Sarri defends team selection after Chelsea defeat

Maurizio Sarri stood by his decision to play without a recognised striker against Liverpool.

Chelsea were beaten 2-0 at Anfield, where Sarri started with Eden Hazard as a so-called false nine.

The Blues head coach responded to Liverpool scoring twice in the space of two second-half minutes by bringing on striker Gonzalo Higuain.

His team were immediately transformed by Hazard reverting to his natural role and the Belgian hit the post during a spell of pressure in which Chelsea very nearly found a way back into the match.

But Sarri insisted he had no regrets about his team selection.

“I think our solution with Eden as a false nine was the right one today,” he said.

The result took Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League, while Chelsea remain fourth.

“Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe but I think we stayed in the match very well,” Sarri said.

“I think we were a little unlucky with the timing of the second goal and then we were unlucky because we had three goal opportunities – two with Hazard and one with Higuain – and we hit the post for the 35th time this season.

“But I am really very happy with the performance. Probably two or three months ago we would not be able to stay in this kind of match, so I think we are improving.”