Chelsea prepare to host high-flying Liverpool on Friday in a change due to the new TV deal which enables Sky Sports to telecast 12 Friday games over the course of the season. With the lucrative deals being offered to the clubs, they have had no issues falling in line with the new directive. This fixture will be the 2nd such fixture after Manchester United hosted Southampton on the 2nd weekend of the season at Old Trafford. Chelsea have had a fairly bright start to the season wherein they won their first 3 matches and found themselves neck to neck with the Manchester clubs. But it was evident from the performances that the team was lacking balance in attack and defence.
It was left to Diego Costa to salvage the maximum points in the opening couple of games before they strung together a well-rounded display in the 3-0 win over Burnley. But the Blues dropped their first points of the season against Swansea City after two errors from their defence which proved costly in the end. Conte had issues with the defence and after the draw at the Liberty Stadium, the need to buckle up at the back has become evident. Against Liverpool, the challenge will be tougher and the swashbuckling form the Reds are in, interesting scenes are expected to unfold at the Stamford Bridge on Friday.
HERE IS THE PREDICTED CHELSEA LINE-UP VS LIVERPOOL (4-1-4-1)
Thibaut Courtois will start in goal and will be eager to make up for his error on Sunday. With Terry expected to be out for quite a while, it will be interesting to see whether David Luiz is entrusted with the unenviable task of stopping the rampaging Red’s line-up. Conte has the option of moving Azpilicueta to the right-back and play Ivanovic and Cahill at centre-back with Marcos Alonso at left-back.
N’Golo Kante will be deployed once again in front of the defence and his unlimited tank of energy will be vital in dealing with the dynamic Liverpool set-up. Conte’s affinity towards Oscar and Matic will likely see the two of them to be deployed in front of Kante again. Cesc Fabregas has been a surprise omission thus far with neither Matic nor Oscar performing at such a level which can justify Cesc’s omission.
Eden Hazard and Willian have emerged as the preferred options for the wide roles and will look to exploit Liverpool’s nervy defence while Diego Costa will be back to what he does best. Ruffle feathers and score goals.
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