Rafa returns to Anfield tomorrow, and the crowd should be fun to watch for this one. The fans of the home team love Rafa, while they seem to be a bit hot and cold on their own manager. The fans of the away team generally hate their current interim manager, while the guy in charge of the opponents has plenty of ties to Chelsea.
Regardless of what happens in the stands, the result of this game will have major consequences for both of the clubs involved. A Chelsea win will keep them comfortably positioned to finish in the top 4, with just 5 games left to be played during the 2012/13 season. A Chelsea win also mathematically ends any hope Liverpool had for a top 4 finish, and could put them on the brink of missing the Europa League as well.
A Liverpool win could keep them realistically dreaming of a return to the glory of the Europa League, especially if Tottenham Hotspur lose to Manchester City earlier in the morning. A draw wouldn't really suit either team well, although if Tottenham drop points it really shouldn't hurt Chelsea too badly.
Chelsea team news: Chelsea should have both Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill available on Sunday, and Marko Marin seems to have recovered from his minor thigh injury as well. This leaves Oriol Romeu as the only player who Rafa Benitez will be without as Chelsea look to reduce their magic number to assure a top four finish.
Liverpool team news: Liverpool have a good number of injuries going into Sunday's game, though only 1 of the 5 players out of action would have likely started the game anyway*. They have shut down Raheem Sterling with a thigh injury, and both Joe Allen and Fabio Borini will be unavailable due to shoulder problems. Jon Flanagan and Martin Kelly will both also miss due to knee injuries.
*Honestly, the injury keeping Joe Allen from being available for selection may be a blessing in disguise for Liverpool
Predicted lineups: I'd almost certainly expect Rafa to trot out his strongest lineup for this one, but I'm not entirely sure what to expect from Brendan Rodgers. Here goes...
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Ba
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Gerrard, Leiva, Coutino, Suarez, Downing, Sturridge
Date and time: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 16:00 BST
Location: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Television coverage: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes (USA), Sky Sports 1 HD,
ITV 4 (UK), ESPN HD, Star Sports, Star Sports 2 (India), Viasat Sport Baltic (Lithuania), more countries coverages can be found here
Live on Fox Soccer 2 Go?: Shockingly, yes. If you want to watch Tottenham vs Manchester City beforehand though, you're out of luck with the poorly run and expensive service. That game won't be available until Monday despite the $19.99 per month fee.