Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Diego Costa will be the man to watch out for when The Reds take on Chelsea in the 2016/17 Premier League clash on 16 September.
Costa has been the go-to-man for Antonio Conte's side in the ongoing season finding the back of the net four times and coming up with an assist in four league appearances so far. The Spanish striker also made sure Chelsea avoided a defeat against Swansea City in their last league game by scoring a brace, which included a late equaliser.
Klopp, who will be taking his side to Stamford Bridge on Friday, stresses that he has not asked his defenders to provoke Costa but is focussed on containing the opposition's entire unit. The Chelsea striker has shown tendencies to lose his cool in the recent past and with strict behaviour rules enforced in the ongoing season, the 27-year-old will be closely watched.
"It is not part of my preparation [to provoke Costa]. I never said in my life to a team: 'He's always close to a red card, so do whatever you can so he gets it.' Antonio has already created a good relationship with him, so he is completely different," Klopp was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"Being aggressive is important against him. There will be hard challenges but it is not about having a one-on-one fight for 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 other players can create moments, so there are a lot more things to do.
"Costa is world class. If other supporters love you, it's not a good sign. He is a real warrior on the pitch. He uses his body all the time – that is his quality – and he was nearly unstoppable against Swansea."
Liverpool now have seven points from four games after winning two, which includes their recent 4-1 victory against defending champions Leicester City at home. The visitors will rely on their in-form midfielders Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho to come up with a good show against Chelsea. The home team will also have to worry about 24-year-old Sadio Mane, who has been impressive on the right wing in his debut season for The Reds.
Klopp said Chelsea are back on track after having a dull 2015/16 season. He credited Conte for creating a successful style at the Bridge.
"Games against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge are a special thing and always will be in the Premier League. They are a good side," Klopp added.
"They are the champions of two years ago. Last season was not a Chelsea season but now they are back on track so we must be ready for a real challenge. They attack well and defend strong, but we are quite confident we can do something there.
"Conte is a great manager, a successful manager, the Pep Guardiola of Juventus if you want, in that he created their successful style and he was also successful with the Italian national team.
"I know about our respect for Chelsea and I'm pretty sure it is the same for them. They saw us play. It's a game we're looking forward to. Let's go there and try everything."