Chelsea vs. Liverpool: Luis Suarez Will Be the Difference for Reds in EPL Clash

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IDecember 4, 2016

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's second goal with team mate Martin Skrtel (L)  during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The rich tradition of Chelsea and Liverpool will be on display at Stamford Bridge. The two foes are at different ends of the English Premier League table, and this could be a defining match for both teams this season.

For Liverpool, the year hasn't been quite what Brendan Rodgers and the Reds were hoping for. Injuries and a slow start have led to just 11 points in the standings and a minus-two point differential.

If Liverpool wants to capitalize against the Blues on Sunday, it will have to do so behind the new face of the club, striker Luis Suarez.

Suarez has been largely magnificent for the Reds this year. He has seven goals and two assists in nine games and has been one of the bright spots for a club sitting in 13th right now.

If you need any further evidence to how important the leading scorer is for the club, look no further than the Reds' last two matches. Although the results haven't been there (a draw and a loss), there wouldn't have been any positives to go off of without his prouduction.

Against the Newcastle United defense, he was able to get good looks and set his teammates up for goals for most of the match. His goal off of a long lead pass was a thing of beauty and ended up being the equalizer in the 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Against Anzhi Makhachkala, he was pestered into a poor game. The Reds dropped a 1-0 decision, and with no other forwards stepping up to give the opposing full-backs problems, a loss was the result.

He'll likely see a lot of Chelsea's David Luiz. He's the quickest defender on the field for the Blues and the main man charged with keeping Suarez in check. However, the Blues have had trouble with fast strikers this year, and Suarez and 17-year-old Raheem Sterling should give them problems down the stretch.

It's clear Chelsea is frustrated about the timing of this match. Manager Roberto Di Matteo spent this weekend angry with the Premier League scheduling, looking ahead to the elimination phase of the year instead of talking more about the Reds.

That could pose trouble for Chelsea and be a good sign for Suarez to get loose early.

Calls of tired legs aren't a good sign for the Blues, especially with Suarez really the only source of offense right now. His seven goals are a solid mark, but no one else on the pitch has more than one for the Reds.

If Liverpool wants to knock off Chelsea in this EPL showdown, Suarez will have to play like one of the best players in the world.

He clearly is, so it will be an interesting matchup between his threat in the box and what Chelsea does to keep him contained.

If Chelsea cannot, it could be a long day at Stamford Bridge.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.