There was little to choose from up-front for Rafael Benitez, with Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin both out injured, so it’s little surprise to see the Liverpool boss choose Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch as his front pairing. He could have perhaps tried Ryan Babel there, but instead he’s using the Dutchman out wide from the off.
At least it looks that way – but with Lucas, Mascherano and Gerrard also selected, it remains to be seen if Babel will start on the left or the right.
Many of Rafa’s players have been away on international duties this week, and there’s no sign of Sami Hyypia in the 16. Instead Finnan and Riise play at full-back, allowing Carragher to return to his favoured central-defence position, alongside new boy Martin Skrtel.
Rafa’s actually chosen Mikel San Jose as his substitute defender, such are the shortages. The teenager isn’t 19 until May, and was signed last summer from Athletic Bilbao shortly after helping the Spanish under-19 side to UEFA glory.
Also on the bench are sub goalie Charles Itandje and three normally wide players in Benayoun, Pennant and Kewell.
Chelsea: Cech, Bellett, Alex, Carvalho, A Cole, Ballack, Makelele, Lampard, Wright-Phillips, Anelka, J Cole
Subs: Cudicini, Ben-Haim, Mikel Obi, Malouda, Pizarro
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Skrtel, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Kuyt, Crouch.
Subs: Itandje, San Jose, Benayoun, Pennant, Kewell.
Referee: Mike Riley (Leeds)