After an utterly humiliating defeat at the hands of League One side Bradford City on Saturday, and the consequent shock exit from the FA Cup, Chelsea host Liverpool in the second leg of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
Chelsea have a fit squad available for the match against Liverpool. Jose Mourinho will recall most of his first team players to the starting line-up. Fabregas, Hazard, Matic, Ivanovic, Terry, Willian, Costa will be starting, after being left out of the starting eleven against Bradford City. Courtois will be back between the sticks after his magnificent performance in the first leg. Cesar Azpilicueta may return to his usual left back position, which means Filipe Luis might be dropped. Costa will lead the line flanked by Hazard and Willian, while Oscar will be behind him. Matic and Fabregas will play in central midfield as usual, while Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic and Azpilicueta will be the back four.
Liverpool have a fairly fit squad to choose from. Flanagan is a long term absentee, but Daniel Sturridge is nearing a return, although the match against Chelsea will most probably come too soon for the striker. Other than that, the same team that faced Chelsea at Anfield is expected to be fielded by Brendan Rodgers. Raheem Sterling, who pulled off a man of the match performance in the first leg, will again start as the lone striker, flanked by Coutinho and Markovic, with Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson and Moreno behind them. Skrtel, Sakho and Can will play as the back three.
On Saturday, Chelsea suffered unexpected capitulation at the hands of Bradford City, a team that is 49 places below them in the league pyramid. This is the first time Chelsea have lost to a side from a lower league under Jose Mourinho. This is also the first time Chelsea have lost at home this season. With the FA Cup out of reach, the Capital One Cup presents Chelsea the first chance of silverware this season. Thus, the defeat against Bradford makes winning the trophy much more important now. With Manchester City the next team to visit Stamford Bridge on the 31st, Jose Mourinho will be reminding his players of the cruel wake up call they received at the hands of Bradford, and will ask his players to bounce back with sincerity, if they are to win titles this year.
After a thoroughly entertaining second half against Chelsea in the first leg of the Capital Once Cup semi-final, which remained a 1-1 draw only due to the brilliance of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Liverpool played out a drab 0-0 draw against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield. After their exit from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup and Capital One Cup are their only realistic chance of silverware this season. Thus Liverpool will be going all out at a time when Chelsea seem to be in a state of shock. Liverpool will also be wary of a backlash by Chelsea after their disgraceful FA Cup exit.
The last time these two teams met in the league cup in November 2011, Liverpool won 2-0. Liverpool have not won any of the last 6 matches against Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has won 10 of his 20 encounters with Liverpool.
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea 21/01/2015
LAST 5 MEETINGS
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea 21/01/2015 (League Cup)
Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea 08/11/2014 (BPL)
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea 27/04/2014 (BPL)
Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool 29/12/2013 (BPL)
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea 21/04/2013 (BPL)
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS
Chelsea: Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Costa.
Liverpool: Mignolet (GK), Can. Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno, Lucas, Henderson, Gerrard (C), Markovic, Coutinho, Sterling.
Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
TIME: 1945 GMT / 0115 IST
VENUE: Stamford Bridge
REFEREE: Michael Oliver
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt