Hazard, Liverpool top AP weekly soccer poll

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2014 at 10:44 am •  Published: February 11, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's 5-1 rout of Arsenal helped it return to the top of The Associated Press weekly soccer poll on Tuesday, while Eden Hazard's hat trick for new English leader Chelsea earned him the top player vote.

For toppling the Premier League front-runner at Anfield, Liverpool was voted team of the week for the second time this season.

Paolo Condo of Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy described the performance as "supernatural," while Ubiratan Leal of Brazil's trivela.com praised the style of the win with Liverpool scoring four times in the opening 20 minutes.

"The way the Reds destroyed Arsenal showed how (Brendan) Rodgers' team is for real, and he has created a style of play that makes us imagine how far they could go in a couple of seasons," Leal said.

Hazard, who led Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Newcastle, received an impressive 188 votes out of a possible 190. His side polled second, 52 points behind Liverpool.

"Eden Hazard is so elusive on the pitch that he often escapes the sort of attention given to the likes of Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez," Chris Tait of The Herald in Scotland said. "The Belgian's hat trick for Chelsea is a good reminder that he is one of the best talents in Europe."

Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel entered the poll for the first time this season in third and fifth respectively, after they scored two goals each for Liverpool. A third Liverpool player, Philippe Coutinho, was seventh.

Lionel Messi, scorer of two in Barcelona's 4-1 triumph at Sevilla in the Spanish league, polled second as he's rounded quickly into form after a hamstring injury ruled him out for two months.