A place in the FA Cup quarter-finals will be on the line when Chelsea play hosts to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in a fifth round tie on Tuesday.
The FA Cup fifth round is underway, with Arsenal becoming the first of the eight quarter-finalists. The most eye-catching of the fixtures in the latest stage will be played at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, when Chelsea welcome Liverpool, with both sides hoping to return to winning ways.
Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest in their opening FA Cup encounter before reaching the fifth round by beating Hull City 2-1. However, their recent run of form is quite concerning to say the least, with the Blues winning just one of their last five games.
Liverpool, on the other hand, needed a fourth round replay to beat Shrewsbury Town and reach the latest stage, having eased past Everton in their first FA Cup tie this season. The Reds, though, like Chelsea, have not been playing too well lately and suffered their first Premier League defeat of the campaign this past weekend, as Watford thrashed Jurgen Klopp & co. 3-0 last Saturday.
Chelsea and Liverpool have already locked horns twice this season, once in the UEFA Super Cup and once in the Premier League, with the Merseyside giants winning each of those games. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the FA Cup clash.
Team News & Tactics
The injury woes are just not easing up for Frank Lampard, who has to contend with a fresh issue ahead of the visit of Liverpool for the FA Cup fifth round tie. On Tuesday, the Chelsea boss will be without as many as six first-team players.
Andreas Christensen is the latest player to be sidelined after picking up a knock last time out at Bournemouth. Christensen joins N’Golo Kante, Marco van Ginkel, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham on the treatment tables, leaving Lampard with very little room for error.
The Chelsea manager himself has hinted that he will not make many changes to his most recent team, although Kepa Arrizabalaga should get a chance to impress. Kepa has been relegated to the bench over the past month or so, with Willy Caballero starting each of the last six games.
One of the changes in defence will be forced due to Christensen’s absence, with Kurt Zouma likely to come in. Lampard, though, should retain the 3-4-2-1 formation despite the poor results in the last two games. Zouma should, therefore, have Fikayo Tomori and Cesar Azpilicueta for company in the back three.
Up ahead in midfield, the entire four-man unit should be retained, with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic being the two central midfielders, while Reece James and Marcos Alonso will continue as the two wing-backs, with Alonso, in particular, impressing in recent games.
Ross Barkley has impressed in the two FA Cup games for Chelsea this season and should return in the final third, with Mason Mount starting alongside him. Olivier Giroud, though, could be given a breather after starting the last three games, with Michy Batshuayi getting a rare start.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Barkley; Batshuayi
Unlike his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Jurgen Klopp has been handed a double boost ahead of the trip to the English capital for the FA Cup contest. Against Chelsea on Tuesday, the Liverpool manager will be bereft of just four first-team players.
The likes of Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Naby Keita (hip) and Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) are still out injured. However, the good news is that James Milner and Joe Gomez have recovered from their respective issues and should be drafted in the starting lineup against Chelsea.
In Henderson’s absence, James Milner will don the captain’s armband for Liverpool. While Milner could start as the left-back, it is likely that he will be deployed in the midfield against Chelsea, with Andrew Robertson continuing in backline.
Milner should have Adam Lallana and the impressive Curtis Jones for company in the middle of the park, with Lallana sitting at the base of the three-man unit, while Jones will take up more advanced positions on the pitch.
At the back, there ought to be three changes, with Robertson the only player keeping his place. Joe Gomez will start at the heart of the Liverpool defence, with Joel Matip expected to be his partner. In the right-back slot, talented youngster Neco Williams should get a chance, while Adrian will take his place between the sticks, with Alisson Becker being rested.
Meanwhile, Harvey Elliott has not travelled to London to take on Chelsea, with the teenage prodigy a part of Liverpool’s Under-19 squad that will face Benfica in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday. Mohamed Salah should, therefore, keep his place on the right flank, with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino coming in for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Neco Williams, Gomez, Matip, Robertson; Milner, Lallana, Jones; Salah, Minamino, Origi
- This is the first FA Cup meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea since the 2012 final, which the Blues won 2-1. Chelsea have won six of their 10 FA Cup meetings with Liverpool, with this the first such meeting between the sides at Stamford Bridge since a 4-2 win for the West London outfit in January 1997, en route to winning the trophy.
- In all competitions, Chelsea have won just one of their last six home games against Liverpool (D2 L3), losing 1-2 earlier this season in the Premier League.
- Liverpool have led for only 34 minutes in four matches since returning from their winter break.
- Chelsea have lost only one of their last 12 FA Cup ties (W8 D3), with that solitary defeat coming at this exact stage last season, at the hands of Manchester United.
- Liverpool have won just one of their last six FA Cup away matches (D2 L3). The Reds, though, have scored in each of their last 15 FA Cup games on the road since a 1-0 loss at Manchester United in 2011.
Player to Watch
2019-20 has been a difficult season for Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard started the campaign on a strong note and even impressed in defeat to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup. However, the last few months have been dreadful for Kepa, who has gone on to lose his place in the team after a string of poor performances.
Likely to get a chance in the FA Cup now, this is Kepa’s chance to prove to Frank Lampard that he still has a lot to offer. With Liverpool likely to field a stronger team than they have all season in the FA Cup, a solid performance in goal might just help Kepa resurrect his Chelsea career. If he fails to turn up again, then that might be it for him at the West London club.
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool (Chelsea to win on penalties)
This is a game between two sides that are not carrying any sort of form heading into the match. Having said that, Chelsea have looked slightly better in front of goal than Liverpool have lately. Add to it, the fact that a number of fringe players will be playing, means that the scales are tipped in the Blues’ favour ever so marginally.
Neither team will be especially solid at the back, meaning chances should flow through, with Chelsea taking the lead. However, with the first-team players coming off the bench, Liverpool could hit back, with the game going to penalties.
Here, Kepa Arrizabalaga ought to rise to the occasion, handing Chelsea the decisive win to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, with Liverpool suffering a third defeat in four games.