For the team, Tuesday’s win over Qarabag was hugely important given the result secured our place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, and for Willian it was a night of significance on a more personal note.
Having been named in the starting line-up by Antonio Conte, Willian became the fourth member of the current squad, along with Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard, to reach 200 appearances for the club.
Impressive statistics aside, it was also a memorable night on the pitch for the Brazilian as he scored two superb goals, as well as winning both of our penalties, in a 4-0 victory.
‘Yes, of course, it’s a big honour for me to make 200 appearances for Chelsea, a big club,’ he responds, when asked if he feels a sense of pride in reaching the 200-game mark for the Blues.
‘I’m really happy about that. It’s gone quickly. Already I’ve been here for four years and I have many great memories. I’ve won two Premier League titles and one League Cup, and now I hope to play more games and win more trophies.
‘I’m happy because the whole team played well against Qarabag, not just me. It was a very important game, we did our job and I scored two goals, so I hope I can continue to play in that way.’
Over the course of his 200 games for the club there have been many highlights, and asked to select a couple, his standout goal and performance, Willian pauses for a few seconds before providing an answer.
‘In terms of goals, I can tell you,’ he says. Maybe my first Premier League game, against Norwich, that was a very good goal. The free-kick against Southampton in 2015, my goal away at Crystal Palace the same season, there are quite a few I could mention.
‘With performances, it’s difficult to say. I remember one game against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League when I played very well and scored a late free-kick [pictured below] to win us the game, but it’s better for other people to say.’
Willian will be hopeful of carrying his good form into today’s Premier League game away at Liverpool, a ground on which we have enjoyed some good results in recent years, with the Blues unbeaten at Anfield since 2012.
The 29-year-old scored a memorable goal in the 2-0 victory which dented Liverpool’s title hopes in 2014, and having never been on the losing side there, it’s a stadium which holds nice memories for him.
‘Yes, of course, I enjoy playing there,’ he says. ‘It’s a difficult ground to go to and there is always a big atmosphere there.
‘We know it’s going to be a hard game against Liverpool but I’ve never lost there, which is good, and hopefully we can get another good result.’
Chelsea supporters attending today’s game are advised they will not be allowed to enter through the turnstiles with bottles with tops on; they will be able to enter with plastic bottles providing the top is removed.
Turnstiles will open two hours before kick-off, at 15,30, and visiting supporters will access through turnstiles N, O and P on Anfield Road.
Electronic tablets and cameras are allowed in the stadium, however large professional cameras and equipment will not be permitted (for example 500mm lens cameras and tripods).
There are no facilities at Anfield to store luggage.