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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Liverpool: Question marks remain in defense; rest of the team picks itself

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It's the biggest game of the season for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, and it's a potential statement game for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.  The hype might be unbearable.  We should be expecting lineups in accordance with the magnitude of this occasion.

Even if Mourinho's job isn't actually on the line as media reports would have us believe, there's no doubt in my mind that he will go with most of the tried and the trusted who have served him so well in the last couple seasons.  Fortunately, some of those players have actually started to show some signs of life and decent form.

For me, players like Eden Hazard, Willian, Diego Costa (assuming his ribs are OK to go), Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Cesar Azpilicueta are absolute locks for the starting lineup.  The only slight question mark is in defense where Branislav Ivanovic isn't expected back for another week (so most likely after the November international break).

We've been trotting out Kurt Zouma as the nominal right back, and while his aerial threat and presence has played a key part in both of our last two goals scored, and he came literally within inches of scoring twice himself (clearance off the line against West Ham, hitting the post against Stoke), he's very much not a right back.  For as much grief as Ivanovic has gotten for his play there this season, Zouma has reminded us that it could be a fair bit worse still.

So the one big decision to make is which of the four defensive starters from midweek should we drop.  All but Baba Rahman played the full two hours, but his substitution seemed more tactical than anything else, with Kenedy coming on as Chelsea went with three centerbacks and an uber-attacking shape.  Could Mourinho place his trust in two 21-year-olds at the same time?  I think he just might, allowing him to match-up Zouma with Benteke, Azpilicueta with Coutinho, and Baba with the lesser threat of whoever's playing right wing for the visitors (Firmino? Milner? Lallana?).

4-2-3-1:
Begovic | Baba, Cahill, Zouma, Azpilicueta | Matic, Ramires | Hazard, Fabregas, Willian | Diego Costa

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In the community voting, all three of our center backs garnered at least 70% of yes votes, which would result in the versatile Zouma getting pushed to defensive midfield.

4-2-3-1:
Begovic | Baba, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Zouma, Matic/Ramires (too close to call) | Hazard, Oscar, Willian | Diego Costa