Premier League: Chelsea v Liverpool match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's encounter at Stamford Bridge
Friday 27 December 2013
Three days after failing to get anything from the Etihad Stadium, things do not get any easier for Brendan Rodgers’ side as they travel down to the capital to face a Chelsea side who are unbeaten at home in the league this season.
As a result of their 2-1 defeat to Man City a day after Christmas, Liverpool dropped from the top of the tree to fourth. However, with only three points separating the top four, a win over third place Chelsea could well see the Merseyside club return to first place if results also went their way.
Jose Mourinho’s side overtook their opponents after a fifth win in seven league games as they beat Swansea 1-0 thanks to a first half strike from leading scorer Eden Hazard (7). Although they are not displaying the fluent free-flowing football of their title rivals, Chelsea are quietly going about their business and have provided themselves with a strong platform to push their title challenge forward after the New Year.
Liverpool will be hoping Luis Suarez continue his incredible form by building upon his 29 league goals in 2013, and there will be a heavy reliance on the Uruguayan to score the goals with Daniel Sturridge still unavailable through injury. In contrast, Fernando Torres is available to face his former employers, and after six games, is still looking for his first win and goal against the Reds.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4:00pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Liverpool 2 (Sturridge, Suarez) Chelsea 2 (Oscar, Hazard), Premier League, April 2013
Chelsea 1 (Terry) Liverpool 1 (Suarez), Premier League, November 2012
Liverpool 4 (Essien OG, Henderson, Agger, Shelvey) Chelsea 1 (Ramires), Premier League, May 2012
Since leaving Anfield for Chelsea in January 2011, Fernando Torres has faced his former club six times in all competitions and has not come away on the winning side once, as well as not scoring on any of those occasions.
Chelsea’s top scorer, Eden Hazard (7), has netted 21% of the Blues’ league goals this season; while Suarez’s impact in front of goal has been over double that for Liverpool with 44%.
Chelsea have scored 10 fewer goals than Liverpool (43) in the Premier League this season.
Sitting one spot above Liverpool in third, Chelsea have only once finished below the Reds in the previous nine seasons. In that period, the Blues have gone on to win three league titles, while Liverpool’s highest finish was second (08/09).
Brendan Rodgers has come up against Chelsea five times with three different clubs (Watford, Swansea and Liverpool) and has never beaten the West London club – drawing three and losing twice.
Luis Suarez has scored 29 goals in 26 Premier League appearances this calendar year, although he is still seven shy of Alan Shearer’s record (36) while he was at Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
Liverpool have scored 29 goals in their last 14 visits to the capital, and even with the division’s top scorer, will find it hard to break down a Blues side that has only conceded seven goals in their nine league encounters at home.
Chelsea to win: 2.15
Liverpool to win: 3.5
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 4.00pm. Highlights on BBC’s MOTD2 at 10.30pm
The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action
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