Joel Matip insists he's ready to face Diego Costa

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Joel Matip will definitely go down as one of Jurgen Klopp's shrewdest pieces of business as Liverpool manager to date.

In a busy summer of big-money arrivals, Matip's free transfer from Schalke is looking one of the Premier League's best bargains following a string of consistent performances when he has been fit to play.

Friday night will represent another key marker along his learning curve in England's top flight when comes face-to-face with Diego Costa.

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Chelsea's No. 19 can be volatile at the best of times and, as proven by Gabriel Paulista's sending off last season, has the knack of getting the better of most central defenders.

But ahead of Liverpool's clash with Antonio Conte's side at Stamford Bridge, Matip is confident he will be able to handle everything his opposite number will attempt to throw at him.

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“If an opponent tries to talk to me during the game, really, I don’t give a f***. They can say what they want," Matip told The Telegraph.

“I don’t think anyone is like Costa. You can play against players who like to make you uncomfortable, but not too many with his size or as famous as him."

Costa started the 2015/16 campaign overweight, resulting in flat performances and took a while to really get into his stride.


However, there has been no danger of that happening again since Conte took charge this summer. Four goals already this term is enough proof to suggest the Brazilian-born striker is back to his devastating best.

And Matip will need to maintain his solid performances of late to keep Costa quiet.

He added: “It is always a fight against these big teams and you have to take on the battle. You have to go in there and fight, there is nothing else. As a defender that is something you like – to go out there and win the ball.

“But I don’t prepare only for Costa. I prepare for the whole team. Maybe he will be my direct adversary and I will study to see how he moves. I have seen a lot of his games. But you can never prepare for one player out of 11.

Swansea City v Chelsea - Premier League

“Against a more typical No 9 at least you know these players and how they play, and where they will be on the pitch. You know what is going to happen, even if it is still difficult to play against."

Liverpool's defence has looked prone to the occasional individual error this season but with Matip set to be reunited with fellow first choice centre-back Dejan Lovren, they can have no excuses if Costa does run riot on Friday night.

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Premier League
Joel Matip
Diego Costa

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