- Antonio Conte to stick with 3-5-2 against Liverpool this evening
- Williand & Pedro will only be introduced in the second-half
- Expect Blues to sit deep and play on the counter-attack
- SEE MORE: ‘It’s not right’ Furious Conte slams PL ahead of Liverpool v Chelsea
Ahead of this evening’s crunch Premier League clash against Chelsea, we spoke to huge Blues fansite Chelsea News about the upcoming clash.
Their Editor Will Faulks took the questions, and gave some very interesting answers, actually.
Faulks reckons Chelsea will sit deep and look to use pace in the second-half to open us up, while giving Cesc Fabregas a free role from which to create.
He also went on to describe how his set of supporters are largely in denial about Mo Salah, the Egyptian winger who left them in 2014.
1) So.. How good is this Chelsea side? I’ve seen your fans complaining about a lack of transfers – but you spent £70m on a striker, £35m on a midfielder and £30m on a centre-back?
People are complaining because they wanted the team to get better this summer, but because we had to replace Diego Costa, John Terry and Nemanja Matic, even spending those sums has seen us go sideways rather than forwards.
We are still a dangerous team though, and we have had our best performances in the big games this season.
2) What is Antonio Conte likely to do at Anfield? He seems an incredible coach, but not one to ‘Jose Mourinho’ it and just murder a football match.
Like Mourinho he’s a pragmatist tactically and isn’t afraid to play for a draw when it suits him, but unlike Mourinho he recognises the value of gambling for 3 points when the time is right – as it is this weekend, given that City are disappearing over the horizon.
Conte will set up deep to counter the pace of your front line, but he will still be looking to win the game. Pedro and Willian will be on in the second half guaranteed… if we don’t already have a lead by then!
3) What’s the predicted Chelsea lineup and which players will make the difference?
We will stick with the 352 that’s done so well for us in big games this season: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.
My only fear is Hazard and Morata being cut off if the team is too deep defending Salah and Mane, but your defence is shaky enough to give them a few chances.
The key men are Kante and Hazard as always, but Moses’ return could be really important if he’s fit to start. He gives us the speed to defend against your attackers, and also to drive the whole team forward when we win possession back.
Fabregas is the spare man in this formation, given he effectively replaces a forward, and it’s his job to connect the front two to the rest of the team. Shut him down and you can really hurt us offensively.
4) What’s the Chelsea opinion of Mo Salah right now.. He’s the Premier League’s top scorer on 9 goals and looks an incredible buy. Also, there must be some disappointment over Solanke, who’s now an England international, too!
We all regret Jose Mourinho letting Lukaku, Salah, de Bruyne etc. go, but in Salah’s case was perhaps the most understandable. It looked like Salah lacked the mental qualities to make it at the top level.
This has lead to most of us being in denial about how good he is, given what we saw when he was in blue, but gradually we’re being forced to admit that letting him go looks like a bigger and bigger mistake. Having said that, he’s ideal for your system, so I don’t think he’d be looking quite this good at any other club!
5) What’s going to happen on Saturday? Prediction, goalscorers, tactics, etc. etc. GO.
I’m not sure it will be as exciting as some people predict, unless there’s an early goal to open it up. Chelsea will sit deep to start with and hope that Morata and Hazard can work some magic with limited service. But as the game goes on we will push further forward and bring on a third forward, meaning it could open up suddenly in the second half.
0-0 half time, 1-1 full time.