It’s them Blues again

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LIVERPOOL V CHELSEA MATCH PREVIEW
FA Barclays Premiership Matchday 24
Saturday, 20 Jan 2007
12:45pm Kick Off at Anfield

Preview by Matt Ladson and Brian Irvine

Saturday’s football kicks off with yet another meeting with our southern and often most played rivals, Chelsea, this time at Anfield and with eight points between the Reds in third and the Blues in second. A home win will cut that gap to just five.

Last time we met at Stamford Bridge Liverpool narrowly lost out to a Dider Drogba volleyed strike and were unlucky not to score themselves with Dirk Kuyt hitting the crossbar and Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso shooting narrowly wide.

This match really couldn’t have came at better time for Liverpool, with the possible absence of Chelsea captain John Terry and their recent dip in form with four draws out of the last six games and the team seeming leaking goals which was something of a rarity earlier in the season. Futher more, off-field problems have been on the agenda at the Blues, with Abramovich and Mourinho apparently not seeing eye-to-eye. However, Chelsea should be boosted by the return of Petr Cech in goal.

On the Liverpool side of things, with the loss of Luis Garcia and Mark Gonzalez to injury we may well see a few players who wouldn’t necessarily get a run-out in such a big game, namely Brazilian, Fabio Aruellio who could start on the left hand side.

And, with Liverpool unbeaten at Anfield in the league and only conceding 1 goal in the past 10 league fixtures, there will be an added incentive to boost the teams moral after defeats against Arsenal in the FA and Carling Cups, the weekends win away to Watford may have fixed some of the damage but a first league win for Rafa Benitez against Chelsea would bring the squad and fans back to full confidence.

However, the Reds last home league defeat was in this fixture last season in a 4-1 reverse (October 2nd 2005).

A Liverpool win would be their first this season against one of the big three after away defeats to Chelsea, Arsenal and United already.

Form Guide

Liverpool:
26th Dec v Blackburn Rovers (A) LOST 0-1
30th Dec v Tottenham Hotspur (A) WON 1-0
1st Jan v Bolton (H) WON 3-0
6th Jan v Arsenal (H) LOST 1-3 (FA CUP)
9th Jan v Arsenal (H) LOST 3-6 (CARLING CUP)
13th Jan v Watford (A) WON 3-0

Chelsea:
26th Dec v Reading (H) DREW 2-2
30th Dec v Fulham (H) DREW 2-2
2nd Jan v Aston Villa (A) DREW 0-0
6th Jan v Macclesfield Town (H) WON 6-1
10th Jan v Wycombe Wanderers (A) DREW 1-1
13th Jan v Wigan Athletic (H) WON 4-0

Team News

Injuries/Doubtfuls/Suspensions

Liverpool:
M Gonzalez (bruised shin)
L Garcia (torn cruciate)
M Sissoko (dislocated shoulder)
H Kewell (septic arthritis)

Chelsea:
A Shevchenko (hamstring)
K Boulahrouz (knee)
J Terry (back surgery)
J Cole (fractured foot)
P Cech (fractured skull)
C Makelele (Suspended)

Possible Line-Ups:

Liverpool:
Reina, Finnan, Agger, Carragher, Riise; Pennant, Alonso, Gerrard, Aurelio; Bellamy, Kuyt

Chelsea:
Cech, Geremi, Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bridge, Ballack, Essien Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Robben

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