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Liverpool Vs. Chelsea: Preview

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Stop me if you've heard this before: Chelsea are playing Liverpool. Liverpool are a team you may remember for being quite good in the 1980s and losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday. They also managed to draw with Cardiff City in February, which was pretty cool I guess.

Date/Time: Tuesday May 8th, 8:00 PM BST (3:00 PM EDT).

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.

TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK), Fox Soccer Channel (USA)

Y'all know the deal. This is a rematch of the FA Cup final. The game doesn't matter much for Liverpool, who secured Europa League qualification with their Carling Cup win earlier in the season. It might mean something for Chelsea, who could still feasibly end up in the top for should they managed to take six points from their next six, but it probably won't end up meaning anything.

The question Chelsea have to ask themselves ahead of this match is just how much they care about the possibility of finishing in third or fourth place. There' no guarantee that even with two wins they could finish in the top four, but if they did so the Champions League final on May 19th would be a lot less stressful for all concerned. Then again, if Chelsea put forth the effort required to earn the six points in the league, they may not be fully rested for Bayern Munich - and might not make the top four anyway.

I'm going to assume that the Champions League final is the team's top priority, because I'm pretty sure more or less all would be forgiven if we managed to win that. If that's true, there's very little point in playing anyone you'd expect to be starting a week from Saturday, with the possible exception of Petr Cech. And that means we have our lineup picked out for us:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ryan Bertrand, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Sam Hutchinson*; Oriol Romeu, Michael Essien; Ramires, Raul Meireles, Daniel Sturridge; Fernando Torres.

*Because, as they say in the business, why the [fun] not?

UPDATE: Raul Meireles is out (as is John Obi Mikel). Replace him with whoever you like. It's cool.

I'd be tempted to start Romelu Lukaku here, but I think playing Torres at Anfield would be pretty funny, especially since he's found something alarmingly close to 'form' of late. All in all, though this doesn't feel like much more than an extended warmup for Munich. I wouldn't get too worked up about this one one way or another.

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