Zola says Hazard is among the best in the world

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Gianfranco Zola felt Eden Hazard’s superb late winner in the 2-1 Carabao Cup win at Liverpool served as proof that the forward is one of the best players in the world.

Hazard, having come off the bench, fired in at the end of a wonderful run in the 85th minute of the third round tie as the visitors came from behind and halted the Reds’ winning start to the season.

It was put to Chelsea assistant boss Zola afterwards that Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher had described Hazard as the Premier League’s best player and the Italian said: “I would like to add something on top of that.

“I think Eden is one of the best players in Europe and one of the best players in the world, for sure, and 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.”

Hazard told Sky Sports when asked if the goal would make his top five: “I don’t know, I need to watch it again, but for sure it’s on top of the list also because it’s Liverpool.”

As well as scoring, Hazard, who came on just before Daniel Sturridge’s acrobatic 58th-minute opener, was also involved in Chelsea’s equaliser in the 79th minute.

He delivered a free-kick into the box, where Ross Barkley’s header was palmed away by Simon Mignolet and Emerson Palmieri prodded in.

The incident went to a VAR review for offside before the final decision was made that the goal should stand.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – who, like his Chelsea counterpart Maurizio Sarri, made eight changes to his starting line-up ahead of the clubs meeting again at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday – questioned the leveller.

Klopp said: “It was an unlucky situation because neither the foul (leading to the free-kick) nor the goal itself was clear. You can discuss about both situations. That’s not too cool.

“I don’t think it’s a foul. He (Naby Keita) plays the ball and then I think he touched (Victor Moses) afterwards, but things like that happen.

“And then the situation – I didn’t see it in the game, of course, but when they started using the VAR I knew it was close, obviously, and it was close, it was really close. I don’t think I have the Liverpool glasses on my nose – I would say it’s offside.

“You have two players that are clearly offside and they block. They don’t touch the ball but they block players, my players. That means they have a big impact in the situation.

“And then the one, Barkley, who makes the header, for me, is offside as well. Not much. But I don’t expect that the ref (Kevin Friend) would see that. Then you have the VAR and have a look and it’s close. Why do you use it if you don’t want to make the decision then? That’s all.

“So I don’t feel bad, because it was only unlucky. You have a free-kick that was maybe no free-kick. And the other one – maybe in the future when you use VAR then you say: ‘OK, that’s offside’.

“I don’t expect using in situations like this the VAR, to be honest. But if you use it, make a decision.”

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