Following a disappointing result at Swansea, Chelsea look to return to winning form in what could be considered our first true test this season as we take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the fifth round of the 2016-17 Premier League.
Unsurprisingly, our record last season against the Reds was far from laudable (as it was against just about anybody other than Arsenal). The first match took place at the Bridge, with Chelsea losing 3-1 despite taking the lead inside of five minutes through Ramires. It was Klopp’s first ever win as Liverpool manager; meanwhile, Mourinho wasn’t long for the job, with a fifth loss in the span of seven matches. The reverse fixture late in the season was mostly meaningless but rather typical for the season as a whole with a truly special goal from Hazard getting canceled out by a late, heart-breaking equalizer thanks to a Begović howler.
But, the good feeling is back, and while Antonio Conte no longer holds a perfect record, Chelsea remain unbeaten and sit second in the table. Let's keep this going!
Date / Time: Friday, September 16, 2016, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Martin Atkinson — Chelsea ended a six-match winless streak under Mr. Atkinson with a 2-1 win over Southampton back in February. Atkinson has a reputation for letting physical play go, as Arsenal fans and Nemanja Matic (vs. Burnley) will no doubt tell you. This will be the sixth time he takes charge of a clash of Blues and Reds — Chelsea have lost just once, the Community Shield way back in 2006.
Forecast: Clear and mild
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports 4 / Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky GO (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Chelsea TV, LFCTV (int’l radio)
Chelsea team news: Chelsea captain John Terry will miss the game due to an ankle injury picked up last weekend. His injury will provide David Luiz the opportunity to make his 144th appearance for Chelsea, his first in two years, and his first since returning to the Bridge on Transfer Deadline Day from Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Kurt Zouma is still recovering from a torn ACL picked up in February. It takes a long time to heal from these nasty injuries, but there seems to be optimism around the club that the big kid could be back in action sometime in the next month or so.
Other than the return of David Luiz, there are no other injury-related changes set to be made to the Chelsea starting eleven. Although with Cesc Fàbregas giving Conte selection headaches and Marcos Alonso ready to play if needed, we could see a few changes happening in either the substitution patterns or for the upcoming League Cup tie on Tuesday.
Liverpool team news: Over the summer transfer window, Liverpool brought in several key additions to their first-team squad. Per tradition, they added one name from Southampton in Sadio Mané — the Senegalese winger proving to be a great fit for Jürgen Klopp's tactical scheme so far. Other acquisitions include centre backs Joël Matip and Ragnar Klavan, former Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, and a goalkeeper to replace Simon Mignolet. Unfortunately for them, Loris Karius picked up an injury in pre-season and has only just returned to full fitness.
Amidst a barrage of compliments to Antonio Conte, Diego Costa and Chelsea in general, Klopp confirmed that Croatian defender Dejan Lovren will return after missing their game against Leicester City last weekend. One major absence from the line-up will be versatile midfielder Emre Can, who’s still recovering from his exertions and various knocks in pre-season.
Their last result was a resounding 4-1 win over the reigning Premier League champions, in a match that showed why N'Golo Kanté was so vital to the Foxes in their winning campaign. Luckily, he's one of us now!
Previously: Eden Hazard's best goal of last season.