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Van Dijk Explains How Frank Lampard Can Cope Without Eden Hazard

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is confident that Chelsea still have the ‘quality players’ to cope without Eden Hazard this season. Hazard, 28, brought an end to his seven-year spell at Chelsea by joining Real Madrid this summer in a deal worth an initial £88million which could rise to £130m with add-ons. The Belgian scored 16 goals and provided 15 assists in the Premier League last term and also found the net twice in Chelsea’s Europa League final victory over Arsenal. Hazard’s departure would have hit any club hard, but Chelsea’s transfer ban meant Lampard was unable to bring in a replacement for the forward ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. However, Van Dijk has backed Chelsea to thrive this season, with Lampard setting up his team ‘a little bit different’ to Maurizio Sarri.

[Hazard] is a quality player and he was important to them but I think they have plenty of quality players,’ Van Dijk said ahead of Liverpool’s Super Cup clash with Chelsea. ‘I think they play a little bit different than they did last year. ‘We will analyse them and then we will be prepared. ‘Nothing that happened last season will have any impact on what is going to happen. It is going to be a new game.’

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On the challenge of coping without Hazard, Lampard said: ‘For me, clearly [Hazard is] one of the best players in world football and last season, but not just last season, over his time at Chelsea he was the most productive player in the team generally, in terms of assists and goals and a leader. ‘You cannot replace him individually, I think it’s pretty much impossible because of the high, high level he is at now in his career. ‘But the good news and the positive news for us and we must stay calm and be patient with this [is] we have a group of players, some younger players, some experienced players, that now have the opportunity to show that collectively and individually they can step up because yes, you are missing a huge amount of assists and goals, that’s clear. ‘The answer is as a team, we have to find a way to carry on because a football club like Chelsea will always carry on. Eden Hazard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, players move on and it’s down to the next players, the next manager. ‘That’s our big challenge now, to say good luck to Eden Hazard and to carry on as Chelsea.’

Jurgen Klopp is looking forward to sharing the touchline with Lampard for the first time at Istabul’s Besiktas Park on Wednesday night. The German believes Lampard will ‘100 per cent’ succeed despite Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United at the weekend. ‘If people really think Chelsea are not a real challenger, I can’t help these people,’ Klopp said. ‘You only have to watch that team and what they have – they are really strong, young and fresh and everything is exciting in the moment because Frank is there new, the club legend, [and can] make himself a name as a manager, which will happen 100 per cent. ‘You could see that immediately when he took over at Derby and now doing the job at Chelsea, so it will be really interesting.’

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The post Van Dijk Explains How Frank Lampard Can Cope Without Eden Hazard appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

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