Zola hails Hazard

Gianfranco Zola labelled Eden Hazard as one of the best players in the world after the Belgian showed his class with a wonderful winner at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Hazard came off the bench to seal an impressive turnaround against the Premier League leaders, having also played a part in the equaliser when he saw his cross turned home by Emerson Palmieri after Ross Barkley’s header had been saved.

The winning goal was classic Hazard, twisting and turning between defenders before dispatching an unstoppable drive beyond his compatriot Simon Mignolet.

Zola was responding to Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who suggested Hazard is currently the best player in the Premier League.

‘I would like to add something on top of it,’ Zola began. ‘Eden is one of the best players in Europe and in the world, for sure. What he’s done today, that goal is proof of that.

‘He is getting better and better. He is doing the right things at the right moment and in a wonderful way. I think Jamie is correct in what he says.’

It is high praise from one Chelsea great to another, Zola himself no stranger to giving defenders a tough time with his low centre of gravity and close control.

We now look ahead to facing Jurgen Klopp’s side in the league at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Zola doesn’t believe today’s game will have any bearing on the weekend but admits it is a good feeling to leave Anfield with a win.

‘I don’t think it will have a big impact, to be honest. Of course, we are very pleased and we will go into the game with a good feeling but Saturday is going to be different,’ the Italian said. ‘Today, to be fair, it was such a close game, they played very well, they could have won, and they had the chances to win it.

‘They are a very good team but in the end, we won and we didn’t steal anything. Saturday is going to be similar, two teams that don’t sacrifice their philosophy, [who] want to win and are going to try to win on Saturday as well. Hopefully, it will be the same type of game, spectacular and good to watch.’

Video highlights of the game are available from midnight UK time here on the official website and on The 5th Stand, our official app.