LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 27, 2014: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho and Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool v Chelsea: Team News & Opposition Preview: No Sturridge for Reds

Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool make a return to Premier League action on Saturday as the Reds “welcome” Jose Mourinho’s table-topping Chelsea to Anfield. Ben Twelves looks ahead to the clash.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 27, 2014: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho and Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday’s fixture at Anfield – a seventh in just three weeks for the Reds – suddenly has even more significance attached following Rodgers’ decision to heavily rotate his team in Madrid in midweek.

Liverpool battled well against Carlo Ancelotti’s Galactico’s, but there’s now an expectation for Rodgers and his team to grab a positive result against the Stamford Bridge outfit, with a potential defeat sure to crank the pressure up on the Northern Irishman.

To prevent that from happening, the Liverpool boss will have to break his Chelsea duck on Saturday that currently sees him yet to record victory over his former employers, with last season’s painful 2-0 loss courtesy of goals from Demba Ba and Willian throwing Liverpool’s title challenge off course.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 27, 2014: Chelsea's Demba Ba' scores the first goal against Liverpool during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Rodgers’ side struggle for both performances and results, revenge could well be the motivation for his side at the weekend.


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Daniel Sturridge slowly edges nearer to a return but Saturday’s game against his former club will come too early for any kind of involvement once again and alongside the England striker, Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan and Suso all remain injured.

Rodgers has an interesting selection dilemma ahead of the game after Liverpool’s inexperienced XI produced a whole-hearted display in midweek, and the boss has a strong squad to choose from with first choice players available having been rested, and fringe players having taken their chance to stake a claim for more regular action with both hands.

Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva and Emre Can, who were excellent on the night in Madrid, will all be hoping that they are allowed to build on a promising performance and keep their places in the starting team for the game, and so too will Javier Manquillo, Lazar Markovic and Fabio Borini after all three performed solidly.

The Liverpool bench was the strongest it has been in years on Tuesday as it boasted – Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli – and those players will be hopeful that the Reds boss sticks to his plan of reintroducing them to the starting XI.



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 3, 2014: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho before the Premiership match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea arrive at Anfield off the back of recording a sloppy draw away to Maribor in Slovenia on Wednesday night but their strong opening to the league season sees them currently as the only unbeaten side in the Premier League.

Mourinho’s men so far this campaign have scored double the amount of goals the Reds have – 26 – thanks in no small part to £32million summer signing Diego Costa who is the Blues’ top scorer with nine goals and a large reason behind the 16 positive goal difference they currently boast.

The Stamford Bridge outfit are unbeaten in their last two visits to Anfield but the Blues have a less than impressive record on Merseyside – winning just 11 times in 77 visits, and the fixture historically is an eventful one with only one goalless draw in the last 28 meetings between the two sides.

The weekly ‘will-he-won’t-he’ be fit to play saga that surrounds Costa’s hamstring troubles before each game is set to be discussed once more in the build up to Saturday’s match, but the Blues frontman did feature in midweek for his side as he came on at half time.

While the Spanish-Brazilian looks set for battle against Liverpool’s back line, the visitors are set to be without back-up striker Loic Remy who’s missing with a groin injury , and John Obi Mikel is in a race against time to be fit for the trip to Merseyside as he struggles with a knee problem.

Mikel’s unavailability could see Mourinho name an unchanged midfield of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic who both played 90 minutes in their Champions League draw, but the Chelsea boss could recall midweek substitutes Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Oscar to provide fresh legs with Ramires also a possibility to come in.

Liverpool will be shown live for the third time in a week, with the match on BT Sport and kick-off from Anfield coming at 12:45 (UK).