Super Sunday brings a massive game at Anfield between Liverpool and Chelsea who have developed quite a rivalry over the last few years.
Ironically the man who was at the centre of this rivalry for the majority of their Champions League clashes is now managing in the Chelsea dugout, Rafa Benitez.
Benitez returns to his old stomping ground for the first time since leaving Liverpool in 2010 and says there will be no room for sentiment in a match that his Chelsea side must win if they are to keep their top four hopes alive.
Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers have begun to show signs of developing and improving as a team, Countinho’s addition to the squad and Luis Suarez’s goal scoring form have been real highlights for the Kop faithful this season but they still find themselves some way off the pace of challenging for a European place.
Chelsea sit 3rd in the league having played 32 games and on 61 points. Just five points separate Chelsea in third position and Everton in sixth and with Chelsea still to play Tottenham and Everton at home the fight for the Champions League places is a tight one.
Liverpool sit 7th in the Barclays Premier League six points behind their Merseyside rivals Everton, a gap they will want to break down and make sure they finish above The Toffees come the end of the season.
These two teams last met in November last year in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool actually enjoyed 56.9% of possession that day and made 442 accurate passes to Chelsea’s 308. Liverpool also had more chances in open play than Chelsea and will be looking to take certain aspects of this game into Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
- Rafa Benitez was Liverpool’s most successful Premier League manager winning 55.3% of his matches; Brendan Rodgers has won 39.4% so far.
- Luis Suarez has gone 429 minutes since last scoring a Premier League goal, while Fernando Torres has gone 907 minutes since last hitting the back of the net in the league.
- Liverpool have not lost in their last five league meetings with Chelsea, winning four of them.
Ones to watch
Liverpool’s main threat to Chelsea on Sunday will be the ever-present Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Suarez has scored an impressive 22 goals in 32 starts for the Reds this season and is in contention to win the Barclay’s Premier League Golden Boot award. Suarez has had 181 shots, 67 of which have been on target and has converted 52% of his clear-cut chances. The Liverpool striker has also created 87 chances for his team and has assisted his team four times. Suarez, who has started every Premier League game for Liverpool this season, has scored 54.2% of all Liverpool’s Premier League goals this season. Although he is going through a barren stage on his goal scoring career Suarez always poses a goal threat and it won’t be long till his goal drought is over.
Chelsea’s Juan Mata has scored ten goals for The Blues this season and has contributed 11 assists. His 11th coming mid-week in Chelsea’s last game against Fulham, when he provided a picture perfect cross to John Terry, for the Chelsea captain to score Chelsea’s second goal of the night. The Spaniard has created 78 chances for his team, 51 of them coming in open play. Mata has made a total of 1539 passes in the league and currently has a very impressive 85% passing accuracy rate.
Recent Premier League form
Liverpool currently sit 7th in the Premier League and 7th in the Premier League form table. The Reds have picked up 11 points from a possible 18, having drawn in their last two games against West Ham and Reading. Liverpool have scored ten goals and conceded six in their last six league games, having lost 3-1 away from home to Southampton. Liverpool have won 39.39% of their games in the league this season, having lost 27.27% of league games.
Chelsea on the other hand are 3rd in the Premier League but 5th in the Premier League form table. The Blues have taken 12 points from the 18 available and have not drawn a game in their last six. They have scored nine goals and conceded five, having kept three clean sheets in the six games. Chelsea are still in contention to win the Europa League and Rafa Benitez has been rotating his squad in order to cope with the massive influx of games The Blues have had to play over the course of the season, having played in so many different competitions.
Old Ties Old Rivalry
The rivalry really kicked off during the Mourinho Vs Benitez days – quite ironic that Benitez is now the interim Chelsea manager. Brendan Rodgers also has ties from his days at Chelsea under Mourinho’s team so this is a special game for him also.
Then we have the players: Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun are former Liverpool players whilst Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge have played for Chelsea.
So there are a lot of old ties and the old rivalry has a lot of history since the turn of the century and only last season Chelsea beat Liverpool in the FA Cup Final last year. However only a few days later Liverpool extracted some revenge by beating Chelsea 4-1 at Anfield but that could never make up for a Cup Final loss. Can they repeat the feat or will Rafa Benitez have a triumphant return to Anfield?
This is a must win game for Chelsea who need to pick up maximum points available if they are to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Anfield will be a caldron of emotions with Rafa Benitez and Fernando Torres who were once so praised by the Liverpool faithful returning to their former stomping ground.
Liverpool v Chelsea at Anfield is never a dull affair and this game has all the potential to be a great match.
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