Liverpool F.C. vs Chelsea preview: Red fort prepares to host the Blues

Written by Reuters | London | Updated: Apr 26 2014, 19:45pm hrs
LiverpoolLiverpool F.C. captain Steven Gerard and striker Luis Suarez will look to improve the Red?s poor record against Chelsea. (Reuters)
Liverpool F.C. can eliminate one of their two rivals from the Premier League title race by beating Chelsea on Sunday and the way the dice is rolling for them they might even have one hand on the trophy by the end of the weekend. If Brendan Rodgerss side overcome second-placed Chelsea at Anfield and notch a 12th consecutive league win it would knock Jose Mourinhos side out of the reckoning and should Manchester City then fail to beat Crystal Palace a little later a first title for 24 years would be almost assured.

If is a notoriously fickle word in the often unpredictable Premier League, but Liverpool F.C. have built up a seemingly inexhaustible head of steam and with Chelsea having one eye on next weeks Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid the omens look good for the Anfield club. What is more, City are up against a Palace side on a five-game winning spin that has lifted the threat of relegation a run that includes wins over Chelsea and Everton.

With Chelsea having drawn 0-0 in Madrid on Tuesday but suffering injuries to keeper Petr Cech and skipper John Terry, Mourinho has made no secret of the fact that the Champions League has now taken precedence over the domestic title scrap. While the Portuguese, known for his mind games, has not actually conceded the title, he has said he wants to send out a weakened side at Anfield on Sunday despite knowing victory there would put them within touching distance of Liverpool F.C. with two games remaining.

I know what I would do, but Im not the club. I have to speak with the club, Mourinho said after the Atletico draw. I would play with the players that are not going to play Wednesday.

Having been deprived of striker Samuel Etoo and Eden Hazard for the first leg in Madrid, Mourinho would be loathed to risk them against Liverpool F.C. and with Cech and Terry sidelined his starting line-up will likely have an unfamiliar look on Sunday.

Whatever distractions Chelsea have, however, Liverpool will be acutely aware that they have a poor record against the west London club with Mourinho in charge. The Portuguese has won six and lost just once in eight league meetings with Liverpool.

Rodgers has steadfastly refused to get caught up in title talk but should the best case scenario occur on Sunday his side would be nine points ahead of City who would only have three games left to play, compared to Liverpools two. The Northern Irishmans calm assurance, aligned with skipper Steven Gerrards influential displays at the heart of midfield and Luis Suarezs goals have underpinned Liverpools march.

Results have also gone their way with bottom club Sunderland taking points off Chelsea and Man City, but keeper Simon Mignolet stressed it also showed the dangers that lurk at every turn.

Three points was all that mattered at Norwich (in their last game), Mignolet told Liverpools website. Before the game the manager told us that Chelseas defeat (against Sunderland) was a warning sign that it showed what can happen in the Premier League against any team.

Weve seen with the points Chelsea and City have dropped recently that every single game in this league is tough. There are no signs of nerves. There is no point making ourselves nervous.

After playing Chelsea, Liverpool visit Palace and finish at home to Newcastle United. Citys game in hand next week is away to Champions League chasing Everton before home matches against lowly Aston Villa and West Ham United. While City battle to keep alive their title hopes, outgoing Manchester United will aim to end a tumultuous week with victory over relegation-haunted Norwich in what will be Ryan Giggss debut as manager.

shackles are off

The evergreen Welshman, who could even name himself in the side, was put in charge for the final four games of the season following Tuesdays sacking of David Moyes. Norwich, who are one place above the drop zone, could probably not have picked a worse time to visit Old Trafford where a backlash is expected now the shackles are off in the wake of Moyess troubled 10-month reign.