Both Rafael Benitez and Fernando Torres will be returning to their former stomping ground Anfield on Sunday and will hope to bring back three points to London as Chelsea chase a top four finish in the Barclays Premier League.
Staring with the opposition, Liverpool have no new injury worries to speak to but left wing Jesus Stewart Downing, as Mirror Sport’s Twitter account likes to call him, is pushing for a recall whilst fullbacks Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan are available since recovering from respective knee injuries.
Interim Chelsea boss Benitez is expected to make a few changes to the team that started the 3-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night as he is trying to keep the squad fresh during a congested fixture pile-up. England defenders Gary Cahill (knee) and Ashley Cole (hamstring) are both fit again and should be available for selection.
The XI I’d Pick:
C. Azpilicueta – D. Luiz – J. Terry (c) – R. Bertrand
Ramires – J. Mikel
Oscar – J. Mata – E. Hazard
Azpilicueta was looking a little ropey against Manchester City so probably benefited from the rest he received on Wednesday night whilst he’s important for providing width from fullback, as is Bertrand, who has played well enough to keep his place in the XI and I don’t think it is the game to drop Cole straight back into.
David Luiz is the first choice centre back these days but it is difficult to think of which player to partner him with as Branislav Ivanovic has had both great and awful moments in that position, and our leader John Terry has struggled to regain his sharpness since returning from injury. Like Cole, I wouldn’t play Cahill so soon after returning to fitness and it would be a better idea to give them a run out against Basel on Thursday and perhaps they could play a full game against Swansea next weekend.
Ramires has to play as he is our engine in the midfield and John Obi Mikel will put in the defensive work far more than Frank Lampard, who played a full game against Fulham, would. But Mikel really has to buck his ideas up as he has been lacking in his consistency in recent months.
Victor Moses couldn’t even cross him arms let alone a football at Craven Cottage so should be relegated back to the bench for Oscar. I’m hoping the Brazilian along with the dynamic duo of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard can make a real difference on Sunday.
Torres started on Wednesday night so it looks like Demba Ba will be starting the game against Liverpool. Perhaps we could see Torres used as an impact sub again, if necessary.