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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL

TACTICAL BRIEF
After a thrilling victory in Europe, Chelsea aim for a return to winning ways in the League. Clive Walker, former Blues winger and architect of memorable triumphs over Liverpool in the past, plots the battleground...

Key battles
'We are finding it hard to shut the opposition out but Liverpool are struggling in front of goal, so I think if we score first, we win,' he says.

'Make no mistake, clean sheets are important to goalkeepers and defenders. Just as attacking players are measured in goals and assists, a clean sheet shows they're doing their job at the back very well, and it's the only thing they always get a pat on back for.

'We are all enjoying the open football - it's a joy to watch. But sometimes the players maybe stay too expansive when it might be better to seal things up and frustrate the other team a little.

'You can see the central midfield losing shape at times against better teams. John Mikel Obi was helped by Frank Lampard's experience. We need him and Ramires to stay really disciplined.

'The main threat from Liverpool is all too obvious. Andy Carroll has gone, Fabio Borini is injured, Steven Gerrard is no longer the regular goal threat he was, and so the burden is pretty much all on Luis Suárez.

'If we keep him quiet it will make life very difficult for Liverpool. John Terry seems likely to come back. He has the leadership we sometimes lack; we defend better with him playing.

'We will have to pay special attention to Joe Allen (pictured below left). He is their fulcrum and embodies Brendan Rodgers's style; he's the man he brought in to make Liverpool tick. They play everything through him, and more often than not he looks straight away to set Suárez up.

Allen and Ramires


'You have to stop Allen high up the park. He can be a danger because his passing is exceptional. I'm sure Robbie Di Matteo will have pointed out the importance of pressing the ball and keeping him under wraps.

'Mind you, Allen and Gerrard will have their hands full with our three attacking midfielders. Neither Juan Mata nor Eden Hazard had their best games in midweek, and you have to almost write-off much of a defensive contribution from them. Oscar is different. He is always aware of the opposition attacking threat and maybe he can sit deeper at certain times when we need it.

'Victor Moses has done terrifically in recent weeks. He's relishing any time he has on the pitch. He is still learning and benefiting from the players he's working with now.

'His goals have earned us four points in two games. But I don't yet see him as a main striker; maybe just behind. He's the type of guy whose power and willingness make things happen.

'If I was in his boots I'd be dying for the next game, chomping at the bit. That is the type of players you need throughout the season: coming in, in form and doing a job.

'Moses is another who is a little more aware of the need to help out his defenders. That can be useful against the better wingers in an opposition side.

'Liverpool have Raheem Sterling in that department. He's just been called up for England and like Moses he is young, very effective and quick.

'He can ghost past players and he can deliver - whether he can maintain that over a season we don't yet know. He plays a lot on the left side and checks back onto his right. We have to keep a good back line and be aware of his movement. But is he where their goals will come from this season?

'Chelsea don't have that problem. We have not far off double the goals they have - 22 versus 12 - and Torres will be happy he has hit the net for the first time in a little while.

'A striker doesn't worry how the ball ends up in the net, and that Shakhtar goal was his reward for chasing the ball down. It was also the fourth time he's opened the scoring for us this season, and as I said the first goal can be so important.

'He hasn't been getting much of a rub of the green. But after his goal on Wednesday you saw him smiling his way through the game - he's scored and he's still hungry, and waiting for the next opportunity. That has to be good for the team.'

Squad news
Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Frank Lampard (calf) are the two players missing for Chelsea.

Former Chelsea defender Glen Johnson could return for Liverpool following a hamstring injury. There is less chance goalkeeper Jose Reina could be back following his hamstring injury.


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL

CHELSEA STATS
The Blues are nine points better off after 10 games compared to the corresponding games last season.

Swansea was the seventh occasion we opened the scoring in a Barclays Premier League game this term and the first when we didn't go on to win the game.

The Blues have not kept a clean sheet for seven matches, five in the Premier League, although we are the top flight's second highest scorers.

We have won 18 of our 24 matches at Stamford Bridge in 2012. The two defeats were against Newcastle and Man Utd.

Last six results
Oct 20 Tottenham (a) W 4-2
Oct 23 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League a) L 1-2
Oct 28 Manchester United (h) L 2-3
Oct 31 Manchester United (League Cup h) W 5-4 aet
Nov 3 Swansea (a) D 1-1
Nov 7 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League h) W 3-2



Premier League scorers
Mata 4, Torres 4, Ivanovic 3, Lampard 3 (2 pens), Cahill 2, Hazard 2 (1 pen), Cole 1, Moses 1, Ramires 1, Sturridge 1. Total 22.


League games since
A home win: 1
A home draw: 9
A home defeat: 0

 

Chelsea's next three games
Sat 3 Nov Swansea City away 3pm
Tue 20 Nov Juventus (Champions League) away 7.45pm
Sun 25 Nov Manchester City home 4pm

 

LIVERPOOL STATS
Formed
1892

Major trophies
18 League championships, last in 1990
7 FA Cups, last in 2006
8 League Cups, last in 2012
15 FA Charity/Community Shields (5 shared), last in 2006
5 European Cups, last in 2005
3 UEFA Cups, last in 2001
3 UEFA Super Cups, last in 2005


Their last top-flight win was in the old First Division over 22 years ago when a points total of 79 was enough to lift the trophy in 1990.

Liverpool have only won two of their opening 10 league games, away at Norwich and home to Reading.

They are unbeaten in five Premier League games since losing to Man Utd at Anfield in September.

Liverpool have failed to win any of the four games when their opponents opened the scoring.

They have only lost to West Brom on their travels this term, drawn at Sunderland and Everton and beat Norwich at Carrow Road.

Captain Steven Gerrard made his 600th appearance for the Reds at Anfield last week against Newcastle.


Manager Brendan Rodgers
Days in charge: 163
Played 20
Won 8
Drawn 6
Lost 6

Liverpool's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos
2002/03 64 5th
2003/04 60 4th
2004/05 58 5th
2005/06 82 3rd
2006/07 68 3rd
2007/08 76 4th
2008/09 86 2nd
2009/10 63 7th
2010/11 58 6th
2011/12 52 8th

 

Last six results
Oct 20 Reading (h) W 1-0
Oct 25 Anzhi Makhachkala (Europa League h) W 1-0
Oct 28 Everton (a) D 2-2
Oct 31 Swansea (League Cup h) L 1-3
Nov 4 Newcastle (h) D 1-1
Nov 8 Anzhi Makhachkala (Europa League a) L 0-1


Premier League scorers
Suárez 7, own goals 2, Gerrard 1, Şahin 1, Skrtel 1, Sterling 1. Total 13.

 

PMB

 

League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 3


LIVERPOOL'S MAJOR SUMMER MOVES
Ins
Joe Allen (Swansea, £15m), Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen, £3m), Fabio Borini (Roma, £10m), Nuri Şahin (Real Madrid, loan), Samed Yesil (Bayern Munich, £1m)
Outs Charlie Adam (Stoke, £4m), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina, £6m), Fabio Aurelio (Gremio, free), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff, free), Andy Carroll (West Ham, loan), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahçe, £1m), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell's Old Boys, free), Jay Spearing (Bolton, loan)


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Howard Webb's last Chelsea match was the 6-1 demolition of QPR at Stamford Bridge in April.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.
David Luiz and Ramires are one yellow card away from a one-match domestic suspension. They both are currently on four bookings.

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