Carlo Ancelotti appreciates Steven Gerrard

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Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has heaped praise on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard ahead of their Premier League meeting at Anfield on Sunday.

The Italian coach hailed the England international who came off the bench to score a hat-trick in Thursday's 3-1 Europa League triumph over Napoli on Merseyside.

Liverpool fell behind to Ezequiel Lavezzi's cool finish, forcing boss Roy Hodgson into action at the break.

He brought Gerrard on at the expense of Milan Jovanovic and his move was justified when his captain struck three times in the final 15 minutes.

"The victory against Napoli was important in improving their confidence, so we have to be ready to fight and stay focused for the whole game," said the Italian.

"They've changed the manager and have had some problems since the beginning of the season. But they've moved on and won the last three games.

"We have to think they're one of the best teams in England. There will be a fantastic atmosphere and they will have the support of their fans.

"I think Liverpool's bad start is over. But it's good for us to think they've moved on from the bad moment."

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