Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp needs no reminding of Eden Hazard’s capabilities as he attempts to find a way to subdue the Chelsea star for their blockbuster Premier League showdown.
The Belgian came off the bench to score an excellent late solo goal as the Blues clinched a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at Anfield in midweek, ending Liverpool’s perfect start to the season.
Both sides fielded largely second-string line-ups, but Hazard is likely to start when the Reds travel to Stamford Bridge at Saturday teatime, and Klopp thinks he knows what to expect.
The German said: “I know exactly how good he is. Eden Hazard is a special player, obviously, and he enjoys these one-on-one situations or one versus two or three situations, he enjoys it.
“I didn’t need that game to know about Eden, it was already clear before.
“But no player is not defendable. They are difficult to defend. If you give Sadio Mane the ball in the wrong space then you cannot get him anymore as an opponent. It’s not possible.”
He said: “How do we defend Jorginho? Then we have these two and then Willian is there, of course, and (Alvaro) Morata or (Olivier) Giroud. Aye, aye, aye. And then (Mateo) Kovacic is running with the ball like a Formula One car and (N’Golo) Kante, don’t forget him. They are pretty important, all of them.”
Liverpool have an immediate opportunity for revenge against Maurizio Sarri’s men, who dropped league points for the first time this season after drawing a blank at West Ham last week.
Asked whether their first defeat of the campaign impacted morale in the squad, Klopp said: “It’s not cool, it’s not what you want.
“We shouldn’t be surprised things like this can happen, especially against a really strong side when you don’t use your chances.
“Of course, immediately afterwards it’s not good, but then you have two days in this case to get back on track.
“That’s worked so far. We go to Chelsea and try our best again. But in games like this you can never be sure you get the result you want, you have to work for it and once again we try.”
While Trent Alexander-Arnold has returned to training, Klopp refused to comment on whether fellow defender Virgil van Dijk will be available after the Dutchman suffered a rib injury in last week’s 3-0 win over Southampton.
Klopp said: “Trent trained (on Thursday) completely normal. It was not a knock, Trent was a bit ill.
“The rest are pretty good, but with Virgil we have to wait. He hasn’t trained so far with the team, but I can’t say any more about that.”
Liverpool have won their opening six top-flight fixtures, but their early title credentials will be severely tested over the next couple of weeks as they follow up the Chelsea clash by welcoming champions Manchester City to Merseyside next Sunday.
Klopp added: “Before we started it was clear that a game against Chelsea at Chelsea will not be a children’s birthday or whatever, that’s pretty intense.
“Then we go to Naples which is a tough place to go and then Man City coming.
“It’s an interesting month, to be honest. But, so far, so good and the boys are fully in it and ready to go.”