An absolute stormer of a weekend is upon us now and the pick of the bunch has to be the heavyweight tussle on Sunday when Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield for the 14:05 kick off. Brendan Rodgers will be looking for his team of Premiership leaders to take all three points and increase their advantage at the top of the table. To say this match is a six-pointer would be an understatement.
During this week Liverpool’s Managing Director Ian Ayre has confirmed plans will be submitted to the City Council for the redevelopment of Anfield this summer, and what welcome news that was. They say timing is everything and there couldn’t have been a better time to announce the club’s firm intention to make a determined effort to match the ‘big boys’ of world football once again. Not just in terms of on the pitch, a project which looks to be taking shape quite nicely right now, but also in terms of revenues and stadium capacity.
There’s a real feel of excitement and expectancy in the air at the moment and all eyes will be on Anfield come Sunday. A win would put Liverpool eight points ahead of Chelsea with parity of matches plaid. Manchester City have a tricky encounter away at Selhurst Park, a difficult little venue at the best of times, and for me, I’d like to see the Reds arrive there after the Chelsea game with a healthy lead at the top.
The word coming out of Stamford Bridge is that Jose Mourinho will be putting out a ‘weakened’ side on Sunday in view of their Champions League semi-final second leg match against Atletico Madrid. However, if you look at the situation realistically, I don’t think Mourinho has any choice. His current injury list includes, John Terry, Petr Cech are both injured. They’re joined in the treatment room by Eden Hazard arguably their best and most consistent performer this season. It’s clear Chelsea are missing some major cogs in their very expensive wheel. That said, it’s not as if they’re going to be scraping the barrell for replacement quality and I expect a match on Sunday, so called weakened side or not.
As for Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge should be back in contention for selection after missing out on the 2-3 victory against Norwich on Sunday. What better motivation will there be for the 24 year-old than to put the title beyond the reach of the team that had more faith in the club mouse than in him. I don’t believe any team talk need be amed in this young man’s direction. Unfortunately, Jordan Henderson remains suspended until the last game of the season against Newcastle and we all saw the effect his absence had on the team at the weekend. the lack of his industry and eye for goal will be a bit of a handicap for the homeside on Sunday so I hope Joe Allen reproduces a performance to match his last outing.
Personally, I’d prefer Lucas Leiva and Coutinho to start in midfield in front of Steven Gerrard and behind a front three of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez. I suspect Mamadou Sakho will continue in central defence with Martin Skirtel but my only concern is the Frenchman’s lack of composure under pressure which may offer some opportunity to the visitors. I can’t believe the wily Mr. Mourinho hasn’t noticed that.
Another massive, massive weekend ahead for all Liverpool fans. Brendan Rodgers said in his press conference today that he’s “Never slept better”. Let’s hope so. I’d like some of whatever he’s taking because frankly, I’ve never NOT slept better.
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