1 Feb 2017

Klopp raves: 'World-class' €66m attacker Liverpool tried to sign is a 'warrior' but he's 'not the nicest guy'

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has paid a backhanded compliment to one of Chelsea's most consistent players.

During his post-match press conference last night, Klopp - who previously described Costa as 'unstoppable' and 'world-class' told reporters:

"If I had played against Costa I could never be friends. He's not the nicest guy, but when you have him in your team it's much more fun. He is a warrior".

Costa may have his issues, but he gets the job done, and operates (mostly) within the rules. The Brazilian has a nasty streak, but he doesn't bite people (!), and his yellow card record has significantly improved from his time in La Liga. Plus, Costa is yet to receive a straight red card in the Premier League (he got four in Spain).

Liverpool sadly lack a player with Costa's personality, i.e. a driven, single-minded winner, who has Ibrahimovic-esque confidence in his ability, and a touch of (harnessed) arrogance. Like Ibrahimovic, Costa is a real man, not a metrosexually meek millennial who spends his free time doing Nivea ads.

Unfortunately, I don't actually believe a player like Costa can thrive in a Klopp team. The German has a paternalistic hold on the players (and the fans), and from what I've seen, the players have to be subservient and compliant to the manager, or face the (often unfair) consequences.

This is reflected in the type of players Klopp has signed so far: quiet, unassuming, and totally lacking in fiery leadership drive and/or onfield presence. A Costa/Keane/Terry-type player means having a dominant personality in the squad on the same level as Klopp; a player unafraid to speak his mind, and in my view, he won't allow that. Klopp further noted:

"What Conte is doing with Chelsea is outstanding, but without Costa this season...?"

In my view, this is a redundant point. Take away every top team's best player and it will have an impact. In any event, as his wildly successful spell in Italy shows, Conte is no novice, and if Chelsea were without Costa for a significant period of time, I'm sure he'd come up with a viable solution.

* Aug 2013: Costa confirmed that Liverpool tried to sign him. €66m-rated (CIES)


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