You know that this game has a bit more meaning than earlier rounds when neither Frank Lampard nor Jürgen Klopp are willing to address lineup selections in any great detail beforehand.
That’s especially a change of tact from the Liverpool boss, who literally couldn’t care less about the (replay in the) previous round, when he sent the youth team and the youth coaches to take care of business against
Strawberry Shrewsbury Town.
Liverpool have shockingly lost more games in their last three in all competitions than Chelsea, and while Klopp maintains that the blip will not affect his thinking for tonight, he’s not expected to take it easy on us. Meanwhile, Lampard’s already made it quite clear how much he wants this victory and a place in the quarterfinal draw.
This could get dramatic / exciting / frustrating / disappointing.
Date / Time: Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 19.45 GMT; 2.45pm EST; 1:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (on-pitch); Andre Marriner (VAR)
Forecast: Cool and calm
On TV: BBC One (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — We (WAGNH) have an affiliate link for ESPN+ if you’re in the US and would like to sign up for the best value in sports streaming (or, if you’re like me, sign up for the Disney-Hulu-ESPN+ bundle).
Chelsea team news: With just 2 wins in our last 8 in all competitions, Chelsea’s season isn’t showing any real signs of improvement or even consistency (they may be related). Ten days ago, a rousing victory over Spurs gave us the latest chance at a turning point. Squandered, yet again.
So we’re back to where we were, holding out hope that we can put it together for more than a half or a quarter-hour at a time sometime soon.
It’s certainly not helping that we continue to have to operate without some of our best, most impactful players, such as N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and (probably) Tammy Abraham as well. Andreas Christensen has also been ruled out, just for good measure.
To help numbers, youth standouts Tino Anjorin and Armando Broja have been pulled up alongside usual suspect Billy Gilmour, though it would be surprising to see any of the three starting given Lampard’s pre-match comments. (Gilmour probably most likely, maybe alongside Jorginho?)
Liverpool team news: Even if he had wanted to, Klopp wouldn’t be able to send Neil Critchley in his place this time. The Liverpool U23 head coach joined Blackpool yesterday as their new head coach. And since Klopp thus has to be in the dugout, presumably he will drag most of the first-team along with him to the Bridge.
That will not include midfielders Naby Keïta or Jordan Hendersen, both injured, but will probably include Joe Gomez instead of poor old Dejan Lovren, who went up against Troy Deeney over the weekend looking for a fight and got sumarily embarrassed. Xherdan Shaqiri remains out injured as well with no return date at the moment, while Nathaniel Clyne has been out all season with an ACL tear.
Liverpool have practically wrapped up the league already, despite the weekend’s 3-0 shocker against Watford. So they can concentrate on the cups, both domestically and in Europe, wherein they have to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League (at home, next week).
View from the enemy: The Liverpool Offside
Previously: Chelsea got a bit unlucky both times we’ve faced the Premier League champions-elect (and defending European Champions), which doesn’t really get us anywhere on the scoreboard, but is something to cling to just in case this does devolve into a classic cup tie. We almost beat the Reds in the Super Cup at the start of the season, in fact.