The game at Anfield in two weeks has been looking like a game of importance in our season ever since I saw the fixture list back in June of last year.
It seemed to be a massive dark cloud waiting in the distance and now we are very clear of what this game means for our season and for theirs and we are both fighting for the same prize... the title!. As much as I dislike those scousers up north they have turned a corner this season, going from a joke of a club almost like a beaten down boxer at the tale end of his career living off past glories. Under former Chelsea youth manager Brendan Rodgers they have taken the league by storm and have had a huge wave of momentum recently on this incredible unbeaten streak sweeping aside and convincingly beating United and Spurs and last Sunday winning a thrilling game to put the title race in 'their hands'.
It seemed on the build up to Sunday's huge clash that whoever would win that would win the title and it seemed as if the media had completely forgotten and overlooked the clear fact that we were the second placed team in the league and only two points behind the leaders and would travel to Anfield only a few weeks after the clash and with a win could go in front of Liverpool with only two games remaining.
Like many I feel a sense of de ja vu coming on on the build up to this match.
I felt the same on the weeks leading up to the City game away in early February. We all know the outcome of that match but i do feel their is some similarities between the two.
Man City in the weeks leading up to our clash were in fine form scoring bundles of goals, dominating possession and looking unbeatable. I remember listening to pundits literally saying the Premier League was their's to lose in January.
Then we turned up to Eithad and shocked the world, outplaying and winning one of the biggest games of the season. The media seemed shocked of how Jose had pulled out one of his 'Master-classes' in how to beat the unbeatable's he's done it against Barca on several occasions and beating Manuel Pellegrini's side proved the genius of Jose even more and showed his intent.
Jose loves the big games our record in them this season have been incredible. Beating City twice, sweeping aside United, Spurs and destroying Arsenal have all helped kept us in the title hunt. After already beating Liverpool at home 2-1 at the end of last year we can take confidence from the fact that this team is beatable.
Now we all know the media's love affair with Liverpool it's quite obvious mostly helped by the fact that half of their ex players are pundits themselves and at times it's been laughable what's been said about them by the newspapers and pundits alike. A title win is unthinkable, really it is. Talksport's Adrian Durham pointed out how unbearable their fans and media(who you can probably count as fans on top) would be like if they were to lift the crown. Imagine it Stevie G being acclaimed as the greatest British midfielder of all time, Suarez biting his teeth in to the trophy for the camera's and Brendan Rodgers being called the greatest manager of all time.God the horror I am sorry for putting that picture into your head but these things are no longer unthinkable they are a possibility and with the wave of momentum surely no one can stop 'The People's Champions' Liverpool!..except Jose's Chelsea.
Jose I am sure now is sitting plotting his tactics and finding Liverpool's weaknesses in the weeks leading up to our clash and to be honest you don't need to be The Special One to see Liverpool's weakness it's clear for all to see, the defence. Liverpool are an attacking team in every sense of the word they might as well play with eleven attackers because they would probably do a better job than the defenders. I know that may be harsh but Liverpool are in with the relegation sides in terms of 'Goals Conceded' what's counteracted the terrible defence is the incredible attack that seems to have endless goals and in games against Swansea and Cardiff they needed to score four and six respectively to win and even though a wins a win their is something to be said about it.
if you stop them scoring then you win, as simple as it sounds that's what you need to do. Unfortunately you have to stop a front line of former blue Daniel Sturridge and world beater Luis Suarez who have consistently and single handedly won Liverpool games week in, week out. Also with in form Sterling and Coutinho to add to that already impressive front line it brings more danger and of course Steven Gerrard who seems more determined than ever to get his hands to the Premier League. So a lot to contend with.
Their are some doubts from Liverpool out of Sunday's defeat of Manchester City as Sturridge limped off with a 'slight strain' it is unknown the full extent of the injury as he could be out for the rest of the season or be back for Liverpool's trip to Norwich on Sunday. Also Jordan Henderson got a straight red late on and will miss the game with us after having a great season already so some positives.
Also Hazard will be back by then and hopefully back to form and if he performs anyway near the way he did against Liverpool in December at the Bridge then he can take the game by the scruff of the neck and take Anfield by storm.
Of course a lot can happen till then in a short space of time so at the moment it's anyone guess.
