Eden Hazard says Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was not given a fair chance to prove his worth for Chelsea as the two players prepare to face off on Saturday.
In different circumstances, the wingers could have been on the same team, but Salah was axed by Chelsea despite making just 13 appearances, joining first Fiorentina and then Roma before sealing a big-money move to Anfield.
Although Chelsea’s manager at the time, Jose Mourinho, had his reservations over Salah, Hazard insists he always knew the Egyptian was good enough for the Blues.
The Belgian explained: ‘He did not get the chance [at Chelsea]. Maybe because of the manager, because of the players, I don’t know. But he is a top player for sure.
‘In training he did everything. Even in the games when he was playing, sometimes he scored goals, so we know the quality he has.
‘I think his feeling was good. But when you are not playing in one club you need to go.
‘You need a chance and he took his chance at Fiorentina, so he did everything that you have to do when you are not playing. If I am not playing, I want to go. That’s normal because all the players want to play.’
He continued: ‘He is still my friend. We are still in contact together. He’s a top, top, top player. He did not get his chance at Chelsea but we know, in the team, the quality he has.
‘He is a fantastic striker and this season he has scored a lot of goals.’
Liverpool host Chelsea on Saturday evening, and Hazard has already revealed that he will ask Salah – who leads the Premier League’s scoring charts with nine goals – for his shirt after the game.