London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed David Luiz will make his second debut for the club against Liverpool in the Premier League on Friday.
Luiz, who returned to the west London club from Paris Saint-Germain in a surprise £32 million ($42.7 million, 38 million euros) move on transfer deadline day, will replace injured Blues captain John Terry at Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian defender’s first spell at Chelsea became known for his habit of making high-profile mistakes.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville memorably said Luiz looked like he was “being controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a Playstation” after one especially error-strewn display and the 29-year-old was unable to shed that reputation during his time in France.
But Conte, who has vowed to work on Luiz’s weaknesses, said Thursday: “David Luiz will play for the first time with us and we are confident about this.
“We expect him to play very well, with great attention. We know David is a good player and we are working to put him in the best condition to give us the best of him.
“When new players arrive they need time to adapt to a new concept of football. Tomorrow (Friday) we need to play David Luiz.”
Italian manager Conte added: “He has worked a lot on defensive situations. I’m confident for him. He’s a good player and during the training sessions I have been seeing good things.”
Meanwhile Conte insisted Cesc Fabregas was going nowhere following reports the Spain midfielder could leave Chelsea during the next transfer window.
Fabregas has found himself reduced to a substitute role in the early weeks of former Italy manager Conte’s time at Stamford Bridge, leading to speculation regarding his Chelsea future.
But Conte said Thursday: “Cesc is in my plans and in Chelsea’s plans. We all know Cesc is a fantastic player.
“I see him in every training session with great seriousness and if he continues in this way it will be very difficult choice for me.
“I want this from my players, to put doubts in my mind. Cesc is a great player, we all know he’s a very technical player, but also I’m starting to know him like a man.”
Chelsea, yet to lose this season, face a Liverpool side fresh from a 4-1 win over reigning Premier League champions Leicester City.
“I’m expecting a very tough match against a strong team,” said Conte. “I think Liverpool is a really good team, they play with identity, they can bring many players on in an offensive situation and we must pay great attention tomorrow.”
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