As the season winds down for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool, there is still one match that they will be motivated to win, this weekend’s game against the hated Chelsea. Rodgers has never won against his mentor, Jose Mourinho, but he will be extremely motivated to prove to all of his doubters that he is in fact the right man to lead Liverpool back to the top. Chelsea have already wrapped up the league title, but Mourinho will still likely field a strong squad since the rivalry between the two clubs has picked up in recent matches.
This will be the toughest test for Simon Mignolet in a while, he will be facing the team that has scored the second most goals in the Premier League. He will have to be extra careful not to concede an early goal, if he does then that means Chelsea will begin to park the bus and prevent the Reds from getting back in it.
Emre Can will be exploited by a lighting quick counter attack, if he is not careful of the times that he decides to move forward. While he is a fantastic contributor on offense, he is not a natural defender and against the fantastic Chelsea attack, that could mean death.
Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren will have to hold strong during the first half where Chelsea will be looking for the all important first goal. Both defenders don’t have the speed to keep up with the Chelsea attackers so they will need to make sure they are not caught in an awkward position.
Glen Johnson has been the starter the past few weeks and he should get another this weekend. His experience is always useful in big games such as this but he could always be the one who makes the fatal mistake in any match he is in.
The midfield of Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Philippe Coutinho will be challenged, since they will be facing one of the Premier League’s best midfields. Henderson hasn’t been at his best in recent matches but his leadership will be needed this week. Allen will need to snuff out any Chelsea attacks since Henderson and Coutinho will be moving forward in search of a goal. Coutinho’s energy and creativity will be needed in order to find the chance to break the deadlock.
Jordon Ibe has continued to struggle since his return from injury, but he his excellent speed and fearlessness may be useful this weekend. He is willing to take anybody one-on-one and he could be the one to find a way to break through the Blues.
Raheem Sterling could be the best option for Rodgers against the strong Chelsea defense, since his speed could really pose a problem for John Terry and company. While he could be bullied by the bigger, more physical defenders, Sterling is actually surprisingly strong for his size.
Adam Lallana along with the speedier Ibe and Sterling, Rodgers should start the more cerebral Lallana. His willingness to contribute on defense will be essential since Coutinho will be starting in midfield. It will be interesting to see if Rodgers decides to play Steven Gerrard, he will be raring to go since he will want to make up for his fatal mistake in last season’s match.