Klopp jokes about number of players he will deploy to mark Eden Hazard during Sunday encounter against Chelsea

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp joked he needs 13 players on the pitch with two solely marking Eden Hazard to stop the Belgian from shining at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds face a serious test in their bid for a first league title in 29 years with Chelsea needing a win to strengthen their case for a top four finish.

Hazard is a man in form, dazzling in a recent win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge, and having netted a stunner at Anfield earlier this season to knock Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup, Klopp is well aware of the difficulties in stopping him.

When asked by reporters if he had devised a specific plan solely on Hazard, the former Borussia Dortmund coach laughed, before joking he was going to make it 13 against 11, reports the Daily Mail.

‘We take 13 players this time and two play only against Eden,’ Klopp said.

‘The best way to try and make sure he cannot play as he is able to is to avoid passes to him, that’s how it is. We must react better than other teams did – I would never say it is easy.

‘You need to try and read the game, read the passes but in the end in a one-on-one situation you cannot defend him. I like footballers like this so if he plays his best game we have to live with that.’

Chris Smalling reveals what Lionel Messi told him after smashing his face during Champions League match

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has revealed what Lionel Messi told after their collision during Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils’ defender clattered the legendary forward with Smalling’s shoulder smashing Messi’s face during the clash, and his flailing arm also catching the Argentinian, giving the 31-year-old a bloodied nose and eye in the process.

The amount of blood made the injury look worse than it was, and after he received some treatment Messi was able to carry on in the quarter-final first leg.

Messi told him he knew he didn’t mean to leave him covered in blood following his tough challenge in the encounter.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, the Manchester United defender revealed that he shook hands with Messi after the game.

“‘Yeah we spoke after. I didn’t realise at the time actually that I had caught him like that,” said Smalling

“But after the game we had a brief chat, shook hands and he said he knew it was an accident.”

Eden Hazard opens up on Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid

Eden Hazard has expressed his delight at the return of Zinedine Zidane to management (at Real Madrid).

The Belgium international has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and in February he told the media that he has “already made a decision” over his future.

In an interview with RMC, he said: “I’m not a Real Madrid player but as a Zidane supporter, I’m very happy he came back because football needs Zidane.

“For Real and their supporters, it’s good, for other teams, a bit less because Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane win a lot.”

The Chelsea star, meanwhile, refused to discuss reports that he is a Real Madrid transfer target.

“My future is not something that I want to talk about right now. There are rumours left and right but for me, I have another month with Chelsea.

Sarri explains why he was forced to use Eden Hazard against Slavia Prague

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has revealed that it was not his desire to use Eden Hazard in the Europa League quarter-final leg against Slavia Prague on Thursday night.

Marcos Alonso’s late header saved Chelsea’s night, with the Blues now expected to complete the job in next week’s second leg and reach the semi-finals.

Sarri concedes he did not want to use Hazard at the Sinobo Stadium, but the Blues’ lacklustre showing forced his hand in the second-half.

The Italian said he was forced to throw the Belgium international into action in a bid to rescue the match for Chelsea.

Marcos Alonso’s late header saved Chelsea’s night, with the Blues now expected to complete the job in next week’s second leg and reach the semi-finals.

Sarri’s men face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday in a key battle in their bid for a top-four Premier League finish, with Hazard doubtless now not as fresh as originally planned.

Asked if he had always planned to bring Hazard off the bench, Sarri replied: ‘No, at the beginning of the match I wanted him on the bench because I thought that, probably, the match was really very difficult.

‘Probably I’d need to use him. Of course, if at the end of the first half we were 1-0, I wouldn’t have used him.’

Chelsea failed to gel in a side showing seven changes from Monday’s 2-0 league win over West Ham.

Asked if Hudson-Odoi will start, Sarri said: ‘Oh, I don’t know. But in my opinion he needed to rest. And so, in this match, he was out.

‘But of course he is in my mind for the next match, but I have to see the last two training (sessions).’