'Liverpool struggled a lot' – Kovacic wary of upset repeat against BATE
After seeing the Reds go down 2-0 in Belgrade, Kovacic believes the Blues cannot take their next opponents for granted
Chelsea should take caution from Liverpool’s shock defeat to Red Star Belgrade when the Londoners take on BATE Borisov on Thursday, according to Mateo Kovacic.
The Blues currently boast a perfect record in their Europa League campaign, having won all three of their encounters in Group L.
BATE, meanwhile, lie rock bottom of their group, with just one point from a possible nine.
Liverpool, however, went into their Champions League clash on Tuesday with similar confidence, but were outplayed in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Red Star.
And Kovacic warned that the same could happen in Belarus should Chelsea take the fixture lightly.
“I watched the game and Liverpool struggled a lot. In Belgrade the atmosphere is tough. It’s difficult to play there, like it will be here as well,” the Croatia international, currently on loan at Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid, told reporters.
“These are games where you need to concentrate a lot or you will lose the game.
“The most important thing is we need to be prepared so that what happened to Liverpool doesn’t happen to us.”
Chelsea are juggling a few fitness concerns going into their Europa League clash on Thursday.
Manager Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that both Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas would be left behind in England for the game, the striker given a rest while his compatriot recovers from illness.
There should be playing time for Eden Hazard, however, who is recovering from a back injury and reappeared at the weekend after missing two games.