Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that he won’t instruct his team to antagonize Chelsea striker Diego Costa in their match on Friday.
Costa scored twice for Chelsea in the 2-2 draw against Swansea over the weekend. The Spanish international is known for his hot temper, and was suspended three games last season after stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can in the second leg of the League Cup semifinals.
“It is not part of my preparation [to provoke Costa],” Klopp said ahead of the game. “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. He is in good shape, he is aggressive but I didn’t see until now any challenges where you could say it should have been a red card. I thought against Swansea it was more a problem for the two defenders.
“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.”
Klopp called Costa “world-class” and believes he will be a real threat on Friday.
“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. He could have been the man of the match.”