With two straight draws, one against Chelsea and the other against Bolton in the FA Cup, last week was not great for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool. The team begins this week with the second leg of their League Cup tie with Chelsea at the fortress that is Stamford Bridge.
However, they should be encouraged by the fact that star player, Daniel Sturridge has returned to training after five months out with injury. Although he is unlikely to play against the Blues, having him back on the bench should boost the confidence of his Liverpool teammates.
Simon Mignolet could not save the penalty, but was otherwise unbothered by the Chelsea attack. He will have to expect to be put under tremendous pressure on Tuesday since Chelsea will be going for the win and they have scored 24 of their 51 Premier League goals at Stamford Bridge.
The three-man defense, Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, were able to effectively shut down Diego Costa for most of the match although it did seem like the Chelsea midfield behind him were not interested in giving him great service.
Once again, the defense will need to work with the midfield in order to prevent Chelsea from getting any clear shot at the goal and most important, Skrtel will need to try his best to mark Costa
Lazar Markovic was unable to get forward since he was mostly pinned back in the last match to help Can deal with Eden Hazard. Expect him to be pinned back even more in the upcoming match since Chelsea would be going for the win and Hazard is the team’s most effective offensive player.
Jordan Henderson provided the assist to the lone Liverpool goal and was very effective in maintaining possession of the ball. Meanwhile, Lucas Leiva, as usual, led the Reds in tackles and he was able to keep Cesc Fabregas under wraps.
Both should attempt to do more of the same in the next match but they should also expect a more offensive-minded Chelsea midfield with Oscar replacing John Obi Mikel, to provide more creativity and passing.
Alberto Moreno struggled to get into the flow of the last match since Willian hung back to keep him under wraps and Moreno also struggled to deal with the physicality of Branislav Ivanovic.
He is the player who is most likely to be replaced in the lineup since Adam Lallana is healthy and Rodgers would want the England international to join the starting 11.
Steven Gerrard was rested against Bolton, most likely to make sure he is completely healthy for this upcoming match. He almost scored, most likely, the game winner in the last match if it wasn’t for the goalpost. The captain is always extremely motivated to play against Chelsea and he still leads the Reds with 9 goals this season.
Raheem Sterling scored a brilliant goal to tie the game last week and his speed makes him such a difficult player to cover for the slower Chelsea defenders. Philippe Coutinho is always an extremely active player who gets a lot of touches through out the match, however, he needs to gain more strength in order to not be muscled off the ball. His creativity will be essential in order to break down the strong defense of the opponents.
Via – Lineup Builder