Guus Hiddink hails in-form Eden Hazard after Chelsea draw at Liverpool
Published 11/05/2016 | 23:41
Chelsea's interim manager Guus Hiddink believes Eden Hazard is now back to his best after starring in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
The Belgium international's fourth goal in as many games after returning from a month out with a hip injury appeared to have clinched a third successive win at Anfield only for substitute Christian Benteke to head home an added-time equaliser.
Even that could not take the gloss off a masterful performance from last year's player of the season.
"He had a difficult year. He was one of the best last year and this year he is falling into injury, coming back nearly, falling back into injury and that made him vulnerable physically and you get frustrated," said Hiddink.
"The last few weeks he has been working on a programme to be fully fit and now steadily he has got his shape and then you can see what he is able to do.
"He has a lot of talent, is clever and can play one-on-one and he is physically and mentally fit and it is a pleasure to see.
"I don't know (if he has been hurt by criticism of his performances) - probably.
"Everyone has criticism, it is how you deal with that. It can be possible he will be affected a bit but it is always good to see the reaction and to show he is capable of playing as he did."
Chelsea were without captain John Terry, whose suspension means he will not play again before his contract expires in the summer.
However, Hiddink has not written off the possibility of the 35-year-old remaining with the club into next season, with the player's representatives speaking to the club earlier on Wednesday.
"Let's wait to see what happens in the upcoming days on this issue," he added.
"Of course John is in contact every day with us and he has made such a long career that the fans appreciate him highly.
"We will see regarding his near future, let's wait a bit.
"Hopefully both are wise parties and let's hope for the best. It is difficult to see which direction it is going."
Not for the first time in recent weeks Liverpool staged a comeback after refusing to give up on the result.
Despite another fightback Jurgen Klopp, who brought up his 50th match in charge in just 217 days, the quickest time of any Liverpool manager, urged his players to have more faith in their own abilities.
"In the first 15 minutes we were great, playing wonderful football without scoring," he said.
"There was not enough faith in our own quality and so we lost patience - and when you lose patience it is always difficult - and we lost formation.
"There were a lot of moments when we shot and we should have passed.
"If you don't think you need to score in each situation then you can celebrate other situations.
"I love this stadium, I love this atmosphere but everyone lost patience tonight and the crowd did too.
"You see we all don't trust finally our quality and that is what we have to learn in the future - and we will.
"We had the most offensive formation what we could have in the last 15 minutes; each striker and offensive midfielder was on and there was a wonderful cross from Sheyi Ojo and Christian was where he has to be.
"That was great for the night, celebrating with the families and crowd, it was wonderful that we didn't lose.
"We have to build on these positive signs that the boys gave us in the last few months."