Yes, I know, we have a game against Maribor to focus on first, but while I hope Jose Mourinho and the players aren't thinking about Saturday's trip to Anfield, us fans are perfectly entitled to keep one eye on the Liverpool match. It's been widely reported that the Reds fielded a weakened team against Real Madrid yesterday in order to keep players fresh and healthy for the weekend's clash -- they need to avenge the embarrassment of last year, after all -- but perhaps these quotes from Brendan Rodgers indicate that he has a different plan in mind.
I thought the players were outstanding; Kolo Toure and Lucas Leiva was excellent, Adam Lallana got better as the game went on and Fabio Borini showed his intensity at the top of the field. It gave me great food for thought and all those who weren’t playing last night doesn’t necessarily mean they will play against Chelsea.
For those who didn't watch the match, both Real and Liverpool were stunningly mediocre, with an early goal convincing the hosts that there was little point exerting themselves for the rest of the 90 minutes, while Liverpool flailed aimlessly about the whole time. In true hare-and-tortoise style, the Reds did pick themselves up at the very end and nearly caused Los Blancos some problems, but it was a dull game and for my money there were zero good performances to be found anywhere.
Whatever the team selection -- and let's not rule out a ham-fisted attempt at misdirection here -- I'm sure we'll see a Liverpool side that's more geared up for the battle than they were yesterday, and Chelsea are looking at a difficult match no matter how you slice things. But it's difficult not to imagine that life would be significantly easier if Kolo Toure was anchoring their back line on Saturday*.
*Brendan, if you're reading, I mean significantly easier for YOU, of course.