Chelsea boss wary of threat posed by Liverpool's Salah

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Has been among the goals: Mohamed Salah

Antonio Conte believes Chelsea face a “very dangerous” Mohamed Salah and Liverpool on Saturday but warned they can have no excuses if they do not perform despite a trying week of travel.

Salah joined Chelsea in January 2014, having impressed playing against them for Swiss side Basel.

But the Egypt forward was soon loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma, making the latter move permanent in 2016 before joining Liverpool last summer.

Conte declined to discuss the reasons for Salah’s unsuccessful Chelsea spell, because it was before his time at the club. But the Italian did praise the Premier League‘s top scorer.

“He was very young and I think now he developed a lot,” Conte said.

“Salah is a good player and is very dangerous. He’s a technical player, but at the same time is very fast, very strong, very good in one v one.

“Also he’s very good to finish. We must pay great attention, but not only to Salah, also to (Sadio) Mane, (Roberto) Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, (Daniel) Sturridge.

“They have a good coach (Jurgen Klopp), they have a good identity. Great organisation, especially offensively. They are very dangerous.”

Cruised to a comfortable win against Qarabag: Chelsea

Cruised to a comfortable win against Qarabag: Chelsea

The Blues won 4-0 against Qarabag to qualify from Champions League Group C on Wednesday night, returning to London following the 2,500-mile flight from Baku, Azerbaijan early on Thursday morning.

Conte has continually bemoaned the fixture scheduling which sees his side go to Anfield following limited recovery and one day’s preparation, 24 hours less than that afforded to Liverpool, who drew at Sevilla on Tuesday.

Chelsea’s return was complicated as the aeroplane landed at the second attempt – the first was aborted due to strong winds at Gatwick – and Conte says he and his players finally got to their beds at 6am.

“It was a problem to land. In these circumstances you feel a bit afraid, a bit scared,” Conte added.

“To get to your house at 6am is not simple. To have only one day to prepare a big game, especially to have only one day to rest, is not right.

“But at the same time we must be focused on the game, a big game against Liverpool. Don’t find excuses.”

Conte appeared fresh faced after shaving the beard he grew during the international break, having valued the opinions of his daughter Vittoria over those of his wife Elisabetta, who had encouraged him to grow it.

With his beard grown: Antonio Conte

With his beard grown: Antonio Conte

He added: “I wanted to try a new look, but yesterday my daughter killed me. She said to me ‘Daddy, your look is older with the beard’.

“My daughter is more important than my wife.”

His side go in search of a fifth straight league win, but trail leaders Manchester City by nine points entering this weekend’s fixtures.

Victor Moses, a key component of Chelsea’s title win last season, is available after a six-week absence with a hamstring injury.

Moses, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Liverpool, is expected to be among the substitutes alongside David Luiz and Willian. Andreas Christensen and Alvaro Morata are likely to start.

Conte has adjusted his favoured 3-4-3 formation following some inconsistent displays, fielding an additional midfielder.

He said: “We are trying to find different solutions compared to last season.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Salah another Chelsea talent to get away and other Premier League talking points

David Cooper 24/11/2017
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Liverpool go up against Chelsea on Saturday as both sides look to avoid losing further ground on runaway leaders Manchester City.

Here, we discuss five talking points ahead of another intriguing weekend in the Premier League.

PALACE RESURGENCE READY FOR LIFT-OFF

This weekend marks 10 weeks since Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge at Palace, with fans still waiting for the revival he was supposed to spark.

There have been near-misses – Southampton, Newcastle and Tottenham all beat them by a single goal – and missed opportunities, with home games against West Ham and Everton, both woefully out of form, yielding only two points.

Performances have improved, and luck has played a part, but Palace must now capitalise on a kinder run of fixtures, starting at home to Stoke on Saturday. It is time to deliver.

Currently at the bottom of the table: Crystal Palace

Currently at the bottom of the table: Crystal Palace

ARSENAL TRIUMPHED OVER TOTTENHAM BUT CAN THEY BATTLE AT BURNLEY?

There is perhaps no better fixture to test Arsenal’s mettle and the abiding expectation appears to be that their exhilarating victory over Spurs might not carry over into a rough and tumble at Turf Moor.

That may prove the case but to judge anything but an away win as another Arsenal failure would be to underestimate Burnley, who have lost only once at home all season and have already taken points off Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

With Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez firing again, Arsenal have no excuse not to compete. But a draw would not be the worst result.

