Jurgen Klopp was asked how his Liverpool side will cope with Eden Hazard after the Belgium forward sunk them at Anfield this week.
Liverpool face Chelsea for the second time in four days when they travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Klopp made it clear that he was well aware of Hazard’s ability well before his brilliant Wednesday night winner.
Klopp referenced a game when Hazard and Diego Costa caused Liverpool problems a few years ago before he was asked if he had made special plans for the Belgium playmaker this weekend.
“I know exactly how good he is. He’s a special player and he enjoys these one vs one situations,” said Klopp of Hazard. “I didn’t need that game to find out about that.
“If we had one 100% challenge out of the four or five we had, he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did.”
Klopp was then asked whether he would try and stop the supply line into Hazard or man mark him this weekend.
“Stop passes to him? Good idea? Being close? Good idea, but he likes players being close sometimes,” said Klopp.
“We all know we could have stopped that goal but he used that situation. No player is not defendable. We had three challenges. We say in Germany ‘I have him’ but really nobody had him really.
“If we had one 100% challenge from three or four challenges then Eden Hazard can not do what he did. He used the situation well with both our players in doubt.
“We never want to do that. We need one for the challenge and one for protection or two for the protection.
“We have these players as well though. If you give Sadio Mane the ball in the wrong space then it’s not possible to get him as an opponent, it is not possible.
“We have to close the right spaces and if we have a challenge we have to win it, more than we did in that situation.”
The Reds were beaten 2-1 in the League Cup in midweek and Klopp was posed the question whether that defeat provided added incentive to topple Maurizio Sarri’s charges.
“It will be tough and intense for both sides. It’s a big one,” added Klopp. “It already sounds good, and we have to make sure it is good. Both teams know it won’t be an easy game.
“The best preparation for Saturday’s game is Wednesday’s game. There will be different players but we will learn from the game.
“We try to use the information from [Wednesday] to be better on Saturday. Striking back is a nice opportunity.”