Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola hailed Eden Hazard as one of the world’s best after the Belgian’s spectacular winner sent the Belgian’s spectacular winner sent the Blues into the Last 16 of the League Cup at Liverpool’s expense with a 2-1 victory at Anfield.
Both sides made eight changes with one eye on the top of the table Premier League clash between the same two sides on Saturday.
But Maurizio Sarri’s gamble on throwing on Hazard 10 minutes into the second half paid off as Emerson Palmier leveled form his free-kick 11 minutes from time before the Belgian’s wonderful solo effort won the tie.
“Not only is he one of the best in the Premier League if not the best –but he is one of the best in Europe and the world,” said Zola, himself a Chelsea legend as a player.
Liverpool took longer to adjust to the wholesale changes with Fabinho making his full debut in midfield his full part as Croatia reached the World Cup final.
Sarri introduced Hazard with 35 minutes remaining, but moments later his side was behind as Sturridge made amends in spectacular fashion with an overhead kick after Caballero parried Naby Keita’s drive.
Hazard tool his time to make an impact, but also had a hand in the equalizer as his free-kick was headed goalwards by Ross Barkley and after Mignolet made a smart save, Emerson poked the rebound into the goal.
Sturridge came close to putting Liverpool back in front as he hit the bar.
But instead, it was Hazard who showed his class to strike the winner as he danced past five Liverpool challenges before crashing a rising shot into the far corner for his sixth goal of the season.
(Emerson 79, Hazard 85)
(Welbeck 5, 37, Lacazette 90)
(Alli 82-pen, Lamela 86)
(Success 46, Capoue 89)
Tottenham won 4-2 on penalties
Nottingham Forest 3
(Osborn 19, Murphy 40, Lolley 50)
(Afobe 60, Berahino 83)
From Online Sources