Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Chelsea, Liverpool on course in League Cup

Published:Wednesday | September 21, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Fabregas

MANCHESTER, England (AP):

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 champions 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 line-ups in a bid to stay alive in one of three competitions they'll enter this season. Liverpool are record eight-time League Cup winners, while Chelsea are joint second in the all-time list of trophy winners with five titles.

 

BIGGER PRIORITIES

 

Leicester have much bigger priorities this season. Aside from attempting to retain their 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 sent a message to Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who has marginalised the Spain midfielder at the start of the season.

Everton failed to transfer their strong Premier League form to the League Cup by losing 0-2 to second-tier Norwich, which played almost a complete reserve team.

Lucas Perez, a recent signing from Spanish side Deportivo La CoruÒa, scored twice in the second half for his first goals for Arsenal in their 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Granit Xhaka scored from long range - as he did against Hull in the Premier League on Saturday - to put Arsenal ahead and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain wrapped up the victory for a visiting team featuring a mix of youth-team players and fringe squad members.