Daniel Sturridge was on target twice in Chelsea's seven-goal rout
Chelsea started their FA Cup defence with a resounding win over Championship strugglers Ipswich, paving the way for a fourth-round trip to Everton.
Salomon Kalou put Chelsea ahead after keeper Marton Fulop had failed to cut out a Nicolas Anelka strike.
Daniel Sturridge back-heeled a swift second before Frank Lampard's free-kick was deflected in by Carlos Edwards.
Anelka punished some slack defending to make it four, Sturridge curled home a fifth, and Lampard added a late double.
After a dramatic dip in league form which has brought Chelsea just 10 points from their last 11 games, comfortable passage to the next round was the perfect tonic for the club's embattled manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian could perhaps have wished for a less testing fourth-round assignment than a visit to Merseyside for what will be a repeat of the 2009 final, but after a comprehensive win the holders will at least travel in good heart.
Even without a clutch of their star performers, Chelsea were a class above the visitors. If a dominant performance which recalled their sparkling start to the season doesn't instil renewed belief in the ranks of the defending champions, nothing will.
Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, and Florent Malouda were all named on the bench, and with Ashley Cole missing out altogether, Chelsea looked to spice a nonetheless experienced line-up with a sprinkling of youth.
There was a starting berth for each of Josh McEachran, Patrick Van Aanholt and Sturridge, and Anelka also returned to spearhead a three-pronged attack. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the number of changes, it took time for the Chelsea juggernaut to get rolling.
Ipswich took advantage of that fact to give a good early account of themselves, never more so than when Jason Scotland combined with David Norris before testing Chelsea keeper Petr Cech with a firm effort.
But two goals in two first-half minutes set the ball rolling for the holders, and from that point it was a baptism of fire for Ipswich's caretaker manager Ian McParland, who took the Portman Road helm following the departure of Roy Keane on Friday.
McParland's task was complicated by the absence of a trio of key players in recalled Sunderland loanee Jack Colback, cup-tied striker Rory Fallon, and the suspended Grant Leadbitter.
But with Chelsea in such rampant form, a much-changed Ipswich line-up stood little chance once Ancelotti's men had made the first incision.
That moment came on 32 minutes, when the visitors conceded possession cheaply in midfield, allowing Anelka to fire off an effort which, having squirmed past Fulop, was tapped home by Kalou.
Sixty seconds later, Sturridge, whose second start of the season was deserved reward for a five-goal haul for the reserves in the midweek, back-heeled home Jose Bosingwa's centre. At that point, Ipswich's problems began in earnest.
By the time Sturridge added his second, a curling effort into the corner seven minutes after the break, the visitors were already 4-0 down, Anelka having broken a 10-game duck after further defensive laxity from McParland's men.
For the beleaguered Fulop, it was a nightmare revisited. This time last year, the Hungary international was in goal for Sunderland as they were overwhelmed 7-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard soon ensured that nightmare became reality for Fulop and his Ipswich team-mates.
With 12 minutes remaining, the England international drove home from outside the area, and a minute later he doubled his tally, bundling in a low centre from Branislav Ivanovic to complete the rout.
While Ipswich retain the haunted look of a side with two wins in 11 games, Chelsea remain on course to become the first side to lift the Cup for three consecutive seasons, a feat last accomplished by Blackburn in 1886.
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