Former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish says Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has played a key role in the Blues’ early-season success.
The Serbian international re-joined the Stamford Bridge outfit last January, three years after the club sold him to Benfica in a deal which brought David Luiz to West London.
His role in the team has been instantly recognisable as he breaks up the play in the defensive midfield position and allows his fellow teammates to push forward and be more creative.
Alongside Cesc Fabregas, the duo have become the most talked about midfield partnership this season with many observers praising their understanding and teamwork.
Former Liverpool hero Dalglish followed a similar pattern with his praise, though the fiery Scot says his boss Jose Mourinho deserves credit for realising his importance and bringing him back to West London.
“Nemanja Matic has been particularly important to the side this season and it was Mourinho’s strength of character that brought him back to Stamford Bridge,” he wrote in the Mirror.
“He was allowed to leave the club once, but Mourinho recognised he had matured into exactly the type of player he needed and he wasn’t too proud to re-sign him.”
“Matic provides Chelsea with great balance, cover for the back four and clever positional play. He is one of those players who has the gift of knowing what he is going to do before he has even received the ball.”
Matic is suspended for the Blues’ trip to Newcastle United on Saturday after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 3-0 victory over Spurs in midweek.
The 26-year-old has featured in every Premier League fixture for Mourinho’s side this season, averaging 3.4 tackles and 2.9 effective clearances per outing.