Chelsea takes on Liverpool Sunday and historically, this has been a great matchup. The Reds have beaten Chelsea in nine of the last 11 meetings. But this is quite a different Liverpool team.
Liverpool has not won a game against top-half competition so far this season. They have registered a remarkable 88 off-target shots, most in the Premier League.
Liverpool, additionally, does not have anyone who can match up with Fernando Torres, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. If they're given any bit of space, they'll make something happen.
While Luis Suarez is a terrific player for the Reds, he simply doesn't have enough help. Suarez has scored seven goals, which is good for second in the Premier League. But his seven goals account for 54 percent of the team's goals thus far, a number that is far too high. That means teams can crowd him and neutralize his impact. If he doesn't score, then the Reds are out of luck.
Liverpool goalie Pepe Reina is still recovering from a hamstring issue and is not a lock to play on Sunday. If he can't go, backup Brad Jones will go, and he is simply not the same player.
Chelsea is struggling, but their early-season performance shows signs of hope. They let up two goals in their first five matches. Going up against a team like Liverpool, with the only major threat being Suarez, they should be able to get back on track defensively.
Chelsea's midfield, which has been playing beyond expectations, will dictate the pace of this game. Mata and Hazard are playing like poised veterans and have been able to keep John Terry on the bench. Mata and Hazard will control the ball and help set up Fernando Torres. Liverpool won't have an answer for this twosome.
While Liverpool has recovered a bit from its early-season missteps, they do not have an answer to Chelsea's midfield. They have not resolved the problem of getting help for Luis Suarez and until they do, they don't have a chance against teams like Chelsea.