IT won’t fairly be the Premier League title ding-dong of years passed by however there may be a lot nonetheless driving on Liverpool versus Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday.
Fixtures between the 2 after they had been managed by Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho had been legendary as they contested home and European honours.
A few of the significance has been misplaced with the Reds slipping out of title competition however with Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte now patrolling the touchline, leisure is assured.
Chelsea are already 9 factors behind leaders Manchester Metropolis in third whereas Liverpool, 4 factors additional again, face a battle to make sure they’ll be in subsequent season’s Champions League.
The sport kicks off at 5.30pm and shall be proven stay on BT Sport 1. Our mates at Soccer Whispers present the last word preview of the weekend’s huge recreation.
Key battle: Philippe Coutinho v N’Golo Kante
Barcelona switch goal Coutinho has put all speak of a big-money transfer to the Catalan membership apart to star as soon as extra for Liverpool this season.
The Brazilian continues to enjoy midfield however is given extra licence than these alongside him to roam and affect the sport additional ahead.
Coutinho has already bagged 5 objectives and 4 assists for the Merseysiders this time period and is effectively on his technique to matching final season’s return of 13 and 7 respectively.
Stopping him shall be a frightening job however in Kante Chelsea have the right man for the job.
The diminutive Frenchman, who’s the reigning PFA Participant of the Yr, shall be tasked with shackling the previous Inter Milan attacker.
Kante has averaged Three.Four tackles per recreation this season and solely Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi (Four.1) and Everton’s Idrissa Gueye (Three.eight) have posted extra.
Potential match winners: Mohamed Salah and Eden Hazard
One other harmful part within the Reds’ assault is winger-cum-forward Salah.
The £39m summer season signing has been in electrical kind since his transfer from Roma and is the Premier League’s high scorer with 9 objectives.
Saturday’s assembly at Anfield sees the 25-year-old come up in opposition to his former membership for the primary time within the Premier League.
After being drummed out of Chelsea inside 18 months by Jose Mourinho, Salah shall be eager to placed on a present at Anfield.
For the Blues, Hazard shall be their most necessary participant with the ball.
The Belgian, who scored in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Qarabag, has three objectives and an help to his title within the Premier League this time period.
Nobody at Stamford Bridge is trying extra dribbles per recreation (Three.Four) than Hazard while his 1.9 key passes per recreation put him second solely to Cesc Fabregas (Three.2) for the West Londoners.
He additionally wins extra fouls per recreation (2.Three) than any of his teammates.
Klopp is well-known for the high-intensity, high-pressing recreation he preaches though Liverpool have modified the best way they press in latest weeks.
The German must suppose lengthy and arduous concerning the composition of his midfield with Coutinho the one participant assured a begin.
Alongside him will probably be two from Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Juventus switch goal Emre Can.
Chelsea boss Conte has modified his trademark Three-Four-Three in latest video games and in Tuesday’s Four-Zero Champions League win over Qarabag he had Actual Madrid switch goal Hazard main the road.
The Belgian gained’t carry out that function at Anfield with Alvaro Morata – given a substitute’s temporary in Baku – anticipated to return up entrance.
Liverpool have issues over Joel Matip (thigh) which means Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan ought to begin at centre-back collectively.
The sport could come too quickly for long-term absentee Adam Lallana (thigh) whereas Nathaniel Clyne (again) and Adam Bogdan (ACL) are each out.
Chelsea, in the meantime, are solely sweating on the health of wing-back Victor Moses (hamstring).
If the Nigerian worldwide – who missed Wednesday’s Champions League conflict – is dominated out Davide Zappacosta will begin in his place.
Michy Batshuayi (ankle) and Charlie Musonda (knee) are anticipated to overlook out.
Coutinho now has 31 assists for Liverpool within the Premier League. Solely Steven Gerrard (92) and Steve McManaman (58) have extra for the Reds.
Of their final eight video games at Anfield, Liverpool have conceded simply as soon as, protecting seven clear sheets.
Chelsea’s demolition of West Brom final day trip was Conte’s 50th Premier League recreation on the helm.
The champions have earned 118 factors beneath him because the begin of final season – greater than another top-flight facet.
Moreover, the Blues have gained ten of their final 12 video games on the highway within the Premier League, shedding the opposite two.