After losing 2-1 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, Liverpool will travel to West London to face Chelsea on Sunday. The Reds, on top of the table before their loss to City, have slipped to fourth and will need to be at their best to beat The Blues, still undefeated at home in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will still be without injured midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard, striker Daniel Sturridge, full-backs Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan on Sunday. Victor Moses, on loan from Chelsea, is not eligible to face his parent club and will also not travel to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will have his full squad at his disposal with the exception of Brazilian midfielder Ramires, suspended after being booked on Boxing Day against Swansea.
Rodgers has already announced that he will take to London the same squad (with the exception of Moses) that lost to City on Thursday. The Liverpool boss will most likely use a 4-3-3 formation and field the same starting XI with the exception of Daniel Agger replacing Mamadou Sakho. Simon Mignolet will start again in goal despite his costly blunder on Wednesday. Martin Skrtel and Agger will be in central defense with Glenn Johnson on their right and Aly Cissokho on their left. Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson will form the midfield trio, like on Thursday. Luis Suarez will be the lone striker flanked by Phillipe Coutinho (left) and Raheem Sterling (right)
Mourinho has used his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation for every home game this season and it would be surprising to see the Portuguese manager make a change. Petr Cech will–as usual–be between the sticks as he has for every league game this season. Rested on Thursday against Swansea, Gary Cahill should be back to partner John Terry in central defense. Cesar Azpilicueta, who has gone ahead of Ashley Cole in the pecking order, should return at left-back after being rested against Swansea, while Branislav Ivanovic will be at right-back.
In the absence of Ramires, it’s John Obi Mikel that will partner Frank Lampard in central midfield. Eden Hazard, goalscorer against Swansea, will play his usual left-winger role and Oscar, on the bench against Arsenal last week, will be fielded in the No. 10 role. Andre Schurrle, Juan Mata and Willian are in competition for the right-winger position and it’s difficult to say at the moment who–between the German, the Spaniard and the Brazilian–will be handed the start. Fernando Torres will start upfront as he has for every big Premier League game this season.
Seriously weakened by injuries, Liverpool is visiting one of the toughest places in the Premier League. The Reds will try to end Jose Mourinho’s 69-game unbeaten home record in the Premier League to stay in the top four and avoid being overtaken by city rivals Everton.