Jose Mourinho faces a massive 90 minutes of his Chelsea career this weekend, as Liverpool head to the Bridge. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be after a win, and they’ll be confident of getting one given the Blues’ recent form. After their struggles, can they get back on track in this one, or will the pressure on Mourinho’s shoulders grow yet greater?
There are doubts over the fitness of Diego Costa after the forward went off against Stoke with a rib injury. He could return in time to play, but he’s likely to face an uphill battle to start in this one. Branislav Ivanovic still doesn’t appear to be ready to return, so it’s unlikely the back four will change from the one that faced West Ham.
Liverpool head down to the capital on the back of three draws in their manager’s first three games at the helm. Klopp has yet to taste victory in the Premier League, and he’ll know a win here would delight his new fans. Both Southampton and Crystal Palace have managed victories here already this season, but can Chelsea produce a display like the one against Arsenal and pull off a big triumph of their own?
There have been rumours that a defeat here could cost Mourinho his job. While that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, a loss in this game would certainly do him no favours. Klopp will be eyeing the top four, and given how well Arsenal and the Manchester clubs are doing, it’s Chelsea’s spot that the Reds are looking to steal. Lose this, and Chelsea will be miles off the top four pace, with plenty of other sides beginning to eye it up. That would probably be enough for Abramovich to act.
So, Jose can’t really fathom losing here. The good news for him is he’s set to be back on the touchline despite his sending off last week. He’ll be hoping that will help his team bounce back, which is something they desperately need after losing at West Ham and going out of the League Cup. Their season seems to be falling apart all around them, losing their manager for the game might have been a blow too far, or an excuse too many.
There’s certainly unrest that Liverpool can take advantage of, but there are question marks over their team as well. They’ve not made the best start, and Klopp’s changes haven’t really suited them yet. This isn’t a bad time to play Liverpool, as they’re likely to be much stronger in a few months.
It could also be that the team need this big a fixture to refocus their minds. This is the kind of game that Mourinho’s teams specialise in, so maybe old habits will kick in and the team will click. It’s hard to know just how this one will go, but it could end up being a decisive point in the season, and the manager’s future.
LCN Verdict: 1-1 draw