Liverpool vs Chelsea – Key Player Battles
Woah! That was quite a performance against the Swans, wasn’t it? More so when everybody had started to doubt this team, we came back strong to give one of our best performance of the season. Now, 5 points clear at the top; this is the chance for Jose Mourinho’s men to extend the gap even further and wrap up the league as soon as possible.
But before that we have got ourselves the first leg of Capital One Cup semi-final against Liverpool tomorrow at Anfield.
Capital One Cup might be the lowest in the priorities of Jose Mourinho but if this side wants to go down in history as one of the best in the business then we have got to win everything we can, which brings us to Capital One Cup.
With 4 games in the span of 10 days, it’s very unlikely that Mourinho will go out with his strongest squad against Rodgers but given that it’s an away fixture, don’t expect a flurry of changes either. Liverpool have managed a good run of form in the past few matches which make this battle at Anfield even more interesting to look forward to. So, let’s take a look at some key player battles that might influence the outcome of this game:
LAZAR MARKOVIC vs FILIPE LUIS
Since joining Liverpool in the summer transfer window, Lazar Markovic has failed to deliver the kind of performances that was expected of the Serbian. Buried in the pecking order, Markovic was anonymous in the first half of the season but there is something about these talented Serbians, isn’t it? Sooner or later they do come good; be it Matic, Ivanovic or in this case Markovic.
The 20-year-old, for the past few games, has been a constant thorn for the opposition fullback on the right side of the pitch. His performances against Sunderland last week where he bullied the ex-Chelsea fullback Patrick Van Aanholt was one of his best in the red shirt. The winger’s main strength lies in his lightning fast pace and Filipe Luis has to be extra careful at the Left Back spot to marginalise the Serbian’s danger.
In the absence of Azpilicueta, due to injury, Luis haven’t put a foot wrong at the LB spot. Although, the Brazilian had to be content with just a limited number of starts this season, but the fullback is more than capable and experienced enough to counter the threat posed by Markovic at Left Wing. However, it would be interesting to see how Luis copes with Lazar’s speed on the wings. Look out for this battle.
MARTIN SKRTEL vs DIEGO COSTA
The battle between Diego Costa and Martin Skrtel when the two sides met in November last year was quite fun to watch. After going a goal down, Chelsea scored a brace to win the game but mostly it was some heated battle between the two beasts that made the game fun and interesting for the fans all over the world.
Martin Skrtel, as we all know, is a decent defender who has graduated in dwelling into stupid battles and heated exchanges. Diego Costa, on the other hand, has a Phd in this area. The Striker loves to get provoked and it motivates him to perform even better. With 17 goals already in the Premier League so far this season, the Striker is in red hot form for the Blues.
Martin Skrtel, for all his decency, might be in for a nightmarish time when he comes up against Diego Costa in this kind of form. Whoever emerges the winner in this battle, we would know tomorrow, but one thing is guaranteed, this one is going to be the most fun battle to watch out for at Anfield tomorrow!
STEVEN GERRARD vs NEMANJA MATIC
A lot has been said and talked about Stevie G in the past few days. Jose Mourinho has come out and defended the star player and has urged the Chelsea fans to stop with the “slippery jokes” so, am not going to mock the Liverpool Captain for that although, I would certainly love to!
Brendan Rodgers rested the midfielder in the game against Aston Villa which means the Englishman is set to start against us when we line-up at Anfield tomorrow. Gerrard certainly doesn’t have the legs to play the box to box role anymore, but the Liverpool star has still got an eye for the goal. Played in a more advanced position these days to decrease the defensive duties, his passing and vision are still impeccable and Nemanja Matic will have to job to stop the midfielder from getting into dangerous positions when he starts against us tomorrow.
If left unmarked, Gerrard can still punish any defence as he has done continuously for the past decade or so, which makes his battle with Matic the one to look out for.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt