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Forget Messi and Ronaldo: Piatek leads top leagues in goals

FC United

Jurgen Klopp wary of 'warrior' Diego Costa ahead of Chelsea vs. Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised the quality of Chelsea's team ahead of the meeting on Friday night, labelling Diego Costa a "real warrior."

Klopp was quizzed about Costa and Eden Hazard at a news conference at Melwood on Wednesday afternoon after the pair have made bright starts to the Premier League season.

"[He's] world class," Klopp said of Costa. "The best thing I can say, if other supporters love you then that's not a good sign!

"But he's a real warrior on the pitch and he uses his body all the time. That's a quality and what you need to know.

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"He was nearly unstoppable against Swansea. It was a good game from the whole team, I don't know who was man of the match in this game but he could have been man of the match in this game and he's strong, no doubt."

After a difficult 2015-16 season, Hazard is thriving under Antonio Conte this term and appears to be back to his best form.

Liverpool have been on the receiving end of the Belgium international's talents after the forward scored a wonderful individual goal when the two teams last met in a competitive fixture back in May.

"He was in an outstanding shape on this night at Anfield," Klopp continued. "But we didn't defend him too well. We left a specific player in the challenge always pretty much alone -- that was not too nice and not too smart. But of course we have to do better and we can do better.

"He's back 100 percent. Not too bad at all. They have a lot of key players, Oscar play a new role really good. Willian -- what a player. They brought in [N'Golo] Kante plus [Nemanja] Matic, so that's lively, flexible plus experience and physical strength. That's a good squad."

Klopp said he was feeling positive ahead of the trip to the capital and hopes his team can capitalise on the element of surprise.

He added: "I know about our respect for Chelsea but I'm pretty sure it's exactly the same from the other side because they saw us playing and they know we are not easy to play [against].

"That's what I've thought most about in the past few days and what I will think about in the one-and-a-half days until we play because there's always a way to create moments which they are not expecting. The problem is that they may have the same plan, so we need to be aware of this.

"It's a challenge but I feel good, to be honest. It doesn't mean anything but I'm really looking forward to it. Stamford Bridge is a good place to play football, Friday night is one of the best moments to play football. Let's go for it."

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.


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