Barclays Premier League – Sunday October 26th 2008
Chelsea v Liverpool
Rafa Benitez has picked what looks like being a 4-2-3-1 formation for today’s visit to Stamford Bridge. No surprise ahead of the game to see articles from the London press stirring up trouble for Liverpool, but it’s getting to be like water off a duck’s back now.
That doesn’t mean this is going to be an easy game. Liverpool are in much better form than they were in last season’s league fixture here, but so are Chelsea. The winners of today’s game would make top spot their own, a draw would see Chelsea stay top on goal difference.
Arbeloa and Aurelio are the full-backs today, with Agger getting back into the swing of things with his third start in a row, alongside Jamie Carragher. Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano in midfield means captain Steven Gerrard should get the more advanced role he enjoyed for the tail end of last season, with Riera and Kuyt likely to be taking the other two spots either side of Gerrard. With no Fernando Torres the striker is Robbie Keane, looking to add a league goal to the two goals he’s scored in successive Champions League games.
Former Red Nicolas Anelka is in Chelsea’s starting line-up, as is Florent Malouda, who nearly became a Liverpool player prior to last season. The fact he didn’t played a big part in the non-financial troubles at Anfield that are still far from fully resolved. John Terry is said to have been close to becoming a Red when Chelsea had financial problems, just before Roman Abramovich came in to their rescue, and he captains the side today.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Deco, Kalou, Malouda, Anelka
Subs: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Di Santo, Sinclair, Ferreira, Alex, Belletti
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt, Gerrard, Reira, Keane
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Benayoun, Pennant, Babel, Lucas
Referee: Howard Webb
Kick-off: 1.30pm GMT