In this top of table clash between the two English giants, win is not an option, rather it is a necessity for both the teams as they look to end 2013 on a high. As for Chelsea is concerned, before the start of season everybody was expecting them to be fighting for the title, therefore, they are familiar in going such battles in last decade.
Liverpool came out of Etihad with no points but lot of positives, and the fact they haven’t lost back to back game under Rodgers’ undermines Liverpool chances to win this match. Man City ended Liverpool 4 match winning streak, and for a match that is remembered by LFC fans for wrong reasons, Rodgers has made his escape by targeting the referee. However this EXCUSE will not come to his defense after the clash in London.
Looking on Chelsea’s inability to finish the games, Mourinho wasn’t in a happy mode seeing his strikers plunder chances away. Late goals by sides such as Stoke had carried points away from the Blues, and with the fatigue of busy winter schedule showing its effect, Mournho’s unbeaten home record is under serious threat.
With the fact that no Chelsea forward has scored a goal away from home in whole 2013, pressure is once again on the midfielders to try and push for three points, and with Ramires out of the game due to suspension, Hazard would be the most dangerous threat posing player for the reds.
Out of 34 goals scored this season by Chelsea in the league, Only 5 have come from the strikers, thus underlining the burden Chelsea midfielders have carried this season alone. And with Liverpool young midfield blossoming against Tottenham and City, it would be interesting to see how Mourinho and his side tackles the young blood from Liverpool.
With a 4-5-1 formation, Torres could yet again start, but keeping in mind his performances against the reds’, it won’t be surprising if either Ba or Eto gets a nod in front of the Spaniard.
Coming out of the Etihad with heads high, Liverpool played like a title challenging side at the Etihad, However most of the LFC supporters will assess that these kind of performances have been regular by their side against the big teams in the previous years. Now the time has come for Liverpool to transform their work rate against the big teams into points on the league table.
Liverpool haven’t found themselves in such a position for years where every match is assessed so tightly and talks of title are made before every one of their matches. This is a feeling they got to sink in, if they want to keep looking at the big prize.
It won’t be wrong if this match is decided on two players’ of how they perform: Hazard and Suarez. Suarez have been in great touch scoring 19 so far, but he has also scored against Chelsea, both home and away last season, thus Chelsea’s has been his happy hunting ground so far. Suarez averages 61 minutes per goal that includes a goal per match, a stat which Terry and co would be looking to attack in this match
Looking at matches in weekend, Both City and United founded it hard to go pass weaker oppositions, and apart from several other factors, fatigue was the primary factor to force the higher sides’ dug deep and getting points. And it would no doubt affect the outcome at the Bridge.
Liverpool players have experienced this tiredness in every match this month, as there is not much to look for at the Liverpool bench. Therefore, they are more familiar for digging deep, tack;ing it out for 90 minutes, go home and then again practice knowing they are the regulars no matter what in their starting lineup.
This exhaustion of players could benefit LFC more than the Blues, as blues have a full squad and they can obfuscate the issue by substitutions, still main players would be the same. Because Chelsea have a strong squad than LFC, still tiredness can affect the performances of CFC players and Liverpool who haven’t changed any of their squad this month, are in the right position at this moment.
I am going for a Liverpool win.
Amir Bashir follow him on Twitter.