The gap is six. They have two left. We have three. We win and it’s down to three points. Then we need them to lose or draw their last match (at Anfield against Brighton) while we win out — and that’s our path to Europe.
Yeah. But hey, we’re still alive! Mathematically, anyway, if not practically. Still, there’s reason to fight — maybe more for us than for them, we’re hoping. They’re coming off of a roller-coaster second leg in their Champions League tie against Roma, in which they went through to the final but conceded four goals. With luck they used up a lot of emotional energy on Wednesday and won’t be their usual selves on Sunday. They’re carrying a fair number of injuries and Jurgen Klopp may be limited in the amount of rotation he can do. In Friday’s pre-match press conference he was highly resistant to the idea that he’d rest anyone.
It’s hard to predict which Chelsea team will show up. We’ve had a bad habit of coming out flat this season, most notably down at St Mary’s three weeks ago. But we showed a lot more life in the first half against Swansea and that’s the Chelsea we hope show up. Conte’s team selection will be interesting, especially at two positions. Does he give Giroud another start up front? And even though reliable Marcos Alonso is back from suspension, will Conte prefer Emerson’s better pace to defend against Mo Salah?
Big match, big stakes and big questions to be answered. Can’t wait!
Date / Time: Sunday, May 6th, 2018, 16:30 BST; 11:30am EDT; 9:00pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor — this is the man who sent off Victor Moses in last year’s FA Cup final against Arsenal for diving — Moses’ second yellow of the match. Taylor has handled one previous Chelsea-Liverpool clash, a 2-1 win for us at Anfield in 2014. Overall we’ve won 11 of the 18 matches he’s officiated.
Forecast: Ideal weather for fans, might be a tad warm for players. Temperature should be around 22°C (71°F), winds 9 km/h (6 mph). The chance of rain showers is 1%. That, of course, means it will pour.
On TV: Sky Sports (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: SKY GO (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Liverpool team news: Adam Lallana is back in training but it sounds like he won’t be available. Joel Matip, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out. Joe Gomez could be back after an ankle injury.
Chelsea team news: Marcos Alonso is back from his three-match suspension. David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are out; everyone else trained this week.
Last time: We played them to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in late November. Conte said we refused to be beaten and rallied after going a goal down, with Willian scoring in the 85th minute on a chip cross/shot. Klopp whined about playing against eight defenders. Waaa.