Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is set to recall a number of regulars to the starting lineup, when Liverpool come visiting on Saturday.
In one of the most highly anticipated clashes coming our way this weekend, Chelsea will face off against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will be meeting the Reds for the second time in the space of three days, having beaten them 2-1 on Wednesday night in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Anfield. And manager Maurizio Sarri will be hoping that his side will be able to achieve a similar outcome at home this weekend and move ahead of Liverpool in the table.
Having fielded a much-changed side for the cup tie during the week, the Italian gaffer is expected to recall a number of his first-team regulars for Liverpool’s visit on Saturday.
One of those who will be returning to the fold after sitting out on Wednesday will be goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. His compatriot Marcos Alonso should also come back into the starting XI at left-back, at the expense of Emerson Palmieri, who was on the scoresheet in the cup game. Cesar Azpilicueta will hold on to his spot on the opposite side of the backline.
The manager confirmed ahead of the game that Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have returned to training and are in contention to feature on Saturday.
Speaking in his pre-match presser, Sarri said,”Yesterday he [Rudiger] had the training in the second part with the team. We have to see the last training. I think there is the possibility to recover. Christensen was not injured, he had only a stomach ache during the match.”
With Rudiger returning to fitness, he should start at the heart of the defence for the West London outfit. His regular partner at the back, David Luiz, is expected to slot in alongside him, meaning Gary Cahill and Christensen drop out of the playing XI.
There will be a couple of changes in the middle of the park as well for Chelsea, with Cesc Fabregas, who started his first game after an injury layoff during the week, set to make way for midfield mainstay Jorginho. World Cup winner N’Golo Kante will also walk into the starting lineup for the home side, in place of Ross Barkley, while Mateo Kovacic is expected to hold on to his spot.
Sarri also revealed that Spanish attacker Pedro was back in training after his horror clash against PAOK in the Blues’ UEFA Europa League assignment last weekend.
The former Napoli boss told reporters,”Pedro yesterday had the last part of the training with the team, like Rudiger and like Loftus-Cheek. We need to see the last training before we decide, but they are almost ready so the situation is better than three or four days ago.”
However, the Italian is likely to stick with Willian on the right-side of his attacking trident, instead of rushing back the Spaniard into the thick of things. Eden Hazard, who scored a sensational goal to fire Chelsea to a victory on Wednesday, will walk back into the starting lineup out on the left-flank.
Spearheading the attack for the Blues will be Frenchman Olivier Giroud, with Alvaro Morata expected to make way after another forgettable display in the cup tie.