But those roles were reversed on Wednesday night as Kalou provided the breakthrough, Lampard added the gloss and Atletico Madrid defender Luis Perea completed his team's misery.
1-0: Kalou gets his first of the night
Kalou's display was peppered with a little of the sublime and a fair share of the ridiculous, but will have done wonders for his confidence.
Confidence-wise, the same is true for Lampard, who ended a 10-game spell without a goal for his club and moved to fifth place in Chelsea's all-time scoring charts.
Didier Drogba should be very grateful to his team-mates for taking Chelsea to within one point of the Champions League knockout stages during his self-inflicted absence.
He will be available after a three-match suspension for his abuse of referee Tom Henning Ovrebo when Chelsea aim to complete the job in the Vicente Calderon Stadium in a fortnight.
And after laboured victories over Porto and APOEL Nicosia, courtesy of solitary Nicolas Anelka goals, Drogba owes his team-mates a performance in the Spanish capital having blotted his copy book so spectacularly in last season's semi-final.
But if Drogba's presence was missed in Chelsea's first two Group D games, the same cannot be said of last night's meeting with Atletico.
Easy Street: Kalou wheels away as John Terry and Michael Ballack look on
After some initial ebb and flow, normal Stamford Bridge service was resumed as Chelsea extended their unbeaten home run in Europe to 20 games.
Chelsea's suspect defending of late - six of the eight goals they have conceded in the league this season have come from opposition set-plays - may have prompted Carlo Ancelotti to wield an axe which fell on Ricardo Carvalho.
But any problems at the back are mild to those of Atletico. Arriving at Stamford Bridge with an atrocious defensive record of 21 goals conceded in 11 games - 17 away from home.
Neither have Atletico been helped by the loss of form by the strike partnership of Sergio Aguero and double Golden Boot winner Diego Forlan. The South American duo left Stamford Bridge without adding to the combined total of four goals this season as their team shipped the same amount.
Rising high: Kalou exploits some weak defending to net Chelsea's second
That said, the early exchanges suggested this might turn out to be a tighter affair than transpired.
Chelsea were first to show their teeth, Juliano Belletti testingSergio Asenjo inside a minute before Kalou planted a header wide.
But Atletico were soon giving cause for concern, Forlan's bullet header from Simao's ball forcing a smart stop from Petr Cech before Aguero blasted into the side netting. The pulsating pace did not abate, both sides mounting attack after attack while the high percentage of sloppy passes only added to the spectacle.
Chelsea thought they had drawn first blood when Lampard's looping free-kick found the back of the net with a helping hand from Asenjo. But the strike was ruled out with Kalou deemed to have been offside.
If that decision was harsh then there was no excuse for the miss which followed. Deco worked the ball to Michael Ballack on the right who crossed unselfishly only to see Kalou side-foot wide with the goal at his mercy.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining Kalou came within a whisker of atoning for his howler with a deflected shot, although the linesman's flag saved his blushes when he appeared to clear John Terry's goalbound header of the line.
Such calamities were soon forgotten four minutes before the break when Lampard found Ashley Cole on the overlap and his cross was too inviting for Kalou to miss from point-blank range. The alarm bells started ringing again after the restart for Atletico when Anelka picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and crashed a rising drive which required a spectacular one-handed stop from Asenjo.
Maestro: Lampard struck to become Chelsea's fifth top scorer
Their chaotic defending was in evidence once more when Belletti's long throw was allowed to bounce in the box, nearly deceiving Asenjo who was forced to claw it away for a corner. The respite was brief, however. Lampard sent in the resulting centre and Kalou rose the highest to power home his header from close range in the 52nd minute.
With a defence this porous, it was on the cards that Lampard would end his barren spell. But still his 20-yard skimmer into bottom corner was certainly one to savour as it moved him ahead of Jimmy Greaves in the Chelsea record books.
Perea completed his team's misery, heading substitute Florent Malouda's free-kick past his own keeper.
No doubt the pasting prompted angry recriminations among the Atletico players like those among the Chelsea squad after the defeat at Aston Villa.
Thanks to Kalou and Lampard, there were no such harsh words in the Chelsea dressing room.
Mutu's £17m Chelsea fine payment delayed after Swiss Court rulingChelsea star Zhirkov feeling just grand after backing Kazan to bash BarcaChelsea v Atletico: The action as it happenedCHELSEA FC