Liverpool v Chelsea Preview (League Cup) – 20th January 2014

Chelsea head to Anfield on Tuesday night for the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final against Liverpool. This competition wouldn’t have been top priority for either of these two sides this season, but with the chance of silverware so close, neither will want to crash out now.

Brendan Rodgers has yet to win a trophy since joining Liverpool, and he’ll see this as a great opportunity to change that. Jose Mourinho hasn’t won anything in his second spell at Chelsea either, and winning the Capital One Cup would be a good way for him to end back to back seasons without silverware.

Another thing about this competition is how it can affect a season. Mourinho spoke quite a lot in his first season about how a League Cup win could spur his side on. Winning it would give the team belief for the title chase in the run in, and that will be the case again this season. A win in this competition would be a foundation to use to push on in the hunt for other trophies this term.

So, this competition isn’t just a good boost to the trophy cabinet, it can be a positive force for the season, too. City won both the League Cup and the Premier League last season, and Mourinho will be targeting exactly that once again, with Chelsea looking to lift the league title this term.

On top of that, this fixture is usually a fiery one, given how previous meetings have gone. The Blues won twice at Anfield last term, including a victory which effectively denied the Reds the title last. This will be a heated clash, as Mourinho is never welcomed to Anfield, given how many times he’s got one over the Reds in his time in England. His celebrations in the 2005 League Cup final are still remembered there, given the penchant for history in those parts.

Going into this one, there are few injury worries in the squad. Cesar Azpilicueta missed the game at the weekend with a groin injury, but he could be back for this game. Thibaut Courtois also has a minor injury, but with Petr Cech looking impressive in his place in recent weeks that shouldn’t be too big a miss. The rest of the squad seem to be fit, and it’s likely we’ll see a strong line-up on Tuesday.

With an FA Cup game against Bradford coming up after this, the big names can be rested then, so they’re free to play in midweek. With a clash against City coming up next week just after the second leg, it would be in the Blues’ interest to get a good footing in the tie at Anfield. Given their recent record at Liverpool, they’re sure to be confident of getting a result here, and getting themselves ahead in the tie.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-1