SHARE


Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard gestures during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has challenged Eden Hazard to take a central role in his side’s bid to close the gap on Manchester City when the champions face Swansea City on Wednesday.

Forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday, Chelsea are lagging 11 points behind runaway leaders City.

If Conte’s side are to have any change of catching the Premier League pace-setters, they must reel off the kind of lengthy winning streak that catapulted them to the title last season.

Key to Chelsea’s hopes of emulating that burst is the form of Belgium playmaker Hazard, who looks back to his best after an injury-hit start to the campaign.

Hazard was outstanding playing alongside Alvaro Morata at Anfield and Liverpool found it impossible to subdue him.

The 26-year-old often dropped into midfield to control possession and Conte feels his flexibility brings new dimension to the team.

“The start of this season was full of trouble with Eden because he had an injury with the national team and we started the season without him,” Conte said.

“Now I think Eden is in really good form and I think he likes to play as a striker.

“There is a good link with Alvaro and for me also it’s a great opportunity to play with two different systems.”

Although Chelsea are unbeaten…



…rest of the post