How can Jurgen Klopp potentially stop Eden Hazard on Saturday?

Three days after Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 2-1 win at Anfield, the two sides will go to battle again on Saturday evening.

Although Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool the lead before the hour mark, Maurizio Sarri’s second-half substitute stole the show.

After full-back, Emerson equalized from close range Hazard’s stunning solo strike booked his sides spot in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup.

Picking up yet another Man of the Match award, he was described as “one of the best in the world” by Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola.

Now looking to end Liverpool’s 100% start to the season, how can Jurgen Klopp go about keeping Hazard quiet?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on August 12, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Move Sadio Mane to the right?

While Alexander-Arnold has already played in a Champions League final since bursting onto the scene last season, many will argue this is his toughest test to date.

Expected to replace Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, he will be given the responsibility of trying to stop Hazard.

Unfortunately for the 19-year-old, it is hard to think of any full-back who can stop the Belgian winger at the moment.

Only improving week by week, the 27-year-old is billed by many to be the Premier League’s greatest talent.

After scoring the winner on Merseyside, Hazard now has eight goals in his last nine appearances for club and country.

Undoubtedly Sarri’s talisman, Klopp will know that the key to stopping Chelsea is by keeping Hazard out of the picture.

While he opted to unselfishly try to find the misfiring Alvaro Morata last weekend, his strike on Wednesday shows glimpses of a more selfish side.

With his new boss setting him a 40-goal target this season, Liverpool can’t afford to give him the same half-chances West Ham offered him.

However, after taking a very impressive point last Sunday, Klopp should take note of the role Andriy Yarmolenko played in what was a resilient performance.

While his contender for miss of the season will be what most people took away, the Ukranian winger put in a selfless performance.

Making sure that the 33-year-old Pablo Zabaleta wasn’t exposed, he done a very impressive job of doubling up on Hazard.

They often forced him to move into an incredibly congested middle of the park.

From the first whistle, they didn’t allow Hazard to find his rhythm and offered him very little room.

Although few would have expected it before, Pellegrini has done by far the best job of keeping Hazard quiet.

While Mo Salah is often deployed on the right-hand side of Liverpool’s attacking trio, should Klopp swap him with Sadio Mane?

Renowned for his own tireless work rate, he has made more tackles and has covered more ground than his Egyptian counterpart.

Along with no player in red losing more possession than Salah, his performances have been fairly hit and miss so far.

Needed both ends of the pitch on Saturday, Mane certainly seems like the smarter option to play in front of Alexander-Arnold.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool and team mate Joe Gomez celebrate following the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Virgil van Dijk vs Olivier Giroud

Since moving from St. Mary’s Virgil van Dijk’s immediate impact has been nothing short of colossal.

A side that struggled with individual defensive mistakes last season, the Dutch defender has brought a new level of assurance to Klopp’s back line.

Liverpool have now conceded just two goals in their opening six Premier League games.

They also hold the best defensive record in England’s top flight.

Now keeping eight consecutive home clean sheets in the league, they’ve gone 720 minutes without conceding a single goal.

The Reds finally have a defender they can build their title push around.

Despite being taken off against Southampton with a rib injury, Van Dijk is expected to be recalled to Klopp’s XI.

However, the former Southampton man will have to be at his best on Saturday.

Since returning from Russia as a World Cup winner, forward Olivier Giroud appears to be relishing his transition into a full-time target man.

Already picking up three assists, only Jose Holebas and Benjamin Mendy have more after six games.

Now seen to be Sarri’s number one striker, the 31-year-old has been a huge part of his teammates’ success.

After picking up two assists for the Belgian winger in their 4-1 win over Cardiff, Hazard couldn’t hold the big man in higher regard.

“He’s a target man, maybe the best in the world. When he gets the ball he can hold it up really well.

“Its a real pleasure to play alongside him. With Alvaro [Morata] its completely different because he has a different style to Olivier [Giroud]. But both are quality and we are happy to have good strikers at the club.”

Happy to simply be the provider for Hazard, his unselfish role is very telling in the stats.

Without the Frenchman, he averages a goal every 622 minutes.

However, with him, he is finding the net every 110 minutes.

In a battle of the heavyweights, Van Dijk will know he can not allow Giroud to have time to bring the ball down.

As he has shown this season, especially against Cardiff, the Frenchman is a continued nuisance in the penalty area.

Since August 2017, no player in the Premier League has had more touches in the oppositions box.

On the verge of forming an almost telepathic connection with Hazard, Van Dijk must find a way break their bond.

If he can keep Giroud at bay, could that be the key to stopping Hazard running rampant?

Also see:

Chelsea will struggle to keep Eden Hazard according to Cesc Fabregas

Eden Hazard stunner vs Liverpool

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