Wednesday may have been an elimination game, but we all know it was a preliminary bout played out by well-rotated sides. The undercard to Saturday’s Main Event.
This time, Premier League points are on the line, potentially even a return to the top of the table for Chelsea (depending on what Manchester City do at home against Brighton). The Carabao Cup is all well and good, but the league is what pays the bills.
Wednesday’s match was riveting, back-and-forth and could have been won by either side. Chelsea’s win was only the second time Liverpool had lost at home in 18 months in all competitions. The odds of an away defeat are more likely, but not by much. They know how to handle a possession-based team, as seen by their three consecutive wins (and counting), with nine goals scored against Manchester City.
That’s on their side of the ledger. On ours? Eden Hazard.
Date / Time: Saturday, 29th September 2018; 17:30 BST, 12:30pm EDT; 10:00pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Referee: Andre Marriner — this time for real (midweek the referee turned out to be Kevin Friend). Marriner’s a fairly lenient referee, averaging just under three cards per match, which could play into foul-happy high pressing aims for either team (but especially Liverpool, judging by midweek).
Forecast: Partly cloudy and windy, 15°C (60°F), winds at 25 kph (16 mph). Good thing we keep the ball on the floor.
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK), NBCSN, Telemundo (USA), Star Sports Select HD 1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK), NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA), Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: Lots of question marks that Sarri wasn’t able (or willing?) to answer at Friday’s press conference. Pedro (shoulder), Rudiger (groin) and Loftus-Cheek (mystery ailment) all participated in at least a portion of training. Christensen is healthy (although maybe psychologically scarred by a dismal night at Anfield).
Todays training news— CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) September 28, 2018
Christensen, Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek and Pedro was all involved in first team training today. They will all be assessed tomorrow before the game #CFC
Assuming full fitness, we know what the lineup will look like, including at center forward where can can only assume that Giroud has displaced Morata for the time being.
Liverpool team news: Like Sarri, Klopp will rotate back to his usual first-choice lineup, except for maybe Virgil van Dijk, who will be a game-time decision. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum have been declared fit.
Klopp has reiterated that he and his team have learned from Wednesday night’s defeat and will be ready from the start of the match to deal with Sarri-ball.
“For both teams, it will not be an easy game and both teams know that. But the best preparation for the Saturday game is the Wednesday game because you can never know more about an opponent than in the match you play against them. Of course, there’ll be a few different players on the pitch for Chelsea, but we try to use our information from Wednesday to do it better. We learned a lot in the game...”
-Jürgen Klopp; source: Liverpool FC
Just as Chelsea have had surprising success at Anfield in recent season, Liverpool have won 5 of their last 10 Premier League visit to the Bridge, losing just 3.
View from the enemy: The Liverpool Offside
Previously: As the two English teams who have played against each other the most often in the 21st century, and in a wide variety of competitions with untold amounts of drama, there is plenty to choose from. Then again, all I really want to do is post that goal from Eden Hazard again. But instead, let’s call back another pleasant memory: last May’s 1-0 win at the Bridge that — very briefly — gave us dreams of still making the top four. Oliver Giroud scored the game’s only goal, heading in a Victor Moses cross.