Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his team will have to beware “world class” striker Diego Costa when they play Chelsea on Friday.
Costa scored twice in a 2-2 draw with Swansea on Sunday, taking his tally to four goals in as many league matches.
German Klopp said: “He is a real warrior on the pitch. He uses his body all the time and that is a quality. He was nearly unstoppable against Swansea.
“He is world class and that’s the best thing football fans can say about you.”
It was at Stamford Bridge that Klopp enjoyed his first victory as Liverpool manager, beating the Blues 3-1 last October.
But Klopp, who described new Blues boss Antonio Conte as a “great manager”, said Chelsea were a different team to the one which struggled under Jose Mourinho last season.
Klopp added: “They’ve seen us playing and they know we are not easy to play and that is what I thought most about in the last two days and what I will think about because there is always a way to create moments which you are not expecting.
“The problem is they maybe have the same plan.
“They were champions two years ago and then had a difficult year and they changed their manager.
“Last season was not a Chelsea season and now they are back on track, so we need to be ready for a real challenge.”
Chelsea, second in the league and unbeaten in the league under Conte, will be without captain John Terry after the defender strained ligaments in his foot against Swansea.
David Luiz, who re-signed for the London club from Paris St-Germain in the summer, could replace the 35-year-old.
- Chelsea have only beaten Liverpool twice in the last nine league meetings at Stamford Bridge (W2, D3, L4).
- This is the 175th competitive fixture between the clubs. Liverpool lead by 75 wins to Chelsea’s 61, with 38 draws.
- Chelsea could record three successive home wins in the Premier League for the first time since May last year.
- Relegated Aston Villa were the only side to earn fewer home victories than Chelsea’s tally of five in 2015-16.
- The Blues have scored at least two goals in each of their opening four league fixtures.
- Diego Costa has already scored four times – it took him until Boxing Day to reach that tally in the Premier League last season.
- Antonio Conte has won his last 21 league games at home as a manager, and not lost in 30 since Juventus were beaten by Sampdoria in January 2013.
- Liverpool’s tally of 32 points from their last 17 games is only bettered by Manchester United (34).
- The Reds have scored an unrivalled 50 Premier League goals in 2016, managing three goals or more in eight matches.
- However, their only clean sheet in 12 away games during this calendar year came against Aston Villa in February.
- They could go nine away matches without a clean sheet in the league for the first time since May 2005.