Preview: Reds at Chelsea

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Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend for the 1:30pm kick off against Chelsea, live on Sky Sports 1 for UK visitors. It is the twelth meeting between the two sides since managers Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho took over the Reds and Blues just over two years ago.

Those previous 11 meetings have seen the Londonders enjoy much the better results in the league, including 4-1 and 2-0 victories last season. While the Merseysiders have had the better of their southern rivals in Cup competitions, including defeats in the Champions League semi final, FA Cup semi final and more recently the Charity Shield last month.

Reds fans will be hoping their side can put their poor start to the season behind them to recreate the type of play which saw them get the better of Mourinho’s side with energetic, attacking football on previous occasions. Benitez has spoken in the past of exposing Chelsea by attacking them, rather than playing like-for-like and that could mean we will see the Spaniard opt to play with pace and width with Gonzales, Pennant, Bellamy and Crouch playing some part in the match.

Whether Benitez will stick with Gerrard playing right midfield, as he did in the derby disaster last week, or move him to the middle and drop the out-of-form Alonso, is yet to be seen. But one man who will surely start in the middle will be Momo Sissoko, an ever more important part of the Liverpool team who enjoyed a man of the match performance in Cardiff when the sides met last month.

Daniel Agger is expected to keep his place at the back and partner Jamie Carragher, as he did on Tuesday and in the Charity Shield. Up front Benitez may keep with the promising looking partnership between Kuyt and Bellamy, or Crouch could be brought back in for different effect.

Chelsea come into the match in good form and on the back of a 2-0 midweek Champions League win over Werder Bremen, the same night Liverpool drew 0-0 in Eindhoven.

Sunday see’s all four of the Premiership’s big clubs go head to head, with Man United facing Arsenal at 4pm.

A win for Liverpool at the Bridge would be their first since Bruno Cheyrou scored the only goal of the game under Gerard Houllier’s leadership back in 2003.

Squads:

Chelsea (from): Cech, Boulahrouz, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Bridge, A Cole, Geremi, Makelele, Essien, Lampard, Ballack, Mikel, Kalou, Wright-Phillips, Robben, Shevchenko, Drogba, Cudicini.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Finnan, Agger, Hyypia, Carragher, Aurelio, Pennant, Luis Garcia, Alonso, Sissoko, Gerrard, Zenden, Crouch, Kuyt, Bellamy, Fowler, Dudek, Gonzalez, Warnock.

Referee: Mike Riley

Last season: Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool, February 5th. Gallas and Crespo. Reina sent off.

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