A week on from the first leg 1-1 draw at Anfield and they are both looking to progress to the first cup final of the season. The difference a week can make as now Chelsea are looking to bounce back from an astonishing capitulation against Bradford in the FA Cup on Saturday and attempt to avoid a second consecutive home defeat and cup exit. Mourinho said he was ashamed of the result against their League One opposition and that the players should be too, this is why it is wise to expect a backlash from Mourinho and his players as they will attempt to restore their, till this point, stellar reputation this season at against the red half of Merseyside.
Meanwhile, Liverpool also had a hiccup at the weekend being forced to a FA Cup replay by Bolton after a 0-0 draw at Anfield. With the criticism he has come into this season with his side’s league and Champions League record this season, Rodgers could restore a lot of faith in his managerial credentials by eliminating Chelsea from the League Cup on Tuesday and continuing on to secure the cup for Liverpool’s trophy cabinet. Tempers flared last time the two sides met between Costa and Henderson and with the added tension from the FA Cup results at the weekend couple with the two side’s semi-final history we could be in for huge game at Stamford Bridge.
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Off the back of Chelsea’s “embarrassing” FA Cup exit to Bradford City on Saturday, Mourinho will be expecting a victory from his side. As result it could be right to assume that Mourinho will be putting out a team more similar to his usual first string against the Anfield side rather than the one charged with dispatching the giant killers from League One. With no injuries to deal with it is likely that most of the players from the first leg at Anfield will retain their spot in Mourinho’s side as he will look to avoid a second successive home defeat and cup exit.
Brendan Rodgers handed the Liverpool fans a massive boost in his post-match interview after the draw with Bolton on Saturday evening. The Liverpool gaffer confirmed that Sturridge was set to return to training with the squad on Sunday and that “if he’s not ready for Tuesday he’ll be back, for sure, against West Ham”. That will be music to Liverpool fans’ ears, who have not seen the England international appear for the club since the sides 3-0 victory over Tottenham on August 31st of last year. Brad Jones could still be at least a week away from action for the Reds, meanwhile long term absentee Jon Flanagan is yet have a date set for any potential return.
- Last time the two sides met at Stamford Bridge was 29TH December 2013. Chelsea won 2-1
- When the two teams last met in the League Cup (November 2011) Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge
- That was the last time Liverpool have managed to win at Stamford Bridge
- Mourinho has won 10 of his last 20 encounters with Liverpool
- Liverpool haven’t won any of their last 6 encounters with Chelsea
Chelsea: Diego Costa
Chelsea’s super striker needs no introduction, nor does there really need to be any explanation of why he is a key man for Chelsea. Over the season so far he has given us 17 reasons. The former Atletico striker has helped turn Chelsea into arguably the most complete side in the Premier League, a front man that all other teams would like to have in their team. It took him next to no time to adapt to the Premier League style as a physical presence up top he was unlike most talents that make the trip into the British game from the continent. Tempers flared on the last outing between the two sides as Costa and Henderson squared up, Diego Costa will know well enough he can do his biggest damage by bullying Liverpool’s defence and finding the net as he has done this season with alarming consistency rather than getting embroiled in some handbag antics with the Liverpool midfielder
Liverpool: Jordan Henderson
This could be an opportune moment for the heir apparent to Gerrard’s armband to really confirm to us all why he is highly regarded as the next Liverpool captain. A key player in the Liverpool midfield for Rodgers, Henderson will look to disrupt Chelsea’s midfield flow, which is no easy task when they can boast a midfield containing both Matic and Fabregas with the likes of Oscar and Hazard moving in front of them. The former Mackem has shown his worth to Liverpool in recent times and is considered highly for a bright future at the club. But, if there was ever a chance tpo really cement yourself as a prime time player for the Merseyside club, it would be by putting Chelsea to the sword in this semi-final and booking the club a spot at the Wembley final. Liverpool fans have enjoyed some great semi-final victories in the past and they would definitely like to add to that scrap book. If Henderson can take charge of the midfield and boss the game like he should be capable, like the man tipped to replace Stevie G should then we could confirm him as the new captain of the Anfield side by the final whistle on Tuesday evening.
Considering that Mourinho has only lost a handful of games at home in all his years with Chelsea it would seem unlikely that he would now go on to lose 2 home games in the space of 4 days, in cup competition. Having said that if there was ever a time that perhaps Chelsea were vulnerable, could this be it? Overly emotional after such an embarrassing result against Bradford in front of home support could they be caught by a Liverpool side looking to prove many doubters wrong? For me I see the most likely scenario being a very strong Chelsea side is fielded and they are sent out to prove a point after being dumped out of the FA Cup, to stop any murmurs of discontent and dip in form at source. A return to the team for Costa and Hazard along with a start for midfield maestro Fabregas and Chelsea could book their place in the League Cup Final. Liverpool will have the battle and desire to test Chelsea but the question is do they have the quality to beat them at Stamford Bridge? I think if Liverpool were going to advance to the final they needed to come to London with a home win in their pocket. A Chelsea win for me but a good old Chelsea-Liverpool goal fest we can enjoy