Liverpool vs Chelsea: What to expect from the title decider?

“Chelsea have lost only one of seven Premier League games played in between Champions League semi-final matches (and that was back in 2004); winning four and drawing two.” Opta

BmKxqRuCAAAYWqwA win for Liverpool at Anfield would drive them 8 points clear of the visitors thus ending Chelsea’s title challenge in the domestic front.

Both squads are likely to field a team without a few of their influential players but for different reasons. With the absence of anchorman Jordan Henderson, Brendan Rodgers side would feel the heat in the midfield. Ex-Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge too might not feature in the Reds’ starting eleven after picking up a hamstring 2 weeks ago at Anfield against title rivals Manchester City. Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen are the two men who replaced the unavailable duo last week against Norwich.

This means that Liverpool would probably play 4-5-1 with Captain Steven Gerrard tucking in between the two center halves thus giving both the full backs Jon Flanagan and Glen Johnson the license to surge forward. Allen and Leiva are most likely to play central midfield followed by Coutinho and Sterling possibly playing on the flanks with the lone striker Luis Suarez. This Diamond formation has aided Liverpool in the past but with Chelsea’s midfield strength, it could counter-fire as well.

Jose Mourinho has indicated that he is ready to field a weakened team at Anfield owing to the 2nd leg of the Champions League Semifinal to be played at the Bridge on Wednesday. Even a win against Liverpool would not win the title for Chelsea, they would still need a few favors from the other contenders to drop points and with only 2 matches remaining, it seems more and more unlikely.

BkvDs1OCcAEL82VBut a win against Atletico Madrid would mean a shot at the Champions league trophy. At this stage at Stamford Bridge, continental glories remains top priority.

With Lampard and Ramires serving their ban at Europe and Salah and Matic cup tied, all four of them are likely to start in the midfield. With Terry and Cech out of selection after picking up injuries in the recent weeks, Mark Schwarzer and Gary Cahill are likely to replace the duo. Fernando Torres is most likely to start against his former club in the absence of injured Samuel Eto’o. Spanish International Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole are most likely to flank their center halves.  Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o are speculated to miss this tie in order to recover before the semi-final clash against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

With Brendan Rodgers going in for the kill and Jose Mourinho trying to play it safe, this is one mouth- watering prospective, especially for the Liverpool fans as  a win this Sunday would get them one step closer to etching their names in the books for an unbelievable 19th time.

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