Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Costa won't bully us' - Klopp


Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool they must not allow in-form Chelsea striker Diego Costa to bully them at Stamford Bridge tonight.

The Anfield boss says the Reds' backline must be combative against the fiery Spain international, who has scored four league goals already this season.

Centre-back Dejan Lovren, who missed the win over Leicester City due to a head injury, is expected to return to the Liverpool team alongside Joel Matip.

"Being aggressive is important against Costa," Klopp said.

"If you are in a friendly game mood then you have no chance.

"He is a real warrior on the pitch. He uses his body all the time - that is his quality. World class.

"He was nearly unstoppable against Swansea. He is strong, no doubt."

However, Klopp insists trying to provoke Costa won't be part of his gameplan.

"It is not part of our preparation," Klopp added.

"I never said in my life to a team: 'he's always close to a red card, do whatever you can so that he gets it'.

"Antonio (Conte) has already created a good relationship with him so he is completely different.

"He is in good shape. He is aggressive yes, but I didn't see until now challenges where you could say it should have been a red card. I thought against Swansea it was more a problem for the two defenders.

"There will be hard challenges, but it is not about having a one-on-one fight the whole 90 minutes and then saying: 'I took him out of the game'.

"Taking Diego out of the game makes sense but even then our players can create moments so there are a lot more things to do than only think about Diego Costa."

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, meanwhile, insists he has every confidence in David Luiz after confirming the Brazilian will start against Liverpool tonight.


Luiz, the shock £34million deadline-day signing from Paris St Germain, will replace injured skipper John Terry at Stamford Bridge.

After completing the signing Conte vowed to work on the 29-year-old's weaknesses, so Liverpool will be the first team to test the supposedly new and improved Luiz.

"David Luiz will play for the first time with us and we are confident about this," said the Italian. "We expect him to play very well, with great attention. We know David is a good player and we are working to put him in the best condition to give us the best of him.

"When new players arrive they need time to adapt to a new concept of football. We need to play David Luiz.

"He has worked a lot on defensive situations. I'm confident for him. He's a good player and during the training sessions I have been seeing good things."

Conte confirmed Terry would be available 10 days after his ankle ligament injury was initially diagnosed on Tuesday.

He also dismissed suggestions midfielder Cesc Fabregas could be sold in the next transfer window. The Spain international has been reduced to a substitute's role so far this season, casting doubt over his future at the club.

But Conte insists Fabregas remains an integral part of his plans and has no intention of letting him leave in January.

"Cesc is in my plans and in Chelsea's plans," he said.

"We all know Cesc is a fantastic player. I see him in every training session with great seriousness and if he continues in this way it will be very difficult choice for me.

"I want this from my players, to put doubts in my mind. Cesc is a great player, we all know he's a very technical player, but also I'm starting to know him like a man."

Chelsea, unbeaten so far this season, take on a Liverpool side buoyed by an impressive 4-1 win over champions Leicester last weekend. "I'm expecting a very tough match against a strong team," added Conte.

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