Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield on Saturday with Brendan Rodgers in hunger of positive result to prevent any pressure growing on him from the board.
Liverpool, who are coming into this game after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in UEFA Champions League clash has a lot to do this weekend as they are looking for all three points. Brendan Rodgers, who was widely criticised by most Liverpool fans and football pundits for fielding an unexpectedly different lineup against Real Madrid; need to prove his critics wrong today to ensure his tenure at Merseyside club.
He has put extra pressure on himself to gain a positive result against the Premier League leaders after opting to leave out six of his regular starting XI at the Bernabeu.
There might be revenge on the minds of the Liverpool players after last season’s defeat to Chelsea at Anfield, all but cost them the Premier League title which they are yet to win it since 1990.
Chelsea, who drawn their Champions League match 1-1 against Maribor away from home need to win this clash to keep pressure on Southampton and Manchester City for title race.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson and forward Raheem Sterling are all expected to start for the visit of league leaders Chelsea.
The trio were among seven players left out of the midweek defeat at Real Madrid but not all are guaranteed to return. Good performances by Kolo Toure and forward Fabio Borini could see them retain their places.
Daniel Sturridge, who has been out of action since the start of September, will again miss out against his former club as he recovers from a calf problem.
Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan and Suso all remain injured for the home side.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho also rested some of his stars in the Champions League for the draw with Maribor.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa will start for Chelsea at despite being left out of the Spain squad to recover from his persistent hamstring trouble.
Striker Loic Remy (groin) and midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee) are available following recent injuries, with Jose Mourinho having a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Oscar, Gary Cahill and Thibaut Courtois are all set to return to the starting line-up as Chelsea look to increase their lead at the top of the table.
Spanish international Cesar Azpilicueta is available again after serving a three-match ban following his sending off against Crystal Palace and he is expected to replace Brazilian Filipe Luis at left-back.
Liverpool Centre-backs vs Diego Costa:
Diego Costa looks like he has played for this Chelsea side for quite a few years. He has already scored 9 goals in just 7 games and will be looking to add a few more to his tally when he takes on a Liverpool defense which is quite shaky. Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel were fantastic against Real Madrid and only conceded one goal, which is quite an improvement.
Steven Gerrard vs Nemanja Matic:
Steven Gerrard has not been able to hit the high notes from last season but if there is any game that needs him to be at his best, it has to be this one. Chelsea has been a powerhouse in the league this season and playing against them, every player would have to give more than they are capable off.
Nemanja Matic, The Serbian has been in exceptional form since his return to Chelsea in 2014 from Benfica and would be looking to nullify Liverpool’s attack, especially the influence of Gerrard.
Raheem Sterling vs Eden Hazard:
Two promising players at the most go head to head against each other. Sterling was having the season of his life last season, because of which he was called up for the national side. Sterling will be hoping to find some form and what better way than against the league leaders?
Eden Hazard has been in good form since the season started, he has been overshadowed by Cesc Fabregas, who has hit the ground running but Eden can be a match winner and if he decides to have a go, Liverpool’s wing backs could be in a heap of trouble.
Liverpool have six points fewer than at this stage last season and have picked up just two wins from their last seven league outings.
Chelsea remain the only unbeaten side in the Premier League this season and they have scored double the amount of goals as Liverpool so far this term.
Chelsea have lost just one of their last six league and cup games against Liverpool with Rodgers yet to taste victory against his former employers.
Chelsea have netted four goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season. (via Mirror.uk)
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Jose Mourinho discussed the breaking news that star striker Diego Costa had not been called up to the Spanish squad for their forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Belarus and friendly with Germany.
‘I’m pleased but I want to make it clear I did nothing for that to happen,’ the manager said. ‘As you could see he was protected on Wednesday but because the result was not good I couldn’t protect him and I had to play him for 45 minutes.
‘As a consequence of the work we are doing with him we think he is ready to start the match tomorrow. In the 15 days after he can rest and work properly. It’s fantastic news for us and I obviously thank the Spanish Football Federation for the decision they made, but I want to make it clear I did nothing for that to happen.
‘After the match the plan is for Diego to have a period of complete rest – no training, no treatment – and just let him rest for a few days. After that he will continue the specific work he is doing without having a match to play.
‘It’s very good news for him, for us and for the national team, because normally now he has to go in the right direction and it’s good for the Spanish Federation to have a good Diego and not a so-so Diego.’
On their win against Liverpool in April, Mourinho explained it was decisive in handing the title to Manchester City but when asked if it would provide extra motivation for the side managed by Brendan Rodgers this time around, The special one disagreed.
‘They have enough motivation from this season. They don’t need to go to last season and especially not for the bad memories. If I was in their position I would go back to last season for the good memories – for the victories they had and the good things they did – but it’s up to them.
‘We did what we had to do – go there and not participate in the situation some people wanted to participate in. We went there and gave everything. We were the pros. In football I was always taught to play seriously, to always try to do the best for your team and to not care about the consequences of that. We were professionals – just that.’
‘Our intention is to win,’ he said. ‘When we have the ball we want to try to score goals and when Liverpool have the ball we have to try to stop them scoring goals. This is the ABC of football. I’ve done this since I became a coach, and I’m going to do this until my last day.
‘They are fighting for the title the same as we are. Of course one is a few points in front but I think they are in the title race.
‘I think my players are ready for it, at least mentally ready if not physically where they can have a little problem now and again, but the best way to do it is to think match after match and not about the difficulties.
‘It doesn’t matter if we are or are not in a disadvantaged position. What matters is we have to play there tomorrow at 12.45pm and we have to be ready for it.
‘What inspires us to win is our job. Every game you have to think about winning. This is the essence of football.’
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers discussed few words regarding the match against Chelsea. “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.”
Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno; Lucas, Gerrard; Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho, Borini.
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Schürrle, Oscar, Hazard; Costa.
Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea
Picture Courtesy: forum.rojadirecta