10th November 2012
Hard-fought victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek can be just the boost Chelsea need to return to the right track, with a win over Liverpool a must if the Blues are to remain near the top of the standings. The Reds continued to struggle having only mustered a 1-1 draw with Newcastle, whereas the Europa League defeat to Anzhi did nothing to improve the atmosphere in the squad.
With Chelsea struggling a great deal in the creative department last term, Roberto Di Matteo was delighted to welcome Eden Hazard and Oscar to his ranks in the summer, who now form an impressive midfielder trident with excellent Juan Mata. It is this trio of players that has to take most of the credit for team’s bright start to the season, although we have to admit holding midfielders Ramires and Mikel are also doing a great job. It appears that Di Matteo has found a right balance in the side and if Fernando Torres was to start scoring on regular basis, the Blues would be simply unstoppable. Chelsea did suffer a small dip in form following the great start to the season, which is why the last-gasp Champions League victory over Shahtar Donetsk was so important, seeing it served as a major confidence boost before the all-important clash against Liverpool. Juan Mata and David Luiz have both return into action after missing the Swansea game, while John Terry is available again having served a four-match ban. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, however, are out injured.
Poor dealings in the summer transfer window have left new boss Brendan Rodgers with a very thin squad that largely struggle to balance between the Premier League and Europa League campaigns. With Steven Gerrard far from his best and wingers Raheem Sterling and Suso offering little to the attacking department, amazing Luis Suarez is often completely isolated up front and that seems to be the main reason for the lack of goals this season. Given that midfield players rarely enter the final third, the Uruguayan is usually left on his own up front, and while he has done brilliantly to score 7 goals in 10 games considering the circumstances, he cannot be expected to make a serious impact in big games. This is one of the main reasons why the Reds have failed to win any of their last four games and why they will most likely suffer another defeat to a top 4 side. Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson return to the side, but Lucas Leiva, Martin Kelly and Fabio Borini are all sidelined through injury.
Chelsea have looked really good throughout the season and their attacking potential should prove too much for Liverpool’s weak back line. The Reds, on the other hand, are relying too much on Luis Suarez, who will have his work cut out for him at Stamford Bridge.
Verdict: Home win Chelsea (1)
Best Odds: 1/1
Bookmaker: William Hill