Saturday’s clash against Chelsea at Anfield – a seventh game in just three weeks for the Reds- will be even more significant following Brendan Rodgers’ decision to heavily rotate the team in Madrid midweek.
Liverpool battled well against Carlo Ancelotti’s men and Rodgers will be hoping to see more of the same spirit on the pitch as he looks to break his Chelsea duck on Saturday that sees him yet to register a win over his former employers. Last season’s painful 2-0 loss in this fixture was a massive blow to Liverpool’s title challenge and revenge could well be the motivation for them today.
“This game offers us a great chance at home to get a result and can kick-start the season for us.I don’t believe there is any more pressure on the game because of what’s happened this week,” Rodgers told the ECHO.
“It doesn’t raise the stakes for Saturday, not at all. I just think we want to get a result to justify how hard the players have been working.”
“Liverpool versus Chelsea is always a big game and it is a big game for a number of reasons. We need to get back into that top four and we need a big performance which will hopefully give us confidence. This could be a great tonic for us at the end of a real busy period which, make no mistake, has not been ideal in terms of performance.”
“But we are still in their fighting while nowhere near our best. Win, lose or draw in the Bernabeu, Chelsea would be a game we really wanted to win.”
“I certainly don’t feel under any more pressure personally. The only pressure is what we put on ourselves to get victories and that’s there every game.”
Daniel Sturridge made the trip to Madrid midweek but unfortunately the star striker is not ready to play yet.”He’s out on the field today with the rehab team,” Rodgers said. “He’s moving very well. But he’s probably a little bit of time away yet.”
Rodgers has an interesting selection dilemma ahead of the game after Liverpool’s whole-hearted display in midweek and he has a strong squad to choose from with the first choice players properly rested and the fringe players having taken their chance to make a case for more regular action. Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva and Emre Can will be hoping that they are allowed to build on their promising displays, and so too will Javier Manquillo and Fabio Borini after the duo performed solidly in midweek.He believes the decision to stay an extra night in Spain has helped preparations ahead of the Chelsea game.
“It was just about breaking the cycle,” he said. “It’s been a really busy period over the past three weeks and sometimes it can be monotonous. When you get back in the early hours of the morning, players don’t rest so well.”
“By staying over, the players had a good rest and then we had a good session over there.Players who played recovered well and the others got their work in. We had a nice lunch together in Madrid and then flew back.Everyone is now refreshed and ready for the weekend.”
Probable Line-up (4-4-3): Simon Mignolet; Javier Manquillo, Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure, Alberto Moreno; Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can; Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli, Philippe Coutinho