Chelsea will look to reduce the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a victory on Sunday, when they host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are currently fifth on the table with 66 points to their name. Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday means that Chelsea have the opportunity to reduce the gap between themselves and fourth place to only three points when they welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte insisted that this was a good opportunity to reduce the six-point gap between themselves and Liverpool, who have played a game more and that if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive, victory is essential.
He said, ‘This could be a good opportunity, but in the last three games, if we want to keep the hope alive we have to win, and as we know very well Liverpool are a good team,” before going on to add, “It won’t be easy but if we want to keep hope alive we must get three points.”
The Chelsea boss had no new injuries to report for before this match, so only David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are expected to be sidelined for this tie and the Blues are expected to start with the same 3-5-2 formation that stood them in good stead against Swansea City last week.
Thibaut Courtois is almost certain to start in goal, while Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are expected to make up the back-three, meaning Andreas Christensen will have to suffice with a place on the bench once again.
Marcos Alonso, who has served his three-match suspension, is expected to replace Emerson Palmieri in the starting lineup at left wing-back, with Victor Moses likely to be deployed on the opposing flank.
N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas should start in central midfield once again, with the Frenchman, in particular, starting to impress a little. The Spaniard is likely to start in the centre so that he can get further upfront, with Kante and Bakayoko providing defensive support.
Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud are expected to start upfront, with Hazard taking up a free role, meaning Alvaro Morata will be starting on the bench once again, alongside Willian and Pedro, who should both be impact substitutes.