he is a fantastic footballer," he said. "He had a hugely disappointing day on Sunday. Speedy, who he regarded as a mentor, passed away.
"For any of the players who have been a friend of his who played over the weekend or tonight elsewhere, speaks volumes for them because he was very well liked and very well respected. For the wee man, it's great for him."
Bellamy was substituted in the 79th minute and gave Dalglish a lengthy embrace when he crossed the sidelines. Both sets of supporters chanted "There's only one Gary Speed" as the Welshman took a seat on the bench.
Review all the action from Tuesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.tv
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