Date: Tuesday, 8 May
Kick-off: 20.00 BST
So, just three days after beating Liverpool in the FA Cup final, we get to play them at Klanfield Anfield – and having almost blown our chances of 4th spot against Newcastle before getting a minor reprieve from the weekend’s results, they’ll know this game is much bigger for us than them.
They’ll no doubt be out for any revenge they can extract from tonight’s game though – and possibly cementing an 8th placed finish – and with John Terry dropping hints about all our eggs being in the Champions League basket, we’ll have to wait and see which way Roberto Di Matteo decides to go with this one.
Obviously, any talk from the managers in the last couple of days has focused on what happened in the final and the cheery Dalglish says “Chelsea got two fantastic results in the Champions League semi-final (against Barcelona) and they know how to play. They are well experienced. We may have been a wee bit naïve but Chelsea are very experienced and it was going to be a tight game.
Hopefully, we thought we were going to finish the stronger team and that is the way it was. But Chelsea were probably the best team for an hour and whatever way they want to play, it is up to us to play against it. It was frustrating we did not start playing until we were 2-0 down. That isn’t like us and to be honest, it is not an ideal performance. But it was always going to be tight so if we gave them two goals we were always going to be struggling.”
Completely ignoring the usual digs about how his players ‘want to play’, the classy, victorious Roberto Di Matteo says “These players have been magnificent for me, the shift we have put in in last eight weeks it’s been quite incredible and we have pushed them very hard and I think we got our reward. The players have responded so well to the adversity we found ourselves in, it was a collective responsibility we found ourselves in and not many people outside the club thought we could do this.
We are all human, when things don’t go your way, sometimes you have some doubts. Every victory has just cemented their confidence. We have rolled on from one win to the next and our belief and confidence increased with each one.”
For Liverpool, Adam and Lucas (both knee) remain out for the rest of the season and Dalglish may rest some of the players from the final. Andy Carroll though, off the back of a decent 30 minute spell at the weekend, is likely to start.
For Chelsea, Luiz and Cahill (both hamstring) are likely to remain out, although Fernando Torres could get a start against his former club.
LIVERPOOL (from): Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Spearing, Gerrard, Downing, Bellamy, Carroll, Suarez, Doni, Kelly, Coates, Flanagan, Robinson, Enrique, Henderson, Rodriguez, Shelvey, Kuyt, Sterling, Ecclestone.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Terry, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Essien, Meireles, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Sturridge, Kalou, Turnbull.
LAST MEETING (PL)
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool (20th November 2011)
Liverpool have already beaten us in the league and Carling cup this season and whilst we’ve just beaten them in the FA Cup, that was at Anfield South Wembley. Tonight, it’s Anfield and no doubt yet another draining game ahead – although it could be worse I guess, if their home form wasn’t quite as rubbish as it has been this season. Mind you, our away form hasn’t been a lot better, with just 7 points from the last 24 available away – and it would be typical of that lot to end any chance we have of finishing fourth.