Liverpool central defender Joel Matip says he does not listen to players who try to wind him up.
Liverpool face Chelsea on Friday evening, with Diego Costa in particularly prickly form so far this season.
Matip, who has slotted comfortably into Liverpool’s central defence, is confident of seeing off Costa’s threat with his own fighting qualities.
“If an opponent tries to talk to me during the game, really, I don’t give a f***,” Matip told the Daily 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.”
We picked out Diego Costa vs Joel Matip as our one-on-one battle to watch in The Watcher.