Liverpool v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Anfield
Date: Saturday, 8 November
Kick-off: 12:45 GMT

You can pick up Chelsea tickets online – either for the Premier League or European games – and watch the Blues live in action.

After making life difficult for ourselves midweek, the lunchtime kick-off today takes us to Anfield and a game Liverpool were certainly focusing on even before they faced Real Madrid in their Champions League game. Brendan Rodgers can insist all he wants it’s not a computer game although I hear Carlo Ancelotti has spent all week on Football Manager compiling his January ‘miss list’.

Not that we covered ourselves in glory midweek either mind you because wherever our minds were on Wednesday night, they certainly weren’t on Maribor. It was far from one of our better days and we’ll need to give a better account of ourselves today if we’re to keep the pressure on Southampton and City.

Liverpool are naturally talking up the ‘revenge’, since they convinced themselves they’d actually have won the title last season if Gerrard hadn’t been felled by a stray blade of grass although as the cheeky little scousers would say, that’s history and the present sees them come into the game just the 12 points behind us, so let’s hope we can make that 15 today.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into this afternoon’s game, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says “This weekend’s game against Chelsea is obviously a big game. We’ll have learnt from last season’s defeat to them, it’ll be tough though. They’re the best team in the league at the moment, that’s why they are top of the league. When we play at Anfield, no matter the opponent, we have every confidence we can go on and get a result. This game offers us a great chance at home to get a result and can kick-start the season for us.”
Whilst on ‘that’ incident, Rodgers says “I think Gerrard recovering mentally shows the magnificent response from him. There was no blame, just unfortunate. He was instrumental to our run last year and how well we played. He’s a big character and bounced back well from that.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says of Anfield “The crowd can influence the match in a big way at Anfield. I like to play there, but I have to say that some people feel the atmosphere in a negative way. It doesn’t affect my players’ performance, but in the past we have clear examples of it affecting other performances, goals that are not a goal, penalties that are not given.”
And on Liverpool so far this season, he says “In the Premier League, I am not surprised with anything. Every match is difficult, you don’t know when people are going to lose points. After the World Cup it’s difficult, you don’t have time to have a proper pre-season. I think they’re fighting for the title the same as we are. Everyone that wants to be, everyone that feels they can be [is still in the title race]. Is Southampton unexpected to be there? Maybe yes, but do they deserve to be there? Yes. Can they decide that the title can be for them? It’s up to them. Apart from that, all the traditional teams [are in contention]. A distance of four, five or six points or eight or 10 at the beginning of November doesn’t put somebody out of the title race.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Liverpool, Saint Stevie will be resurrected following a rest midweek, along with Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli, now their tired little feet have had a break. Daniel Sturridge (calf) remains out.
For Chelsea, Cesar Azpilicueta is allowed off the naughty step again, whilst Loic Remy (groin) and John Obi Mikel (knee) are available again following recent injuries. Costa is also available, as Jose Mourinho has a fully fit squad to choose from.

TEAMS
LIVERPOOL (Possible line-up): Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Gerrard, Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling, Balotelli
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Willian, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Hazard, Costa

LAST SEASON
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea (27th April 2014)

OTHER STUFF
• Liverpool have two wins from their last seven league games.
• Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games
• Chelsea have lost just one of their last six league and cup games against Liverpool
• Liverpool have six points fewer than at this stage last season
• Chelsea could win back-to-back league games at Anfield for only the second time in their history.
• Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets in their last 16 league games.
• Chelsea have not kept a clean sheet in their last six away in the Premier League

PREDICTION
I’m not sure whether it’s the midweek frustrations or just the time of year but I am carrying some excess baggage marked ‘pessimism’ into this one and I can only hope I’ve offloaded it by full-time!

Comments are closed.