Liverpool vs. Chelsea: 6 Key Matchups for Premier League Showdown

Peter WebsterContributor IIIMay 3, 2012

Liverpool vs. Chelsea: 6 Key Matchups for Premier League Showdown

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    With Saturday's FA Cup final clash between Liverpool and Chelsea taking up most of the newspaper real estate of late, you could be forgetting that they actually play each other in the league just three days later.

    Then again it may be that you just don't care.

    Chelsea's defeat to Newcastle yesterday all but ended their Champions League hopes for next season—unless they win this years competition of course—and Liverpool...well perhaps Liverpool's only goal in the Premier League now is to finish above Everton.

    Nevertheless, here is Liverpool vs. Chelsea and six key matchups to look out for in this Premier League showdown.

Fernando Torres vs. Daniel Agger

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    Whether it's Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Sebastian Coates or Jamie Carragher that gets the nod next week, all of them will have to be at their best to halt the suddenly impressive form of Chelsea's Fernando Torres.

    The Red's defence will know all about Torres' ability and will have to be extra sharp to stop the Spanish international adding to his recent hat trick against Queens Park Rangers.

    Keeping him quiet could be the key to a quiet afternoon for Pepe Reina.

Jay Spearing vs. Juan Mata

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    Should Jay Spearing start the game, he'll likely be tasked with sticking to Juan Mata like superglue.

    Mata has arguably been this season's best import and has contributed six goals and 16 assists already for Chelsea.

    Spearing has gotten more pitch time of late and has often been Liverpool's defensive cover for the injured Lucas Leiva, a role which has big boots to fill.

Jordan Henderson vs. Ashley Cole

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    If Jordan Henderson reprises his right wing role, Ashley Cole will likely be his nemesis.

    The experienced Cole is quick and can read the game well, whereas Henderson hasn't enjoyed a fantastic debut season on Merseyside.

    Henderson is no slouch though and will relish the chance to play against England's first-choice left-back.

Steven Gerrard vs. Ramires

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    Ramires is the Chelsea engine these days and one of his tasks will be to keep the marauding Steven Gerrard at bay.

    Whilst not as quick as he used to be, Gerrard can still kill teams if given time and space and Ramires will be trying to ensure that doesn't happen.

    If Ramires can keep Gerrard quiet yet still play the box-to-box football he loves, Liverpool could be in for another home defeat.

Luis Suarez vs. John Terry

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    Whilst one wonders what a pub conversation with these two would entail, rest assured they won't be discussing their racism cases with each other come kick off.

    Terry—Chelsea's captain—will be trying to ensure that Suarez doesn't build on his recent spectacular hat trick against Norwich City which included a strike from 50 yards.

Kenny Dalglish vs. Roberto Di Matteo

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    Perhaps the most important matchup of them all is Kenny Dalglish vs. Roberto Di Matteo.

    Their tactics and team selection will go a long way in deciding this result, made even more interesting by the fact it is the end of the season.

    Both managers may use the fixture to dabble with the squad and play some inexperienced youth talent—knowing that there is nothing to play for in the league except pride.

    Liverpool's home form has been abysmal this season, and I can't see it getting any better in this matchup, unfortunately.

    However, I have been wrong before.

     

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