11am, live in the US on FSC
Last 4 head-to-head:
1-0 Liverpool (a) 10.26.08
2-3 Chelsea (a; CL) 04.30.08
1-1 (h; CL) 04.22.08
0-0 (a) 02.10.08
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 1-1 Wigan (a); 1-1 Everton (h); 1-1 Everton (h)
Chelsea: 2-0 Boro (h); 3-1 Ipswich (h); 2-1 Stoke (h)
Liverpool: Gerrard 9; Keane, Kuyt, Torres 5; Alonso 3; Babel, Benayoun, Riera 2; Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia 1
Chelsea: Anelka 14; Lampard 9; Kalou 4; Belletti, Deco 3; Boswinga, J Cole, Malouda 2; Alex, Carvalho, Drogba 1
Referee: Mike Riley
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Skrtel Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Riera
Any takers on whether this match will end 1-1?
Maybe the chess games that got Benitez in trouble against smaller teams recently will bear fruit against a big club, as has happened in the past. They work differently against teams who actually want to win the game.
Even though I’m very tempted to guess a squad different than usual – like Gerrard on the right in the 4-4-2 – this has to be a game for the 'tried and true' 4-2-3-1. I’m also tempted to guess Benayoun ahead of Kuyt, as he was one of Liverpool’s few dangerous attackers on Wednesday, but, again, this is a game that suits Kuyt down to the ground. It's one of those where I actually feel pretty safe in guessing the line-up. Which means I’m probably wrong again.
I’d be surprised if Chelsea didn’t play a similar formation – something along the lines of 4-5-1 with Anelka as the spearhead and Kalou, Malouda, Deco, and Lampard in support, with Obi Mikel holding. Joe Cole and Essien are long-term casualties, while Carvalho will miss out with a hamstring injury.
In an ideal world, this game comes at a perfect time. Liverpool needs to step it up a gear, make a statement, and save the season – and you’d think they’d be raring to do so at home against another of the top clubs. And, knock on wood, Chelsea's been gash against the “big four” this season, picking up only one point out of a possible 12. But since “Rafa’s rant,” it’s become impossible to predict what this team will do, unless you’re just guessing they’ll draw.
Hopefully, Sunday will mark a turning point that we’ll look back on fondly come May. Lord knows we fans need it.