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Conte underlines importance of Morata for Chelsea ahead of Liverpool clash

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Qarabag FK v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Antonio Conte spent a decent portion of his pre-match press conference talking about the importance of finding balance in the team, not just in term of tactics but also with regards to squad rotation and keeping players fresh.

“Every single player is very important for me. We have 16 senior players and every single one is important because we have to play every three days and I need to have rotation and I need every player in the best physical condition to be prepared to play. In the last game, I had a rotation and maybe we have to change something for the game against Liverpool because it is impossible to play the same players every three days and then to keep the same intensity of play.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

He brought up the example of Álvaro Morata, who’s being used as a feature center forward for the first time in his career and thus being asked to play more games (and more higher pressure games, crucially) in fewer days than ever before.

"We have to make the best decision game-by-game, to find the best solutions for the team and to give the right rest to my players.”

"Last time, [Alvaro] Morata played three games in a row and, after 20 minutes against Manchester City, he was injured. I have to pay attention in all situations. Sometimes I take a risk but it's my job and I like to do this."

-Antonio Conte; source: Goal

These quotes have now been twisted into sensationalist headlines about Conte possibly dropping Morata for this game (and/or Cesc Fàbregas), but there’s very little chance the head coach would willingly sabotage himself and the team in such a way. Morata, after all, is most crucial to our plans and tactics ... not to mention, he was rested (for most of the game anyway) on Wednesday.

“Morata is an important player for us. To try to do what I want is very important, and in our system of play the striker is very important for us and for this reason, he is always involved in our chances and sometimes he scored and sometimes he makes an assist for his team-mate.

“To play in this league for the striker is not simple because the league is very tough and also it is very different compared with the previous leagues that Morata has played in Italy and in Spain, but he has shown a great commitment and to be a clever person to adapt himself to this league.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Morata has started life in the Premier League better (or at least more productively) than any Chelsea player before him, contributing directly to a dozen goals (8g+4a) in his first 11 games. We’ll probably need him to add to that tally to bring back any points from Anfield today.