In what has come to be one of the Premier League’s biggest fixtures, Liverpool will take on league leaders Chelsea at Anfield in the early kick off on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Rodgers will be hoping he made the right decision to rest several of his players against Real Madrid on Tuesday night in an attempt to get Liverpool’s league season back on track this weekend. After their 1-0 loss to Newcastle last week, the Reds are sitting in seventh place but are only three points behind Arsenal in fourth. Victory this weekend would keep them in the race for the Champions League spots.
However, this will be their biggest challenge of the season against a Chelsea side who are yet to lose a game. Jose Mourinho’s side only managed a draw against Maribor in the Champions League during the week but that shouldn’t phase them in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
Nemanja Matic has added fuel to the flames by saying Liverpool won’t be able to defend against Chelsea’s attack, while Kolo Toure has questioned if Chelsea have the mentality to match Arsenal’s Invincibles.
It has the potential to be one of the season’s best matches.
Daniel Sturridge is still missing for Liverpool, while Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan and Suso are also out with injury. After their game against Real Madrid, Rodgers said there was no guarantee that the players he rested would get back into the starting line-up, so expect some surprises.
Only John Obi Mikel and Loic Remy are missing this fixture for Chelsea. It is likely Mourinho will also welcome Diego Costa back into the starting line-up after using the striker as a substitute in their game against Maribor.
- The last time Liverpool faced Chelsea at Anfield, they lost 2-0.
- This will be the 78th time the two sides have met at Anfield. Liverpool have won 49 and have lost just 11 of those games.
- Chelsea are undefeated so far in the league this season, winning eight games and drawing the other two.
- They are also the league’s top goal scorers with 26, 13 more than Liverpool.
Liverpool have had their difficulties going forward this season but alongside Raheem Sterling, Coutinho has been one of the more positive aspects of their attack. The Brazilian has played in eight games so far and has scored one goal for the team. According to Squawka.com, he has attempted five shots at goal, only two of which have been on target. He has created four chances for his team mates but none of these have resulted in any assists for him. The midfielder does have an impressing passing accuracy at 83%, comprising of 238 successful passes from 287 attempts. He has only managed to win just under half of the duels he has been involved in however, although perhaps unsurprisingly, he has been more successful at taking on opponents when you look at his duels in detail. If Coutinho starts against Chelsea, then you can be sure Matic will have an eye on him at all times.
In my opinion, Fabregas has been Chelsea’s best player this season and one of the best, if not the best, in the Premier League. He has played in all of their league games this season, scoring a goal in the process. However, it has been his creativity that has been much more impressive. According to Squawka.com, he has created 31 chances and has made nine assists – most of which have contributed to Costa’s goal haul. He has attempted 806 passes so far this season and 720 of these have found a team mate, giving him an accuracy of 89%. The only area of his game where the stats show some weakness have been in duels, where he has only been successful 41% of the time. Like Coutinho however, he has been very good at taking on opponents and has won half of his aerial duels. Liverpool’s defence has been shaky at best this season and Fabregas will test them to the max on Saturday.
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Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, I think this will be a repeat of when they took on Chelsea at Anfield last season. Chelsea are in great form just now and with Fabregas and Costa likely pairing together, I think they will be too much for Liverpool’s defence. The Reds may be able to score a goal of their own but I think that ultimately Chelsea will win the game 2-1.