Manchester: With no European competitions clogging up their schedules, Chelsea and Liverpool are placing more importance on the English League Cup than usual this season.
They both advanced to the last 16 on Tuesday but took different routes.
Chelsea came from two goals behind at Premier League champion Leicester, taking an end-to-end game to extra time at 2-2 thanks to goals from defenders Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta before Cesc Fabregas’ double clinched a 4-2 win.
Liverpool had it much easier, dispatching second-tier Derby in a 3-0 victory with Ragnar Klavan, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi scoring the goals.
Chelsea and Liverpool both rested key players but still fielded strong lineups in a bid to stay alive in one of three competitions they’ll enter this season.
Liverpool is a record eight-time League Cup winner, while Chelsea is joint-second in the all-time list of trophy winners with five titles.
Leicester has much bigger priorities this season. Aside from attempting to retain its Premier League title, Claudio Ranieri’s team are in the Champions League for the first time and likely will not be too concerned about exiting a competition of the least importance.
Japan forward Shinji Okazaki took advantage of defensive errors to score twice for Leicester at King Power Stadium, but the hosts were undermanned in extra time after Marcin Wasilewski collected his second yellow card in the 89th for elbowing Diego Costa in the face.
Fabregas’ two goals send a message to Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who has marginalized the Spain midfielder at the start of the season.
Everton failed to transfer its strong Premier League form to the League Cup by losing to second-tier Norwich, which played almost a complete reserve team.
Steven Naismith, a former Everton player, and Norwich double their lead in spectacular style as one of the Murphy twins, Josh, spins with his back to goal maybe 18 yards out, unleashes a left-footed strike that whizzes in off the underside of the bar!Josh Murphy were the scorers.
Everton has been the surprise of the Premier League so far, currently sitting in second place after an unbeaten start that includes four wins from five games. The team’s last piece of major silverware came in 1995.
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