Chelsea v Liverpool: Five Key Battles

Stamford Bridge

Chelsea host Liverpool this weekend in one of the biggest Premier League fixtures of the season.

Here are five key battles to keep an eye on. 

John Terry v Luis Suarez

John Terry should return to the Chelsea line up after serving a ban dished out by the FA in relation to the Anton Ferdinand affair, although his place in the starting line up is not guaranteed. Terry would add much needed assurance to the Chelsea back line and the rest of the team will look to him to use every bit of experience to keep tabs on Luis Suarez. Suarez will try and get under the skin of the Chelsea skipper from the start. Whoever keeps their composure and stays calk will help their side win this match.

Ryan Bertrand v Raheem Sterling

Ryan Bertrand is in for the injured Ashley Cole, and will be tested by one of the best young wingers in the Premier League. Sterling only knows how to attack so Bertrand  needs to be careful that he doesn’t leave too much space in behind when Sterling is playing down the right. The big match atmosphere will be an important test for both youngsters and Bertrand need to stay switched on because Sterling will switch between the two wings and will be looking to catch out the Chelsea full back with some calculated runs.

John Obi Mikel v Steven Gerrard

Mikel has to simply sit in front of the Chelsea back four and look for every forward run that Steven Gerrard makes. Gerrard will be under a lot of pressure to get forward and support Suarez in attack. If Mikel stops this then he effectively cuts off the supply to Suarez which makes him easier to handle. Mikel does all of the ugly things well and will not be afraid to get stuck in which could result in a booking if he doesn’t time his challenges well.

Eden Hazard v Andre Wisdom

It’s very unlikely that Glen Johnson will recover in time for this match which means Andre Wisdom will continue in the Liverpool defence. Wisdom will have to deal with the way Hazard drifts out to the left hand side to create extra width before cutting back in when Ashley Cole overlaps. Wisdom has to stay tight to Hazard while not sacrificing his position down the right hand side of the Liverpool defence. If he stays in good positions and puts his tackles in well then it could force Chelsea to play narrower.

Fernando Torres v Daniel Agger

Torres is not a naïve striker so he will drift onto Daniel Agger who he will fancy his chances against as opposed to Martin Skrtel. Agger will still be up for the physical challenge of taking on Torres but this will allow Torres to hold the ball up much more easily as he brings others into the play. Expect to see Torres drifting to the right and if he takes Agger with him, there will be a massive hole in the middle of the Chelsea defence.

image: © geetarchurchy

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