The big game this weekend in England see’s last season second and third placed team face off as Chelsea travel to Merseyside to face Liverpool.
The Londoners, currently top of the pile in England, scuppered Liverpool’s chances of a first Premier League title last season when they took advantage of a slip by Steven Gerrard to score. Since then the Blues have stepped up a level while the Reds have regressed.
Both sides were in European action midweek with each facing tricky away games. A much-changed Liverpool side, with 7 changes from the team that lost 1-0 on their last league outing against Newcastle, went down 1-0 at Newcastle while a missed penalty from Eden Hazard saw Chelsea miss out on a win over Maribor as they drew 1-1.
Brendan Rodgers is likely to bring back his big guns for the weekend clash with Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli all set to start. The battling performances of Emre Can, Kolo Toure, so effective at keeping in-form Ronaldo goal-less in Madrid and Fabio Borini could hand Rodgers a headache.
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The trio were the most impressive Liverpool players on show midweek and could have forced their way into contention for the visit of league leaders.
It remains to be seen whether Daniel Sturridge is available this weekend. The striker travelled with the squad to Madrid but did not feature with the initial rumours being that he will make his comeback following the International break, by which time Liverpool could all but be out of the title race.
The Reds have lost four times already this season and a fifth defeat of the season would see them drop 15 points off the leaders with the league still to reach the half-way point.
Chelsea for their part have been very impressive. The club have won 8 and drawn two of their opening 10 games, however recent performances have been somewhat sluggish suggesting that their heavy list of fixtures is catching up with them. A 1-1 draw with Manchester United was following up by two 2-1 wins over Shrewsbury and QPR before the midweek shared spoils with Maribor.
Diego Costa played 45 minutes midweek and should start on Saturday while Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thibaut Courtois should all return after being rested on Wednesday.