15 Sept 2016

'He's back 100%": Klopp hails 'outstanding' £66m attacker Liverpool 'wanted' to sign under Benitez

Friday night's Premier League clash with Chelsea is (arguably) Liverpool's biggest test of the season so far, and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is only too aware of the threat posed by Chelsea's legion of quality players, including tormentor-in-chief Eden Hazard.

When asked on Wednesday about Hazard's loss of form under Jose Mourinho, Klopp insisted:

"He [Hazard] was outstanding against us last season. We didn’t defend him well. He's back 100%".

Once upon a time, Liverpool were heavily linked with Hazard, and Rafa Benitez confirmed this after he left Anfield:

"Eden Hazard - we wanted him at Liverpool. We couldn't sign him. In our list, maybe he was here [top] but we had to go for this one [lower down].

With two goals in four games, Hazard has started well this season, but he's yet to register an assist, and compared to Liverpool's attacking midfielders, he's trailing in the dust:

* Hazard^: 2 goals/0 assists in 4 games.

* Mane: 2 goals/3 assists in 4 games.

* Firmino: 3 goals/1 assist in 5 games.

* Lallana: 2 goals/1 assist in 5 games.

There's clearly a serious problem when you're being beaten in the assist-stakes by the notoriously assist-shy Adam Lallana, but at this early stage of the season, these figures mean relatively little.

Unfortunately, Hazard is a top quality player, and it's only a matter of time before he breaks his duck. Hopefully, that won't be against Liverpool.

Out of interest:


^ 2016: £66m-rated (CIES Football Observatory)


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