Can Liverpool all-but secure the league title vs Chelsea?
In a match that could be this season’s title decider, the top two title contenders, Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool host Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Anfield. It is the best attacking side and the best defensive sides of England coming face to face.
The last time both these sides met, it ended in a 2-1 comeback win for Chelsea. But the scenario has changed now. Liverpool are on an unbeaten run of 16 games, drawing two games and winning the rest. Liverpool have an added advantage – they are playing at home and have lost just once at Anfield. Also Chelsea have struggled against teams when playing away to them. Their recent form is not impressive, three defeats in five games. To add to their misery, Petr Cech, Terry and their best performer of the season, Hazard are out injured.
Liverpool away and Home table Table
Chelsea away and league table
The home and way form table shows us all the details. Courtesy: ESPN FC
Mourinho has already specified that bagging the Champions League is his and Chelsea’s top priority. He knows that the Premiership is out of his grasp. Chlesea do have some chances of winning it, but it rests on Manchester City and Liverpool. The situation is like, Chelsea should win all their remaining matches and at the same time Manchester City should lose one out of their remaining four games and Liverpool should at least drop 6 points. This case is highly impossible and unimaginable and if this somehow takes place, then it is going to be one of the greatest comebacks to win the league.
Keeping this in mind, Jose might field a weak team, as he has already said in the press conference. He might have conceded the title, but he is reluctant to give it away easily. That’s him, that’s Mourinho. So he might be planning to snatch a point out of nowhere. According to me, to achieve this, Jose will dopt to 4-3-2-1 formation, but more defensive minded like the one that was deployed against Atletico Madrid.
Schwarzer surely starts against Atletico in Stamford Bridge. Most probably he will be rested today. Hilario will guard the post. Ivanovic – Kalas – Luiz – Cole will be the back four, if he sticks to his “weak team” policy. Matic – Mikel – Frank Lampard will fill in the midfield gaps. Salah – Willian will play wide as wingers and Torres might start as the striker.
Brendon Rodgers is no fool to take Jose’s words seriously. He publicly admitted Chelsea as a threat. As this is going to be the game of his life, Rodgers will probably stick to his usual counterattacking formation, 4-3-3.
The team will be – Mignolet between the poles, Flanagan – Skrtel – Agger – Johnson, the defenders. Gerrard will play as the defensive midfielder. Henderson and Coutinho will play to the right and left sides of Gerrard. The formidable trio of Sturridge – Suarez and Sterling will steer Liverpool towards the goal.
Analysing the defense –
Luiz and Kalas will give their best to keep Suarez at bay. Cole will have to mark Sturridge. Ivanovich has to do the same with Sterling. One more thing is, Chelsea defenders should always be on their feet.
As far as Liverpool are concerned, they need to mark their star of the previous decade, Torres. But given that Chelsea are playing deep, it will be an easy task for Agger and Skrtel to check him, and Torres will be entirely dependent on long balls from the back or on Salah and Willian’s counter attacking run.
Analysing the midfield –
The key battle in mid-field will be Gerrard versus Matic. It will be Matic’s duty to distract Gerrard with a few unexpected forward runs that might probably allow Lampard – Salah and Willian some space between the defensive and midfield lines. Gerrard, meanwhile, has to stay close to his central defenders in order to lend a hand to them if Chelsea pose any threat by attacking in the break.
Mikel will have to tightly mark the Brazilian prodigy, Coutinho. Mikel has to close to close him down and should not let him provide killer balls to the front trio.
Lampard and Henderson will lock horns in the midfield. They both are attack minded players. In this match, Henderson can play an attacking game but Lampard will have to be patient and mark Henderson. The only chance for Lampard to paly attacking game will be during the counter stacks by supplying long balls to his forwards.
The Outcome –
Liverpool have thrashed almost everyone at Anfield. So far they have scored 51 goals there. But Chelsea have been very strong defensively this season, conceding only 26 goals.
But Liverpool have an upper hand in this game. They attack beautifully, they can open any tricky defense, they have the winning mentality and moreover they have the driving force, an urge within the players to win the Premiership for Gerrard.
For Chelsea, they have got nothing to lose. The League is not in their hands and so a loss will not affect their morale. Jose has already built that stockade by declaring that he will field his weakest eleven.