Klopp: "Liverpool could have stopped Hazard's wonder goal"
Jürgen Klopp reassured Liverpool fans that his side know how to stop Chelsea's Eden Hazard, despite his wonder goal on Wednesday.
Liverpool could have stopped Eden Hazard's superb solo goal at Anfield, according to Jürgen Klopp, who backed his players to keep the in-form Chelsea man quiet when they meet again at Stamford Bridge tomorrow evening.
Hazard tore through the Reds' defence to score an 85th-minute winner in Chelsea's 2-1 EFL Carabao Cup victory over Liverpool on Wednesday but Klopp claimed the Belgium international is not unstoppable. Both sides go into Saturday's game with unbeaten Premier League records this season and Klopp said he knew what to expect from Maurizio Sarri's men.
Hazard winner could have been prevented - Klopp
"We all know we could have defended that goal he scored," Klopp told reporters today. "We had three challenges. If one 100 per cent challenge is made from four or five [possible challenges] then Eden Hazard can't do what he did. But he used the situation, both players were in doubt. We never want to do that. We need one for the challenge and two for protection. He did score - I respect that - but no player is not defendable. We have to make sure we close the right spaces. A couple of years ago we played Chelsea with [Diego] Costa and Hazard playing as two strikers, and I know exactly how good he is. That night it felt like we could defend all of them but not him. He's a special player who enjoys these one-on-one situations. I didn't need that [EFL Cup] game to know about Eden."
Personel changes in EFL Cup tie
Klopp praised the way his players adapted to playing in a new formation in Wednesday's defeat after they switched from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3, with Fabinho making his first start for the club in the centre of midfield. While he described the match as the ideal way to prepare for Saturday's Premier League clash, Klopp warned that Chelsea would be a different proposition with the likes of Hazard, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante all likely to return to the starting line-up.
"It will be intense," said Klopp. "It's a big one. Chelsea versus Liverpool already sounds good - we have to make sure it is good. It will not be easy. The best preparation is the Wednesday game. [There will be] a few different players on the pitch for Chelsea but we try to use our information from Wednesday to do it better. We learned a lot and it was interesting to see how we adapted in a short time and with a new formation. It's good but we have to do better. Chelsea will make changes and Hazard will not only play 20 minutes. Other players will come in, Jorginho, Kante and all these boys."
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