Liverpool V Chelsea – Sunday 27th April, 2:05PM. Sky Sports 1
It didn’t seem plausible in August, but Liverpool are just three wins short of a first league title in 24 years. Anfield will be absolutely rocking on Sunday.
This is the final test for Brendan Rodgers and his players; if they come through it unscathed then the title is theirs.
However, a match against Jose Mourinho’s men is never going to be easy. Additionally, Liverpool have to battle a new found weight of expectation after being labelled the overwhelming favourites in this year’s Premier League title-race.
Can the Reds cross the finish line in first? We’ll have a much clearer view after Sunday. Game on!
Blues To Rest Stars Ahead Of Champions League Semi-Final
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has already vowed to rest a number of players, choosing to prioritise Wednesday’s crucial Champions League semi-final second-leg. However, Liverpool fans should be warned against thinking that means the Londoners are ready to surrender.
Whilst winning the title is improbable, it isn’t impossible and Chelsea will continue to fight until the last ball is kicked. Even if they do rest their brightest stars, Mourinho will still have a plethora of talented players to choose from ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
More telling, though, could be the lack of preparation. Not having to deal with the complications of European football has certainly helped Liverpool’s cause this season and, once again, Brendan Rodgers men have had a full week to prepare for this game, whilst rivals Chelsea were playing in Spain as recently as Tuesday.
The promise of a first league title certainly hands Liverpool the greater desire for victory in this one, the mental state of Chelsea could be the key either way.
Reds Cannot Afford To Slack Now
After so much hard graft and effort, it would be absolutely criminal for Liverpool to throw away their chance of a first Premier League title.
The Reds have been the best, and most consistent, team in the division this term and are the deserved favourites for the title. Top scorer Luis Suarez has made light work of winning the Golden Boot, becoming only the seventh man to reach the 30-goal milestone in a single Premier League campaign, whilst the likes of Sturridge, Sterling and Gerrard have all played influential roles throughout the season.
Liverpool have scored more goals than any other Premier League team and are racing towards the league crown on the back of 11 straight victories. Making it a perfect dozen against Chelsea would only further validate their status as kings of England.
Perhaps most impressive about Rodgers’ team is there ability to switch things up. Over the course fo the campaign, Liverpool have deployed various formations and it has been incredible to see the Northern Irishman’s tactical genius in full swing.
Make no mistake, Chelsea still have the potential to cause an upset. The players that are selected could be fighting for a place in Wedneday’s Champions League line-up and, beyond that, potentially their individual futures at the club. Mourinho’s side also boast the best record in matches against the other top teams.
Nevetheless, the incentive for Liveprool to win this one couldn’t be greater and Rodgers men will be hopeful of making it twelve on the spin.
It should be a fascinating contest.
Liverpool V Chelsea Betting
Bet 365 make league leading Liverpool the 4/6 favourites, whilst Chelsea are 4/1. The draw can be backed at 3/1.
Whilst the incentive for Liverpool as a team is immense, the personal motivation of Daniel Sturridge is arguably a notch more.
The England man has thrived at Anfield and boasts more league goals than Chelsea’s three strikers combined. However, it was less than two years ago that the Stamford Bridge club deemed him surplus to requirements and the 24-year-old will feel he has unfinished business with his former employer.
Scoring a crucial goal to help Liverpool claim the title would surely put those demons to bed.
As already mentioned within this article, one of Liverpool’s greatest strengths is the ability to serve up a tactical surprise. As an opposing manager, you never quite know what Rodgers is thinking and that has unquestionably helped the Reds throughout the campaign.
Liverpool have scored 34 first half goals at Anfield, conceding just four. The Reds will be looking to keep Chelsea quiet on Sunday by coming out of the blocks fast. Establishing an early lead could just secure the title.