Thibaut Courtois says that the Chelsea squad believe they can win an unprecedented four trophies this season, as a new generation of players at the club find themselves one game away from their first final together.
Courtois was the outstanding player in Chelsea’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg 1-1 draw at Anfield on Tuesday night, having returned to the team in place of Petr Cech. The Belgian, who has been rested for the League Cup until this week, said that he no longer feels discomfort in his thumb, an injury sustained in the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea face Bradford City in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday and then Liverpool in the return leg at Stamford Bridge next week. Asked whether Chelsea could still challenge for all trophies, Jose Mournho said on Tuesday that it was “too difficult”. Courtois said that the squad believed it was possible.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1 player ratings
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1 player ratings
1/22 Simon Mignolet
Could do little with Hazard’s spot-kick but quick off line to halt Costa in opening seconds of second period. Less busy of the Belgian keepers. 6/10
2/22 Emre Can
Played again in unorthodox position and gave Hazard opportunity to tumble and earn penalty. Stuck to task well thereafter and got forward. 6
3/22 Martin Skrtel
Led and cajoled his centre-back partners through a testing night and made a crucial challenge on Costa in the closing minutes to preserve draw for hosts.6
4/22 Mamadou Sakho
Relished muscular battle with Costa and rightly allowed to play on after Spanish-Brazilian went down easily outside area. Growing into the team.6
5/22 Lazar Markovic
Collapsed to ground in heap to earn Luis booking. Could not be faulted for lack of effort or application – but had little overall impact on proceedings.6
6/22 Jordan Henderson
Drove forward when chances arose and presented Chelsea with problems with his passing. Made Courtois work with strong shot from 20 yards.7
Remained back to allow Gerrard and Henderson to press on. Almost played Sterling through before the interval. Carded for bringing down Hazard.6
8/22 Alberto Moreno
Stationed further forward and never stopped running all night. Saw cross blocked by Willian. Fouled by Mikel but offered Reds help at both ends.6
9/22 Steven Gerrard
Tested Courtois with swerving effort and struck post after break before being replaced in forceful showing. Booked for chopping down Hazard.7
10/22 Philippe Coutinho
Fine ball through to Sterling was intercepted by Cahill and was main attacking threat behind Sterling as Reds sought to earn first-leg advantage.7
11/22 Raheem Sterling
So that’s what a break in Jamaica can do... Darted around but struggled to make an impact before driving through heart of Chelsea’s back line to level.8
12/22 Thibaut Courtois
Returned to side for first time since defeat at Spurs. Fine tip over from Gerrard and also Coutinho and Lallana. Strong handling and left exposed for Sterling goal.8
13/22 Branislav Ivanovic
Has rivalled Fabregas for assists in recent games and got forward well but was found lacking in defence. Often left others to make up ground for him.5
14/22 Gary Cahill
Struggled for form in recent weeks but made vital interception to stop Coutinho’s through ball. Failed to halt Sterling for equaliser.6
15/22 John Terry
Kept a lot busier than Saturday’s cakewalk of a match at Swansea. Troubled by trickery of a rested Sterling but kept focus as hosts turned up heat.6
16/22 Filipe Luis
Harshly censured after Markovic made most of his flailing arm. Shot over from outside area and was another to struggle with Reds’ intensity after half-time.6
17/22 John Obi Mikel
Nigerian brought back into team to allow Fabregas to move forward but does not offer same presence as the Spaniard. Lacking in composure. 6
18/22 Nemanja Matic
Kept ball flowing as Chelsea relied on counter-attack for their chances. Lost Sterling for the goal but his physicality added to an out-of-sorts defence.6
Pacy Brazilian was left to bail out Ivanovic on more than one occasion and his work rate put a few of his colleagues to shame. Taken off near the end.7
20/22 Cesc Fabregas
Deployed further forward in the hole behind Costa and linked up to great effect with Hazard in opening exchanges. As with rest of team, wilted after interval.6
21/22 Eden Hazard
Intelligent in possession but often a marked man. Enjoyed more spot-kick success than countryman Mirallas had in same city the previous night.7
22/22 Diego Costa
Not his best night. Fortunate to escape handball on stroke of half-time. Went close immediately after break but denied by rapidity of Mignolet.6
He said: “It's difficult to say, but in this moment we are playing well. We have passed through all competitions. Now we are in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup, are top of the league, there is an important game in the FA Cup on Saturday which we have to win and soon we will be playing Paris St Germain in the Champions League.
“It will be hard but we have the team that can win everything. Obviously there are a lot of teams that can win too. It will be hard, but it's what we're aiming for.
“If you play a final and win it, you get that feeling to win trophies and you want to win more and more and more. That feeling is in the whole group now, especially after what happened last season when they didn't win anything and were close to some trophies. You want to win everything that's possible, starting with the League Cup.
He added: “Myself, [Diego] Costa, Filipe [Luis], [Cesc] Fabregas and the rest of the team want to win trophies for Chelsea. That starts in the League Cup to the last game in the Champions League. We want to win everything, it will be difficult, but I think we have the team to do it. Hopefully we can achieve it. To play a final at Wembley is a really nice experience. It's in London too so could be a really nice game.”
On his competition for the goalkeeper’s shirt with Cech, who played the three previous games, Courtois said: “He is behind me and pushing me. I know in training that we are working hard and at a really high level. He is a top goalkeeper and I know I have to play well to continue to play. We are not busy [competing] with each other though, we just want to help the team. That's the most important thing.”
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