Chelsea edged Liverpool to progress to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup thanks to a wondrous effort from the bench by Eden Hazard.
Maurizio Sarri surprised fans once again, this time by not fielding youngsters at all in the starting eleven. Chelsea were always on an even footing with Liverpool throughout the ninety. Daniel Sturridge’s poacher’s effort was cancelled by Emerson Palmieri latching on to the loose ball inside the box resulting from the corner.
With the game heading towards a draw, Eden Hazard came up trumps once again for Chelsea. The Belgian produced a piece of wizardry to dribble past a couple of Liverpool players before thundering the ball into the bottom corner, leaving people in shock and awe. The goal deserved to be the winner and as it turned, it indeed was, with Chelsea progressing to the Fourth Round.
Let us now take a look at how the Chelsea players fared in the Carabao Cup clash.
Willy Caballero – 8
Could have warranted an even higher rating. The veteran showed he is still capable of being more than just a reserve keeper. Brilliant saves all across, including the effort from Naby Keita that led to Daniel Sturridge scoring with a weirdly balanced kick on the rebound.
Six saves to his name, Caballero will be hoping he does enough to show Sarri he is a reliable option in case Kepa falters during the season.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6
Another average outing from the Spaniard. The right-back was awarded an assist for the Eden Hazard goal – an effort that was all the Belgian’s work. Sarri perhaps, provided another chance for the defender to impress and Azpilicueta could be in danger of losing his place in the near future.
Gary Cahill – 7
An assured performance at the back. The veteran was handed his first start of the season and fully made it count. Will be hoping for more chances to come his way.
Andreas Christensen – 6.5
Ideally, Christensen put in a similar shift to Cahill at the back. But, Christensen was responsible for losing the ball on one occasion very close to the box, which could have spelt danger for Chelsea. An above-average performance nonetheless.
Emerson Palmieri – 7
Was opportunistic to put the ball into the back of the net and grab the equalizer. In general, dealt with the threat of Xherdan Shaqiri well. Could play himself into the thick of things.
Ross Barkley – 6.5
Another outing that proves that Barkley is heading in the right direction. The improvement from last season to this is there for all to see as a fit Barkley caused trouble on a couple of occasions. Would want to make direct contributions more often though.
Cesc Fabregas – 7
Another rare starter that impressed. Fabregas sliced open the Liverpool defence on occasions with his passes and was unlucky to not grab an assist, with Morata failing to convert. Positive from the Spaniard.
Mateo Kovacic – 5.5
It is clear that Kovacic needs accomplished players beside him in midfield to shine. With Barkley given the free reign to go forward, Kovacic failed to perform the other duties to a considerable extent. Was brought off for Kante as Chelsea pushed for an equalizer.
Victor Moses – 6.5
Mixed bag of a performance from Moses. Got into good positions but failed to deliver anything of promise. Had 3 successful dribbles to his name but was dispossessed more number of times than he can afford. Not likely to do him any favours, this display.
Alvaro Morata – 6
As disappointing as they come, Morata actually performed better than his last couple of outings. But, his duck in front of goal continued as he just couldn’t manage to put the ball into the back of the net. Was caught offside a number of times as well. Sarri might just have to delve into the transfer market in January to resolve the striker crisis.
Willian – 6
Was the first one to be brought off, with Eden Hazard coming on. The Brazilian could not apply himself as well on the left and left a lot to be desired. Needs to do better.
Eden Hazard – 8
Hazard did not cause much trouble since coming on. But, the one piece of magic was enough for him to endear himself to the fans. What a crazy mazy run and one that ensured Chelsea’s passage into the Fourth Round. Stuff of champions from the Belgian wizard.
N’Golo Kante – 6.5
Came on for Kovacic and oversaw an immediate change of pace from Chelsea. Kante brought urgency into the rest of the team and was crucial to the change of fortunes for the Blues.
David Luiz – N/A
Brought on as a fresh pair of legs and mainly due to the Brazilian being more attacking in nature than Christensen. Did not do well.