x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Eden Hazard hails 'massive, massive result' as Chelsea beat Liverpool to keep top four hopes alive

Giroud scored the only goal of the game to give Chelsea the chance to pull level on points if they win game in hand against Huddersfield on Wednesday

Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the decisive goal in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP Photo
Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the decisive goal in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP Photo

Belgian winger Eden Hazard said Chelsea's win over Liverpool on Sunday was a "massive, massive result" as the London club kept alive their hopes of claiming a top four finish in the Premier League.

Olivier Giroud's 32nd minute header at Stamford Bridge lifted fifth-placed Chelsea to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race to qualify for next season's Uefa Champions League.

A fourth successive victory equalled Chelsea's longest league winning streak this season, keeping them in the hunt for a top four finish while denting third-placed Liverpool's challenge for the same target.

It was a frustrating return to domestic action for Liverpool after their Champions League semi-final success against Roma in midweek.

____________

Read more:

'I will miss you': Arsene Wenger pays tribute to Arsenal fans after final home game

Man City savour title celebrations as Huddersfield claim invaluable point

Warnock hails his 'biggest achievement' as Cardiff secure Premier League promotion

____________

In a dramatic conclusion to the top four battle, Chelsea, who are three points behind Liverpool, host Huddersfield Town on Wednesday and Tottenham face Newcastle United the same evening.

On the final day of the season next Sunday, Chelsea head to Newcastle and Tottenham entertain Leicester City. With only one win in their last five league games, Liverpool have made their top four status an unnecessarily tense affair.

"Massive, massive result," Hazard said. "It's a big win so we can try to be in the top four at the end of the season. We want something big at the season, so when you win games like this it's good for the whole team."

Hazard, 27, reserved special praise for match-winner Giroud, who has made an immediate impact at Chelsea following his January move across London from Arsenal.

Sunday's strike was the Frenchman's latest crucial goal for Chelsea, following his double against Southampton when his side were trailling 2-0 before going on to win 3-2.

"[Giroud] is easy to find on the pitch, when you are a small player like me, it's nice to have a target man like him," Hazard said. "He missed a couple but in the end he scored and we won the game so it's okay.

"If we win our last two games I think we will make the top four, it is not in our own hands, but we will give everything."

Giroud dedicated his goal to teammate David Luiz, who has been absent from the Chelsea team with injury since February. After scoring, the Frenchman ran over to the Chelsea dugout and sought out Luiz.

"I know when Victor [Moses] doesn't cross the ball at first he's going to go on his right, so I had to be ready at the front post and luckily I finished it," Giroud said.

"David Luiz is a good friend, so I was very pleased to dedicate him this goal because he is going through a tough period and he is coming back."

Jurgen Klopp's team should still be able to guarantee a Champions League berth if they beat Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield on Sunday.

Even if they don't finish in the top four, Liverpool can return to Europe's elite club competition by defeating Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26.

It was a rare quiet night for Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, who struggled to trouble the Chelsea defence and was booked for diving in the first half.

Updated: May 6, 2018 10:35 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editors Picks