Luis Suarez is the main reason Liverpool are were they are, simple as. No Suarez= No Title Challenge and as much as people will argue with me that other players have performed well around the Uruguayan but if he wasn't there Liverpool would merely be fighting with Spurs, Everton and Arsenal for European places and he will probably be named PFA player of the season and probably rightly so even though he cheats and dives constantly( and bites).
To call Suarez unstoppable is untrue because he can be stopped. We did it in December when he pulled a Mezut Ozil for 90 minutes seeming to be invisible on the pitch making absolutely no impact as JT and Cahill had Luis in their pockets all afternoon. When this happens which we saw in the second half on Sunday against Manchester City and when we played them, Suarez returns to default. Waving his arms about in frustration, shouting at team mates and unfortunately.. diving .
in essence I'd rather have this side of Suarez then the inform and goalscoring one because the latter of the two sides we saw a year ago when the biting incident took place and no matter what anyone says Luis hasn't changed and it only takes for something to go wrong for him to turn back into his old self.
Now lets get to us because although our game plan we'll be to defend well and counter their are players which can play a massive impact wearing blue.
Firstly as I mentioned, the world class Belgian Eden Hazard, who has stepped it up this season and if he can hit form straight away back from injury I feel he can effect any game that's how good he his. Also Matic and Luiz if played will be crucial to stopping the Liverpool attack and a repeat performance by the two like what they did at The Eithad in early February will go a long way to success at Anfield, i can imagine Matic shrugging Gerrard off the ball like he did Toure which will always remain in my heart. Also Willian will have to have another hard working, gut busting 90 minutes to keep up with the game plan just like he consistently has all season. The defence and Cech will surely be tested. Cech will have to pull of some world class saves and JT and Cahill will have to throw there bodies on the line as ever and Branners and Dave will of course do their jobs and have to contest with the pace of Sterling and Coutinho who will run at our defence along with the 'SOS'.
Jose might go 4-3-3 like he did at City which worked best in my opinion and i wouldnt be too suprised to see no Oscar on the team sheet on 27th April but if he does then hopefully he can pull out another good performance and hopefully pick up some form against Sunderland on Saturday to be able to give him confidence to take into the big game.
And of course, lastly the contentious issue always in our minds before every game this season, the striker.
Fortunately, Demba Ba has been able to pick up some form and score two important goals to boost his confidence. Eto'o has done well at home but is yet to find the net away which isn't good with only two away games left ,for me their is only one man for this occasion, Fernando Torres.
Cue groans of frustration. I have like most stuck by Fernando, why? it's hard to give footballing reasons to support him but probably because he wears the blue of Chelsea that I have supported the Spaniard. My patience with him wore thin at the start of last year in the defeat to Swansea where it looked like he didn't care, wasn't trying and was useless on the pitch.
Maybe we got false hope earlier this season in that good run of form ending with that top class performance against City at home scoring that last gasp minute winner reminiscent to Barcelona in 2012.
Since then nothing's changed but not in a good way, he's scored a couple of goals but I think I am ready for him to move on. It's almost like I am getting ready to put 'Costa 9' on the back of the brand new shirt for next season so it's getting harder and harder to see any future for Torres at Stamford Bridge, especially when Jose comes out and says that he's going to sell him.
So to make up for the image I gave you earlier in this article, where Liverpool win the title and I am physically sick so with all the hype surrounding this game Fernando will mostly be an afterthought with all that's at stake this season so as a football romantic I have had visions for months of Fernando latching on to a loose ball maybe a Gerrard suicidal back pass that he likes to pull out of his locker every now and again. How sweet would it be for the 50 million flop to give his final swansong in a Chelsea shirt by kicking the scousers were it hurts most stealing their 'dream' and Fernando leaving Anfield with a huge grin on his face and with all Chelsea fans thinking 'Well done Nando, good job' .
Just saying. Now that's a better image iv'e put in your head.
Their is still a lot to be said before a ball is kicked in Merseyside on Sunday April 27th at 14:05 and more war of words from Mourinho and Rodgers but what we do know and I know is that under Jose as Chelsea anything is possible and....
We can beat Liverpool!
Up The Chels!
By Daniel Chids