Chelsea FC, yearning for a top-four finish in the Premier League, welcome the land’s most spirited side – Liverpool to the Bridge in what would be a serious, hot-blooded encounter between both the outfits.
The Blues must not only convert their three-match winning run into a six-game spate but also hope that fourth-placed Spurs or Liverpool stumble and drop points. Much to their despair, the Pensioners have been winless in their last six league meetings with the Merseyside club.
While Liverpool need to avoid other distractions, Antonio Conte needs to take each game as it comes and hope for the best.
Thibaut Courtois will guard goal for Chelsea. He will surely be tested and is expected to rise to the occasion. Probably the best player for the Blues this season, Cesar Azpilicueta will play on the right side of the back three.
Christensen, who has been one of the finds of this season, will occupy the heart of defence. The left centre back spot will be owned by Antonio Rudiger, who is usually given the nod over club captain Gary Cahill.
N’Golo Kante, the machine, will play at centre midfield. He will have to play out of his skins and continue his prime form. He will be accompanied by Cesc Fabregas, who will be oozing confidence at the moment. If the magician can find his passing range, he could cause serious damage to the highly populated Liverpool midfield.
The attack-minded Marcos Alonso will play at left wing-back. He will hug the touchline and is expected to track the far post runs. Victor Moses will feature on the other side. He adds a good amount of threat down the right.
Willian, who was surprisingly rested last game, is sure to man the right wing area. His change of pace, sharpness, ability to skip past players and link up with Fabregas and Hazard makes him Chelsea’s biggest weapon.
Eden Hazard will play at left wing. The crafty Belgian will have to complete dribbles, carry the ball forward, release his teammates and perform to his best propensity.
Olivier Giroud’s recent form will grant him a place in the lineup. He hasn’t scored in any of his last six PL starts albeit. However, against the Reds, he’s got four in his previous five.
Probable playing XI – (3-4-3)
Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Eden Hazard; Olivier Giroud.