After a relatively easy win over Watford thanks to goals from Joe Allen and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have to prepare for the visit of Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday. Though Chelsea has been disastrous this season, the blues cannot be taken lightly in any aspect and can cause real damage to the reds. This fixture has always caught attention from all over the globe and the two teams have been involved in many close games over the years.
The main priority would be the Europa League final against Sevilla in the next week and as against Watford, some players will get a rest to keep them fresh for the grand finale. The blues endured a disappointing loss against Sunderland and would want to end the season on a high to give something back for the fans. But their record had been abysmal at Anfield winning just 12 matches since the two teams met first time in 1937-38.
Jurgen Klopp will be without Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi, but the good news is that the pair will definitely will be ready for the Euros and can make the squad for the final in Basel. Danny Ings is back in training but as Klopp said, he won’t be risked till the pre-season. For the blues, John Terry is banned for two games after getting a Red card against the black cats. Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma remain the long term absentees. Let’s take a look at the three battles that can decide the outcome of the game :
1. Brad Smith vs Willian:
The Australian left back has impressed this season and with Alberto Moreno playing against Watford, he will get a rest to be fit and fresh for the final. Moreno has his doubters, but has improved a lot under the German’s gaffer regime and deserves a rest against Chelsea.
Smith will be up against the efficient and dangerous Brazilian, Willian, who has been the most impressive Chelsea player this campaign. Brad Smith will have to match the tremendous work rate of Willian and it will be an interesting duel between the two.
2. Joe Allen vs Cesc Fabregas:
Fabregas has been in good form lately and has enjoyed the free roaming role under Guus Hiddink. He will be up against the Welsh international, Joe Allen. Allen has made his case for a new contract with stellar displays in the last few months and definitely deserves a new contract to keep him at the club. Allen will look to cut the space around the Spaniard and stop him from letting control the tempo of the game.
3. Daniel Sturridge vs Branislav Ivanovic:
After a much deserved rest against Watford, Sturridge will start against his former club and look to continue his good run after coming back from injury. He will be up against the Serbian, Branislav Ivanovic who has been a weak link for the blues and Sturridge can target him and Cahill, who have looked nervous everytime when they have played together. With Sturridge, Firmino and Lallana expected to start against the blues, Ivanovic and Cahill are going to have a rough night to endure at Anfield.