Eden Hazard has joked that he had no choice but to score the sensational solo goal that sealed Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup third round because N’Golo Kante had told him he did not want to take a penalty.
Chelsea trailed at Anfield from the 58th minute when Daniel Sturridge acrobatically fired beyond Willy Caballero, but Emerson Palmieri bundled in a controversial equaliser before Hazard beat five Liverpool defenders in the course of a dazzling move and smashed the winner past Simon Mignolet.
It was Hazard’s sixth goal in eight matches this season and will surely go down as one of the best of his career, but the Belgian gave a light-hearted response when asked by Sky Sports what had been going through his mind on the pitch.
“I spoke with N’Golo [Kante] on the bench & he told me he didn’t want to take a penalty [in a shootout], so the only solution was to score,” a smiling Hazard said.
“This result will give us more confidence because we drew with West Ham four days ago. The game on Saturday [against Liverpool in the Premier League] is more important. We have got to try and beat Liverpool on Saturday.”
Hazard’s blistering start to this season has led many to suggest that he may finally be about to fulfill his scoring potential under Maurizio Sarri this season, and assistant Gianfranco Zola believes there is even more still to come from Chelsea’s superstar.
“It’s a fantastic goal,” Zola told Sky Sports. “Not only the beauty of it but for the time he scored it. 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.
“He’s going fast in maturity, in choices on the pitch, and in my opinion we haven’t seen the best yet. He has unbelievable potential and he’s beginning to use it only in the right moment. He’s remarkable.”
Sarri and Jurgen Klopp both made significant changes to their teams with one eye on Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday, and Zola warned that this result will have no bearing on how things will play out when both club’s starters meet at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a big win but to be fair it was a close game,” he added. “They could have won. In the end we won but they could have won it as well. They are a brilliant team. Saturday will be a completely different game. I hope it is as beautiful.”
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