Eden Hazard: Chelsea did not give chance to Mohamed Salah

Published by:

Eden Hazard has conceded Mohamed Salah “did not get his chance at Chelsea” as the Belgian captain prepares to meet his former club-mate on the opposing team when the Blues face Liverpool on Saturday.

The Belgian had been impressed by the impact made by the winger at Liverpool since the Egyptian’s return to England. “He is still my friend and we are still in contact,” said Hazard. “He’s a top, top, top player. He did not get his chance at Chelsea – maybe because of the manager, because of the other players? I don’t know.”

“He’s a top player, for sure, and we know as a team the quality he has. He is a fantastic striker and this season he has scored a lot of goals. It is always good to play against a friend but Liverpool is not only about Salah. They have a lot of quality players.”

Chelsea had beaten Liverpool back in January 2014 to Salah’s signature from Basel for around £11m when the Egyptian was in effect replacing the departed Juan Mata, only for him to find opportunities limited under the management of Jose Mourinho.

He only made six Premier League starts under the Portuguese, and, with his top-flight career failing to extend beyond nine hours of football he was loaned to Serie A clubs Fiorentina and Roma before making a permanent move to the Stadio Olimpico eventually.

“I watched him when he played for Roma,” Hazard added. “Now he is still at the top. And then even with his country he did well to reach the World Cup. At Liverpool he is still doing well, so I think we need to be careful with him. I want to ask him for his shirt, for sure, on Saturday.”

Chelsea will only have one training session ahead of their game against Liverpool, but with Hazard’s penalty against Qarabag in the Champions League on Wednesday coming as a sixth goal in seven matches they are in fine form. “I am feeling good, 100%,” The Belgian added. “A lot of players didn’t play on Wednesday and I played only 60 minutes and N’Golo [Kanté] also came off, so we can be fresh on Saturday, even if the game is close. We are professional; we can deal with this.”

Prediction:

Liverpool 1:3 Chelsea

Everton to contest diving charge against Oumar Niasse

Published by:

Everton is prepared to contest charges against Toffees striker Oumar Niasse who has been accused “successful deception of a match official” by simulating during a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Senegal international won a controversial penalty for Everton after minimal contact from Scott Dann. The spot-kick, awarded by referee Anthony Taylor was subsequently converted by Leighton Baines, before Niasse scored the equalizer in normal play.

Dann claimed that Niasse, who drew Everton level for a second time with a goal on the stroke of half-time, had “conned the referee” but it is understood Everton will appeal against any charges.

“Incidents which suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation are referred to a panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player,” read an FA statement.

“Each panel member will be asked to review all available video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it was an offence of ‘successful deception of a match official’. Only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous would the FA issue a charge.”

Niasse, who defended himself following the incident and told the Liverpool Echo he would be “shocked” to be charged, had until 6pm on Tuesday night to respond.

New laws were introduced in May allowing players to be charged after a game for simulation throughout the English leagues, with Carlisle forward Shaun Miller becoming the first to be banned for two games in October.

However, none of the players in the Premier League had been charged before Niasse, with Manchester City forward Bernardo Silva and Watford’s Richarlison both avoiding charges.

West Brom sacks boss Tony Pulis after thrashing by Chelsea

Published by:

West Bromwich Albion coach Tony Pulis has been sacked from the club after a poor run of form that culminated with a 4-0 top-flight defeat by Chelsea at home.

Gary Megson, his assistant and also a former manager of the club, will be taking over on an interim basis “until further notice” as Pulis becomes the fifth manager to be relieved of his post in the Premier League.

The managerial casualties began with Frank de Boer, who was sacked by Crystal Palace in September after only 77 days in charge, Craig Shakespeare who left Leicester just four months after signing a three-year permanent deal in October Ronald Koeman was sacked by Everton later that month and West Ham dismissed Slaven Bilic earlier this month.

Pulis was appointed as coach of West Brom in January 2015, when the team were 17th in the Premier League table — but he was able to guide the team to assured survival 13th, falling a place the following season before ending the next in 10th — the club’s highest ever finish.

Nevertheless, the good work Pulis had done appears disregarded as the Baggies lag a point above the relegation zone at present despite winning their first three games. Their winless run in 10 Premier League games was met with heavy criticism from without and within and appeared to have prompt the club management into action.

Regardless of the injustice, Pulis, 59, said he was “proud” to have managed the club and predicted the team can finish in the “upper reaches” of the table, whilst defending his record through a statement in the League Managers Association.

“My remit was to develop the squad and ensure we delivered results which would in turn improve the club’s financial position,” the Welsh coach said. “Our final league position in the last three seasons has represented the accomplishment of our targets as a club; sustaining our status in the Premier League and delivering stability, throughout the club’s transition of ownership.”

With Pulis’s dismissal, West Brom are now looking to appoint their sixth permanent manager since 2011, but will not be allowed time and space as they are due to visit Tottenham this Saturday.

Defensively frail Liverpool squanders three-goal lead at Sevilla

Published by:

A second-half rally by Sevilla and defensive frailties saw Liverpool squander a three-goal lead against the Spanish team that culminated in a 3-3 draw.

While Sevilla, who won the Europa League trophy over the Reds in 2016 did not dealt the same amount of heartbreak this time around, Liverpool is reminded once more that their defensive frailties remains ever present despite their scintillating attacking form.

Jurgen Klopp’s team looked to be cruising into the knockout stage for the first time since 2009 in the first-half. The first came just after 88 minutes, and was flicked on by Georginio Wijnaldum into the path of the unmarked Roberto Firmino, who swept home for Liverpool’s second fastest goal in the competition.

Brazilian international Firmino then turned provider as he flicked on another corner for Mane to power home with his head for his first goal for the Reds since 27 August, and looked to have sealed the game after tapping home Sadio Mane’s parried shot to make it 3-0 on the half-hour.

But Sevilla did come back, beginning at the 51st minute with Alberto Moreno’s needlessly conceded free-kick against his former club, which Wissam Ben Yedder’s header made it 3-1.

Misery piled on the 25-year-old Moreno as he subsequently conceded a penalty by clipping Ben Yedder, which the French striker converted despite being ordered to retake a successful spot-kick because of encroachment.

Guido Pizarro then struck in the dying moments after the visitors failed to deal with a corner to leave Liverpool with work to do in their Champions League campaign, with Klopp claiming that his team stopped playing in what had been a remarkable Champions League tie.

“It feels like we lost the game,” the German manager said.“The description of the game is easy. Fantastic first half for us, the second half we made a mistake — we didn’t carry on playing football. It’s normal to try to control the game but a team like us has to control the game with the ball.”

“We didn’t play football any more. We became passive, they scored the first, then it was obvious the atmosphere changed immediately. That gave them a big boost. Until the second goal we were reactive. After the second goal it was an open game again but we couldn’t score off the counterattacks. We opened the door for them, didn’t close it, so they could score in the last minute. That’s the story of the game.”