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He Haz' more in the tank

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Reds record signing Virgil van Dijk (centre) could be out with rib injury

Reds record signing Virgil van Dijk (centre) could be out with rib injury

Reds record signing Virgil van Dijk (centre) could be out with rib injury

Maurizio Sarri has tipped "genius" Eden Hazard to become the best player in the world - if he can add extra intensity to his training.

Chelsea boss Sarri admitted he "wants everything" from Hazard, urging the Belgium playmaker to wring every last drop of potential out of himself.

Hazard, 27, has already scored six goals in seven Chelsea appearances this term, but Sarri says he can still improve.

Hazard came off the bench to slot a stunning winner as Chelsea sneaked past Liverpool 2-1 in the League Cup at Anfield on Wednesday, and should start against the Reds in today's Stamford Bridge rematch.

"I think that he is for sure one of the best (players in the world), but I am absolutely convinced that he can improve," said Sarri.

Potential

"If he's able to improve in training maybe he will be able to use and serve at 100pc.

"Because I think that we have seen only 75 to 80pc of his potential. So I think that if he's able to improve he will be the best in the world."

Asked if Hazard could be voted the best player in the world in a year's time, Sarri continued: "I think so, I think so. It's very difficult to compare him with other players. He's a genius. He's unique.

"He's a genius, technically I think he's the best. And so I want him to be the best in the world.

"More continuity from the physical point of view, from the mental point of view.

"Because he has the opportunity to improve more, and he can become the best player in the world. It's a very interesting challenge I think. He has a lot to give, to the team, to the staff. And I want everything."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp needs no reminding of Hazard's capabilities as he attempts to find a way to subdue the Chelsea star for their blockbuster showdown.

The German said: "I know exactly how good he is. Eden Hazard is a special player, obviously, and he enjoys these one-on-one situations or one versus two or three situations, he enjoys it.

"I didn't need that game to know about Eden, it was already clear before.

"But no player is not defendable. They are difficult to defend. If you give Sadio Mane the ball in the wrong space then you cannot get him anymore as an opponent. It's not possible."

Klopp admitted Hazard would not be his only concern as he highlighted the depth of Chelsea's attacking options.

He said: "How do we defend Jorginho? Then we have these two and then Willian is there, of course, and Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud.

''And then Mateo Kovacic is running with the ball like a Formula One car and N'Golo Kante, don't forget him. They are important, all of them."

Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk is a major injury doubt for the fixture after Liverpool's 84million Euros record signing aggravated a rib problem in the Reds' 3-0 victory over Southampton last week. He has not trained with the first team since, so Dejan Lovren could start at the back.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum have recovered from a knock and illness, respectively, for a game in which Klopp will bring back his regulars after fielding a largely second string side in midweek.

Klopp refused to confirm whether van Dijk would be available to face Chelsea, who dropped points for the first time this season after drawing a blank at West Ham last week.

He added: "With Virgil we have to wait. He hasn't trained so far with the team but I can't say any more about that."

Asked whether their first defeat of the campaign impacted morale in the squad, Klopp said: "It's not cool, it's not what you want.

"We shouldn't be surprised things like this can happen especially against a really strong side when you don't use your chances.

"Of course, immediately afterwards it's not good but then you have two days in this case to get back on track.

"That's worked so far. We go to Chelsea and try our best again. But in games like this you can never be sure you get the result you want, you have to work for it and once again we try."

Liverpool have won their opening six top-flight fixtures but that will be put to the test in the next couple of weeks as they follow up the Chelsea clash by welcoming champions Manchester City to Merseyside.

In-between they travel to face Napoli in the Champions League in midweek.

Klopp added: "Before we started it was clear that a game against Chelsea at Chelsea will not be a children's birthday or whatever, that's pretty intense.

"Then we go to Naples which is a tough place to go and then Man City coming.

"It's an interesting month. But so far, so good and the boys are fully in it and ready to go."


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