Jurgen Klopp explains his plan to stop Eden Hazard on Sunday

Klopp Hazard

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side will play with “13 players” to stop Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard at Anfield this weekend.

The Reds host their west London rivals on Sunday as they continue their title charge, in a match reminiscent of that fateful clash five years ago when Steven Gerrard’s slip helped a Jose Mourinho-led Blues side to a 2-0 win.

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Leaders Liverpool are currently 16 points clear of Chelsea as they go toe-to-toe with Manchester City at the top, but will be wary of the 16-goal Hazard who also boasts a league-high 12 assists this term.

Asked how he plans to stop the brilliant Belgian this weekend, Klopp joked: "We will take 13 players, and two will play only against Eden.

"The best way to try to make sure that he cannot shine is to avoid passes to him," he added. "React a little bit better than other teams did.

"It’s not easy, because when he has the ball it’s already too late. You try to read the game, read the passes.

"But in the end, in a 1-v-1 situation, you cannot defend him. You need help from somewhere else.

"I like footballers like this. If he plays his best game, we have to deal with that. And if we can make sure they cannot play as they usually do, that’s good for us."

Hazard is expected to leave Chelsea for Real Madrid this summer in a deal worth around €100m – and not-so-secret admirer Klopp is also a big fan of the 28-year-old.

"Eden Hazard, on his day, can be the world’s best," said the German.

"He had a brilliant career, and it’s not over. He has a lot of things I like in football: his joy, his cheek, strong, quick, he’s a good player.

“But like all good players, he has to play against us, and we try everything to deny at least a couple of his skills. And that would help us.”

Then read…

UNPOPULAR OPINION I’m a Chelsea fan – and we'll be better off without Eden Hazard

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