José Mourinho has said that the 2014-15 Premier League champions will remain professional for their final three games of the season.
The Portuguese manager has an excellent record versus Liverpool in the Premier League and will no doubt be wanting to continue that versus a bitter set of fans.
Chelsea ended Liverpool’s Premier League title bid last season and this Sunday could end their hopes of UEFA Champions League football for next season.
Mourinho gave his side four days off after winning the Premier League title last Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how his side perform after the additional rest.
Diego Costa remains sidelined but Loïc Rémy returned to the substitute bench last weekend to give the manager an alternative option to Didier Drogba.
Oscar is done for the season, whilst fellow Brazilian Ramires missed last weekend’s game through illness.
Mamadou Sakho continues to be absent with a hamstring injury. Without the French defender, Rodgers has switched from three to four at the back. Young full-back Jon Flanagan is also out, as he has been all season.
Strikers Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli are also missing for the visitors, leaving the manager likely to play either Raheem Sterling or Rickie Lambert up front versus the newly-crowned champions.
Will José Mourinho blood some youngsters? He hasn’t done so yet this season and we think he’ll be keen to beat Liverpool, so will go with his strongest XI on Sunday. Didier Drogba appears to be the preferred striker these days. Kurt Zouma can come in for Ramires to play the holding midfield role as Cesc Fàbregas plays the number 10.
Dejan Lovren has started the last four for Liverpool, keeping two clean sheets during that run. Steven Gerrard could make his final appearance at Stamford Bridge, although we wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Allen starts ahead of him. Up front, Adam Lallana started in last weekend’s win over Queens Park Rangers, with Raheem Sterling playing the central role. We expect Rodgers to stick with the same three in London.
Eden Hazard vs Emre Can
The PFA Player of the Year should have success versus the Liverpool right-back when Eden Hazard takes on Emre Can. The German defender has looked weak at times when top dribblers have run at him and the Belgian is certainly one of the best at that. Can has also been a little careless in his fouls in and around his own penalty area this season whilst Hazard has won the most free kicks in the Premier League. The Chelsea star will also drift into the middle of the pitch which will cause problems for the centre-back pairing.
Raheem Sterling vs Gary Cahill
In the previous meetings between these two this season Raheem Sterling’s pace has been a problem for the Chelsea centre-back pairing. His runs in behind have caught them out and with Philippe Coutinho, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson all capable of a good through ball, don’t be surprised if the England international sees a couple of good opportunities in this match.
Cesc Fàbregas vs Lucas
One of Chelsea’s big summer signings won the Premier League title for the first time last weekend, a day before his 28th birthday. The Spaniard is playing the number 10 role more often these days – can he give another dominant performance in the final three games. Liverpool have good protection of their back four in Lucas so this should be an exciting match up and a key one in determining the outcome.
4 – Liverpool have taken just four points from their seven games against the current top four this season (W1, D1, L5).
47 – Liverpool’s tally of 49 goals this season is 47 less than they had at this stage last season.
80% – José Mourinho has won eight of his 10 Premier League matches versus Liverpool (D1, L1).