Hazard show exposes Reds' weakness

LONDON • If a wondrous goal provided a timely reminder of Eden Hazard's talent, his reinvigorated desire was underlined by an 81st-minute chase deep into his own half to dispossess Nathaniel Clyne in a game that meant little.

The question of where Hazard has been for most of this Premier League season stays unanswered, but he did not just turn up at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Chelsea forward was denied match-winning status by an injury-time equaliser from Liverpool's Christian Benteke, profiting from a mistake by Asmir Begovic, the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Juergen Klopp's 50th game as Liverpool manager will be remembered mainly for Hazard's brilliance as his team produced a performance in the 1-1 draw that showed how far they still have to go regardless of their progress in Europe.

Not only could Liverpool not contain Hazard, but they also had no one within their own ranks who came close to matching the threat that he carried.

It was not until the second minute of stoppage time that Liverpool got an equalising goal that came by accident rather than by design but it extended their unbeaten home run to a 13th game.

Klopp was thrilled with his side's late equaliser, but bemoaned his players' lack of patience.

Liverpool face Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday with both silverware and a Champions League place up for grabs, and Klopp believes this result will provide his side with precious momentum and confidence.

But he wants his players to learn the art of remaining calm when everything is not going to plan.

"We showed in the first 15 minutes what we are capable of. We were great - wonderful football, without scoring," said the German.

"But there was not enough faith in our own quality, so we lost patience and, when you lose patience in football, it's always difficult."

Klopp praised Chelsea and accepted that the result could have gone in the other way, but for a strong second-half defensive showing from his side.

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink felt his side should have held on after taking the lead, but he was satisfied with their display.

"Of course, it's a big disappointment," he said. "But I think defensively we were organised and offensively we had the intensity to score a beautiful goal through Eden.

"We should have killed the game off, but we can be satisfied with the performance of the team."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'Hazard show exposes Reds' weakness'. Subscribe