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Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea
by James Nalton
EDEN HAZARD made the difference on Wednesday night as Chelsea ended Liverpool's perfect start to the season by knocking them out of the League Cup.
Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola described the Belgian as one of the best players in the world after he came off the bench to score an outstanding game-winner.
When asked if Hazard was one of the best players in the Premier League, Zola replied: "I would like to add something on top of that. Eden is one of the best players in Europe and one of the best in the world, for sure. What he's done today, that goal, is proof of that. He’s doing the right things at the right moment.”
The two sides sent out much-changed starting line-ups as is expected in this competition, with second-choice goalkeepers and defenders on display for both.
Liverpool created numerous chances but only had one goal to show for it. Naby Keita’s shot was parried by Willy Caballero, but Daniel Sturridge was in position to score the rebound with an acrobatic scissor kick.
Chelsea equalised in controversial circumstances. Replays showed at least one player stood in an offside position, with Alvaro Morata obstructing Simon Mignolet’s line of vision as Hazard whipped in a free-kick. Ross Barkley’s header was parried by Mignolet, before Emerson tucked in the rebound.
There was a delay while the video assistant referee was consulted, but the goal still stood.
“You have two players that are clearly offside and they block,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“They don’t touch the ball, they block players. That means a big impact in the situation.
“I don’t expect them to use the VAR in situations like this, to be honest, but, if you use it, make a decision.”
Hazard scored the winner with five minutes left in the game, dancing past Keita and Alberto Moreno before powering a shot past compatriot Mignolet.
Zola is hoping for a similar result when the sides meet tomorrow in the Premier League.
"Liverpool are a very good team, but in the end we won and we didn't steal anything,” he said.
“Saturday is going to be similar. Two teams that don't sacrifice their philosophy and want to win. Hopefully it will be the same type of game, spectacular and good to watch."
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