The Blues head to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime looking to repeat the fantastic 2-0 win they earned there last season, and looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. With the Blues kicking off almost five hours before Manchester City, they can once again heap pressure on their main title rivals by going nine points clear of them.
Chelsea’s win at Anfield last season was one of their biggest results of the season, and it was done with a second string side. Jose Mourinho rested many of his stars with Atletico Madrid coming to the Bridge in the Champions League just a few days later, not dissimilar to what the Liverpool boss did this week.
The Blues will need a much improved performance from their draw in the Champions League with Maribor, and we’ll likely see a much changed side after that game. Chelsea rested several of their own players for that match, and they’ll certainly come back in for the trip to Anfield.
Petr Cech started in goal at Maribor, but Thibaut Courtois should come back between the sticks. The Belgian has started every league game this season, and that should continue here. Cesar Azpilicueta has completed his ban for a red card at Crystal Palace, and he should return this week to replace Filipe Luis. John Terry will be picked ahead of Kurt Zouma in defence, while Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic will complete the back four.
Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will keep their places in central midfield, but they’re likely to be joined by Ramires in the middle, with Mourinho going for three in the middle of the park. The Blues looked far too open against Maribor in midweek, and they’ll need to be more solid against a Liverpool side who can attack with pace. Those three in the middle can control the game, in the 4-5-1 formation that Mourinho likes in these big away games.
Eden Hazard and Willian should complete the midfield, playing out wide. Both are more disciplined defensively than Andre Schurrle, which will be needed to stop Liverpool’s full backs from bombing on. While neither of those two were impressive in midweek, Hazard is an automatic pick and Willian is one of the hardest working players at the club.
Up front Diego Costa should be ready to start. Didier Drogba started in midweek, but Costa came on at half time with the Blues struggling. He should still be fit enough to start after that, and the Blues certainly need him. Since his injury the Blues have struggled to score goals and control games, so they’ll need him back to the form he showed at the start of the season as we enter a crucial stage of the campaign. Liverpool haven’t been very solid at the back in recent times, so this looks to be a great chance for Costa to get back to scoring ways.
LCN Verdict: 1-1 draw