LONDON (REUTERS) - Chelsea completed a torrid few days for Liverpool as goals by Willian and Ross Barkley sealed a 2-0 victory to send them through to the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday (March 3).
Liverpool's 44-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League ended in stunning fashion with a 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday and they were rocked again at Stamford Bridge.
Keeper Adrian allowed Willian's powerful shot to creep past him in the 13th minute and former Everton midfielder Barkley drove home Chelsea's second goal just past the hour mark.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp made seven changes to the side that lost to Watford but he still fielded an experienced line-up, having played a virtual under-21 side in the previous round against Shrewsbury Town.
"Losing 2-0 is not good, but it is relatively easy to explain. We made two massive mistakes around the goals," said Klopp.
Sadio Mane wasted several early chances and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, back for the first time since being dropped in January, made a remarkable triple save before halftime.
"It is not the best three weeks of the whole season but it is a chance to make it the best three weeks now and that is the plan," added Klopp.
"Nobody has to feel sorry for us, we will win football games and that is what we want to do on Saturday."
But Chelsea, with 18-year-old Billy Gilmour impressive in midfield, were merited winners as they moved through.
For Liverpool, a season of utter dominance has suddenly hit a slump with three defeats in four games in all competitions having also lost to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League, last-16 tie.
"We are not the Chelsea of different eras gone by with (Eden) Hazard and (Diego) Costa, (John) Terry and (Didier) Drogba, we've got younger players but we are trying to bridge the gap upwards," said Blues manager Frank Lampard.
"I can't ask for any more in the spirit, work ethic and quality. You have got to defend very well to keep a clean sheet against them."
Chelsea got the lift they needed from the opening goal as Liverpool's understudy goalkeeper Adrian undid the good work of a brilliant save from Willian within a minute.
The Brazilian was gifted possession again just outside the Liverpool box and this time Adrian could only turn his powerful drive into the bottom corner.
At the other end, Arrizabalaga, who had been dropped for the previous five games, showed why Chelsea spent £72 million (SS$128 million) on him just over 18 months ago as he made three reaction saves in a matter of seconds to deny Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino what seemed a certain equaliser.
Chelsea then lost Mateo Kovacic and Willian to injury either side of half-time to further deplete Lampard's midfield options.
But that may provide the opportunity Barkley needs to kickstart his flagging career at the Bridge.
The England international doubled Chelsea's lead in spectacular style midway through the second half as he galloped forward from inside his own half before smashing past Adrian from outside the area.
Newcastle and Sheffield United also booked their place in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
A double from Miguel Almiron helped Newcastle to a 3-2 win at West Brom to reach the last eight for the first time in 14 years.
Sheffield United needed extra-time to see off Reading 2-1, but the Blades' brilliant campaign continued thanks to a winner from captain Billy Sharp.