Maurizio Sarri previewed our trip to Liverpool by cautioning that every game between now and the end of the season will be difficult but stressed we can achieve our targets if we perform at our maximum across the final six weeks of the campaign.
The boss was speaking in the aftermath of our hard-fought Europa League win in Prague, and he turned attention towards our third game in seven days at Anfield on Sunday. The Reds have not lost at home since our Carabao Cup victory in September, with their unbeaten Premier League home form stretching back two years and 37 matches.
‘To face Liverpool is going to be difficult for us but every game now is difficult,’ stated Sarri. ‘Liverpool are one of the best teams in England right now, they reached the final of the Champions League last year, and at Anfield it is always difficult.
‘We know well the risks of this match but we also know that when we are able to play at 100 per cent of our potential, we can gain points anywhere. We are in a very good physical and mental condition right now.’
Sarri acknowledged that Liverpool had small margin for error in the title race but admitted the pressure they felt was a positive one.
‘They are under pressure but that’s normal. If you want to win the Premier League, you have to play under pressure for a long period of time but it is pressure for something positive. You can be nervous but also with a great level of motivation so the positive is more than the negative.
‘In this moment we are fighting for the top four so we need points. We know it will be difficult to gain points in Liverpool but we have to try in every way.’
Chelsea and Liverpool will come together to remember the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy this Sunday, a day before the 30th anniversary.
Sarri was asked whether the Chelsea supporters present at Anfield would pay their tributes to those 96 men, women and children who lost their lives at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield.
‘Yes, I think so. It’s a good opportunity for our fans to pay respect and I am sure they will do that well in Liverpool.’