Will look to secure three points at

Will look to secure three points at Turf Moor: Arsenal

SALAH ANOTHER CHELSEA TALENT THAT GOT AWAY

Kevin de Bruyne has already reminded Chelsea this season of what they might have had orchestrating their midfield and there could be another Stamford Bridge cast-off about to prove a point this weekend.

Mohamed Salah, sold to Roma in 2016, has proven a sensational signing by Liverpool, with 14 goals in 20 games heading into Saturday’s clash at Anfield.

Chelsea can ill-afford to let their nine-point gap behind Manchester City grow further while Liverpool will be looking for a pick-up after their midweek collapse against Sevilla. Salah is likely to be key.

Will be key for Liverpool: Mohamed Salah

Will be key for Liverpool: Mohamed Salah

MEGSON’S WEST BROM CAN BE OPTIMISTIC AT WEMBLEY

Under Tony Pulis, West Brom became something of a bogey team for Spurs, managing three consecutive draws against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, between two convincing defeats.

In fact, Tottenham have only beaten West Brom twice in their last seven meetings with them at home, a record that points to a more long-standing problem when trying to break down resilient opponents.

The irony then is that with Pulis gone, West Brom are likely to play more freely this weekend, which in turn would play into Tottenham’s hands. Interim boss Gary Megson will want to appease the fans but this might not be the week to do it.

Will want to make an impression after Tony Pulis' (R) exit: Gary Megson (L)

Will want to make an impression after Tony Pulis’ (R) exit: Gary Megson (L)

BOOSTED BOURNEMOUTH SHOULD EXTEND SWANSEA SLIDE

Swansea have lost seven of their last eight matches and sit 19th in the Premier League table. With Palace below them showing signs of revival, there is a distinct possibility Paul Clement’s side could be bottom by the turn of the year unless form improves.

Results at home have been particularly disappointing – they have managed only one win at the Liberty Stadium this season.

Swansea host Bournemouth this weekend, with the Cherries on the up after four wins in five. Clement insists he has the support of the club’s owners but more disappointment, and the pressure will mount.

Have registered four wins out of five: Bournemouth

Have registered four wins out of five: Bournemouth

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Chelsea never gave Salah a chance, says Hazard ahead of Liverpool clash

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Eden Hazard believes Mohamed Salah wasn’t afforded the time or opportunity to settle in and thrive at Chelsea back in 2014.

The Liverpool winger has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving at Anfield in the summer but had initially joined Chelsea in January 2014 for £11 million only to be confined to the fringes of the first team under Jose Mourinho.

Hazard however, was hugely impressed with the Egyptian and is even more so now after his start at Liverpool.

“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 has quality but in that period I remember we had me, Willian, Oscar, so for him it was not easy. But 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.”

Jurgen Klopp has suggested that perhaps he was ‘a kid’ when he joined Chelsea but after a successful spell in Serie A with AS Roma, Salah is ‘a man now’ and is thriving at Liverpool.

“But in training he would do everything,” said Hazard. “Even in the games when he was playing, sometimes he would score goals, so we knew the quality he had. I am just happy for him.

“I watched him when he played for Roma – one of my friends from the national team, Radja Nainggolan, is also there – and he did very well. 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 beat Qarabag 4-0 in Baku on Wednesday night to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and they landed at Gatwick at 0300GMT on Thursday morning following a near 2,500-mile flight.

Head coach Antonio Conte has complained that this is the second time this season his side have had to play on a Saturday following a Wednesday night game away in the Champions League.

Chelsea won at Atletico Madrid in September, but then lost 1-0 to Manchester City, who lead the Blues by nine points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Anfield.

“The time between the two games is very short,” Hazard said.

“We need to adapt. We didn’t adapt well against Man City so we need to do better on Saturday.

“I want to be feeling good. A lot of players didn’t play, I played only 60 minutes and N’Golo (Kante) also came off so we can be fresh on Saturday, even if the game is close.

“We are professional, we can deal with this. We will do everything, we will do recovery and we will see on Saturday.”

Hazard suffered a broken ankle in June and was unavailable for Chelsea until September.

The Belgium playmaker has six goals in seven games, including two at West Brom last Saturday and a penalty in the win in Azerbaijan.

“I am feeling good, 100 per cent,” Hazard added.

“After injury sometimes you are feeling not 100 per cent but I am ready to play every game and of course when you are winning games it helps.

“Confidence is high, everything is in our hands to win games.

“We just want to keep playing like this and win games.”

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