Paul Merson thinks Liverpool will overcome Chelsea this weekend as Eden Hazard will not feature in the crucial battle.
The Sky Sports pundit thinks Maurizio Sarri will prioritise the Europa League, in which the Blues beat Sparta Praha in their first quarter final leg, and opt to rest their star man.
“I’m not sure if Eden Hazard’s going to play as the Europa League is a massive competition for Chelsea,” he explains in his prediction piece for Sky Sports.
It’s important to remember that the Chelsea boss is yet to win a trophy at any of the clubs he’s managed – a bit of a surprise considering the Italian has been in a a job since 1990.
The potential to reach a semi-final of Europe’s second-most elite competition must have him salivating. “For the manager, winning that competition is bigger for him than getting into the top four,” Merson continued.
“This is a big opportunity for Sarri so it’s a question of what team gets set up for Chelsea. If Chelsea play their full team, and don’t worry about next Thursday, this will be game on – no question about that.
“Liverpool are going to get nervous. They’ve not won the league in 29 years, and everyone in the city is talking about it, so there’s bound to be nerves. If they can get this game out of the way, Man City will have to do it the hard way.”
The Belgian international is in a great vein of form at the minute for Chelsea; the winger has managed 16 goals and 12 assists this season – his best-ever return in the Premier League.
If Sarri does indeed go the way of Merson then it’ll be a massive boost for the Reds. That being said, either way, we aren’t exactly the underdogs going into this game.