Eden Hazard’s moment of genius was enough for Chelsea to knock Liverpool out of the League Cup in the third round of the competition earlier this week. It was Liverpool’s first loss in any competition this season and also just their second defeat at Anfield, in over a year. However, the Reds remain unbeaten in the league and would travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend, to try and keep their 100% record running.
Maurizio Sarri’s system was eye-catching at times at Anfield, and a full-strength Chelsea side could cause serious trouble to Jurgen Klopp’s men. The Blues dropped a couple of points against West Ham United last weekend in the league and would look to bounce back and beat Liverpool twice in four days on Saturday. Sarri is expected to start his strongest XI and here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie:
Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Pedro are all doubtful for this game. This leaves Sarri with just two fit centre-backs ahead of this game against Liverpool. Marko van Ginkel remains the only other injury issue ahead of this game for the hosts.
Expected lineup (4-3-3):
Willy Caballero had a tough time at Anfield but should be replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga, who would undoubtedly be tested this weekend. It might be the biggest test of his Premier League career. He will have Gary Cahill and David Luiz helping him out at the back. Both Rudiger and Christensen are out injured so the ageing duo would get their chance this weekend. They might struggle to keep up with the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in this game.
Cesar Azpilicueta could be used in a centre-back role, but he should retain his place at right-back, adding more mettle to the backline. Marcos Alonso should replace Emerson Palmieri at left-back. He needs to curb his attacking instincts against this dangerous Liverpool attack.
Jorginho was rested for the League Cup game but should be back in the no.6 role this weekend. He needs to be on his toes and add cover to the backline, which could be continuously exposed by the visitors. N Golo Kante looked at home when he came off the bench to play in the deepest of the midfield roles, earlier this week. However, he will play in a slightly advanced position, on the right side of Jorginho.
Mateo Kovacic did not have an effective game in the middle of the park earlier this week but is expected to complete Chelsea’s midfield for this game against Liverpool.
Olivier Giroud has been the preferred striker for Sarri, and he should replace Alvaro Morata in the first team. Willian should start on the right flank, given the Pedro is suffering from a knock. He will add some pace and will look to test Andy Robertson on Liverpool’s left side.
Eden Hazard will be the danger man for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp might have his players mark Hazard closely, to avoid a repeat of the League Cup defeat.
Here is how they might line up:
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