Liverpool defender Joel Matip is adamant he does not fear Diego Costa ahead of Friday’s Premier League encounter with Chelsea.
Spain striker Costa has developed a reputation for physicality and is noted for his attempts to provoke opponents on the pitch.
Far from being deterred, Matip is relishing the chance to battle it out with the Chelsea centre-forward.
“If an opponent tries to talk to me during the game, really, I don’t give a f***,” Matip told The Telegraph.
“There are players who try to say things in a game, but I never care about this. They can say what they want. 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.
“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.
“Against a more typical number nine 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.”