Craig Bellamy steered Liverpool into the Carling Cup semi-finals to heap further pressure on under-fire Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Bellamy's pinpoint delivery set up second-half goals for Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly as the Reds took a step closer to winning their first silverware since 2006.
It completed an emotional return for Bellamy, who had been omitted from the squad for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City on compassionate grounds following the death of close friend Gary Speed.
The 32-year-old Wales winger provided the spark of creativity Liverpool needed to defeat toothless opposition who were prone to erratic defending.
The ineffectual Andy Carroll, who started at Stamford Bridge, missed a first-half penalty while Chelsea should have been awarded a clear spot-kick after just two minutes.