PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL - PART TWO
Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton bring their previews of the nine games in December to a close…
WE HAVE HISTORY
On 25 December 1907 in the First Division Chelsea and Liverpool met at Anfield for the first time, on heavy ground but in fine weather with a bumper 25,000 present.
As was so often the case at the time, David Calderhead had his centre-forward 'Gatling Gun' George Hilsdon to thank for much of the success that day. The no.9had bagged a hat-trick and still wound up on the losing side in an unlucky 3-4 defeat at home to Bury four days earlier.
Christmas Day definitely brought good cheer, though, and Hilsdon's two goals helped produce a 4-1 away win. His first arrived after just 10 minutes, and strike partner Jimmy Windridge added a second soon after. Hewitt responded for the Reds to make it 2-1 in the visitors' favour at the break.
Chelsea weathered an early storm in the second half but then took control, with Scots midfielder George Henderson making it three (his only goal for the Pensioners).
As was his habit, Hilsdon had the last word, the man whose likeness stills stands in weathervane form above the East Stand at Stamford Bridge completing the 4-1 rout.
The freshly promoted team had endured a mixed bag of results in the first top-flight season, but this festive frolic still stands as the Pensioners' biggest margin of victory at Liverpool
This weekend Chelsea are looking to end Liverpool's six-match unbeaten run in our Premier League meetings (four defeats, two draws). The Reds have achieved the double against Chelsea in three of the last five seasons.
We have won just two of the last 13 Premier League games against Liverpool. The Reds have won seven and four have been draws.
Our last league win at Stamford Bridge was in October 2009 when second-half goals from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda secured the points for the Blues.
Our last league win against Liverpool was at Anfield (2-0) in May 2010 on our way to the Premier League title.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
2003/04 - Liverpool won 1-0
2004/05 - Chelsea won 1-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 2-0
2006/07 - Chelsea won 1-0
2007/08 - Drew 0-0
2008/09 - Liverpool won 1-0
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Liverpool won 1-0
2011/12 - Liverpool won 2-1
2012/13 - Drew 1-1
Other match last season
21 April 2013 Barclays Premier League
Sturridge 51 Oscar 25
Suarez 90+6 Hazard 57 pen
Chelsea v Liverpool in all competitions
Games played 166
Chelsea wins 57
Liverpool wins 74
Head to head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 70
Chelsea wins 37
Liverpool wins 18
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-1 Liverpool - 28/08/1937
Chelsea 2-5 Liverpool - 16/12/1989
Chelsea beat Liverpool in the Premier League: 1,337
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,144
Liverpool won the league: 8,639
Chelsea's man in form is Eden Hazard, the match-winner again on Thursday at the Bridge. He should provide a stern test for Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson and sooner or later an opponent will finally be pulled up for fouling him in the box.
While the second-half goalscoring opportunity Johnson found at the Etihad in midweek restated his attacking threat, the former Blue also showed some of the defensive frailty that has marked his career.
Ramires's fifth yellow card of the season against Swansea means he can play no part in today's game. His energy and raiding behind the opposition's rearguard sets him apart from team-mates and will be missed this weekend.
Jose Mourinho has used the Brazilian as a right midfielder in a 4-3-3 over the last two matches, with John Mikel Obi as the defensive anchor, albeit with instructions to press higher up the field at home to Swansea than was the case at Arsenal.
Fernando Torres looks likely to feature against his former side, having remained on the bench against Swansea three days ago. The Spaniard will be as eager as ever to break his duck against his former club after six reunions without a goal.
In Steven Gerrard's absence through injury, Jordan Henderson (pictured below) has become the Liverpool fulcrum in the final third, spraying the ball around their buzzing frontmen from left midfield. Joe Allen has been less influential.
Let us hope that like the majority of us Luis Suarez had enough to eat over Christmas - he was banned for 10 matches after biting Branislav Ivanovic in April.
Chelsea's Serbia defender will relish the resumption of battle with the devious Uruguayan, of whose 19 goals this season, just three have come against sides from the top half (Everton and Tottenham).
Crucial to Suarez's success is the relationship with Philippe Coutinho, the insightful attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. The two exposed Man City's high line early on with several clever passes or flicks into the space behind it, making the most of winger Raheem Sterling's exceptional pace.
Liverpool's huge win at White Hart Lane was founded on their dominance of full-backs Naughton and Walker through Jordan Henderson and Sterling, and the inability of Dawson to cope with pace when asked to maintain a high line.
The Reds are very fluid positionally, full of pace and movement, except the centre-backs and two deep-lying midfielders. They sometimes look uneasy defending set-plays and Martin Skrtel will not get away every week with shirt tugging.
Against the better sides Liverpool's success in finding their own shirt at crosses and corners is quite low and those marginal factors can decide big matches. In this game last season they were caught offside six times, a high number at this level.