CHELSEA v Liverpool: Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 10 May
Kick-off: 16:00 BST

This afternoon’s game sees us host a Liverpool side scrapping to get into the top four – well, at least they will do once they’ve given us a guard of honour.

Oh, of course I should just mention in case anyone wasn’t aware – we’ve already won the Premier League, so we can take this game however we like really. Not that Jose Mourinho will want anything but a win against Liverpool but we can probably expect a less cautious approach from our players now that we’re Premier League Champions.

Liverpool are still unlikely to get into the Champions League regardless of the result today, and given their abysmal performance in Europe this season I don’t think they will be missed next year. Chelsea, on the other hand, will use this game as a test of their mental fortitude at the end of a tough season where they should have done better in Europe.

MANAGER’S VIEWS’
Going into today’s late game, a chatty Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “Liverpool is Liverpool – it is a giant club. If they want to do that (form a guard of honour), obviously my players are going to accept that with respect. But speaking about Liverpool and speaking about honouring the champions, this is my time to honour a champion. It is my time to honour Steve Gerrard. It is with opponents like him that I am the manager that I am, because I learn with my players and I learn with my best opponents. I learn with my players’ problems, my players’ doubts, my players’ qualities and I learn with my best opponent, with the problems they give me – the way they make me think, the way they make me analyse them and studying the best way to play against them.
Steven Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite enemies – an enemy with all the good feeling I can express with that word in football.
For sure, in England he is my dear enemy. For sure, he is the one that made me a better manager. To stop him or try and stop him has been very, very difficult.
I tried to bring him to Chelsea, I tried to bring him to Inter (Milan), I tried to bring him to Real Madrid but he was always a dear enemy. I want to honour him and I hope Stamford Bridge has the same feeling as I have, which is we need people like him as our opponents.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers meanwhile, says of our guard of honour “It is the protocol and what you do. They deserve to be champions. It’s not something the players would like to do but we are a team and a club that has class and dignity, so we will do it and go straight into the game. Hopefully there will be a spur. That is natural. When you win the league you won’t play 38 perfect games. But you’ll be deserving champions. That’s what they are.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, with the title won Jose Mourinho might again rest Diego Costa (hamstring) and let players like Petr Cech, Filipe Luis and Kurt Zouma have a start.
For Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge (hip) is out although Mario Balotelli (foot) should be available again, along with Lucas Leiva.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Cuadrado, Hazard, Remy
LIVERPOOL (Possible line-up): Mignolet, Moreno, Lovren, Skrtel, Can, Lallana, Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool (29 December 2013)

CURRENT FORM
Chelsea: CHAMPIONS
Liverpool: LLWDLW

OTHER STUFF
•Chelsea have kept 17 clean sheets the season
•Chelsea have only conceded eight goals in the last 15 league games
•Mourinho has lost just three of his 40 league games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.
•The win against QPR was only Liverpool’s 2nd win in the last 6 games
•Liverpool have managed just one win in seven league matches this season against teams currently in the top four
•Liverpool have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine Premier League games on the road.
•Chelsea are unbeaten in their last seven league and cup games against Liverpool

PREDICTION
Not an easy one. We’ll either go all out attack and batter them, or just leave ourselves wide open.

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